The Old World Brings Healing to the New World
As cancer spreads like a wildfire through society with brute force and destruction, arming ourselves with the best defensive and offensive nutritional weapons has never been more important.
While many marvel at the virtues of modern medicine and the constant birthing of new treatment technologies, perhaps an answer to cancer lies not in the present or the future, but in the past.
Green tea leaves have been a cherished treasure among physicians for over 4,000 years. Around 1191 AD, Eisai, a Zen priest, authored the Kissa Yojoki, (Book of Tea) describing how regular consumption of these green leaves can have a positive effect on five of our bodies’ vital organs: the heart, brain, lungs, kidneys and liver.
Before we knew of X-ray machines, stethoscopes and operating rooms, before we mapped the human genome, before DNA and the knowledge of blood types, and long before Briton hair styling barbers doubled also as medical surgeons, green tea was used to cure blotchiness, indigestion, beriberi disease, prevent fatigue, and improve urinary and brain function.
Over 800 years later, scientists are still studying the healing virtues of these ancient leaves. In 2003, researchers from the University of Rochester “discovered that chemicals in green tea shut down one of the key molecules that tobacco relies upon to cause cancer. It’s a find that could help explain why people who drink green tea are less likely to develop cancer.” Researchers from the Korea Institute of Science and Technology found that green tea may slow the growth of brain cancer. Green tea has been connected to helping treat and/or prevent bladder cancer, ovarian cancer, pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer, skin cancer, stomach cancer and the list continues.
One salient feature of green tea is its ability in certain situations to not only prevent cancer cells from multiplying, but also prompting apoptosis, or cell-induced suicide in infected cells. Scientists from the University of Strathclyde made 40% of skin tumors vanish last year with green tea extracts, a more impressive achievement than David Copperfield causing the Statue of Liberty to disappear.
There’s no question that green tea in all its shapes and forms can serve as a formidable foe against cancer, but its effectiveness on the front lines of our cellular war is completely dependent on how well you choose your weapon.
Not all Teas are Created Equal
Make sure your green tea is organic. It’s antithetical to send in the green giant laced with chemical pesticides and fertilizers that themselves cause cancer.
Bag or Loose Leaf?
Green tea leaves in the bag variety are minced into dust particles prior to packaging, which in turn exposes the cancer-fighting compounds to moisture and oxygen, leading to a loss of nutrients.
If you go with the bagged variety, know that these teas are usually encapsulated in bleached bags, containing harmful chemicals that disperse in the water. As we drink, the chemicals trek through the digestive track, eventually setting camp in our fat cells. These pernicious toxins can disrupt bodily hormone function and our reproductive systems. Like most chemicals, they can also cause or contribute to cancer.
Picking a Soldier: The Samurai (Japan) or Terracotta Warrior (China)
Prior to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan, one could freely protect their immune system with green tea originating either from the samurai or terracotta state. Today, due to the radioactive fallout, it’s better to play it safe and source your tea exclusively from China, or other countries that produce organic varieties.
Preparation for Battle
Now that you’ve selected your giant, it’s time to arm him with shielding. The anticancer benefits in green tea that have been identified to date are catechins: polyphenols (anti-cancer co-enzymes or co-factors) that act as super antioxidants. These potent co-factors however are equally fragile and require protection.
First, ensure that you’re using filtered, reverse osmosis water. Regular tap water is adulterated with all sorts of cancer-causing chemicals and detergents. While your water is heating up, fully immerse the tea leaves with just a touch of room-temperature water. Then, squeeze in some fresh, organic lemon juice over your leaves and swirl it around.
This will act as a coating for the catechins, which are similar in structure to the polyphenols in apples.
So what commonalities do apples and the catechins in green tea share? Think about what happens to the apple when it’s sliced. There is a browning effect due to its exposure to our oxygen-laden environment. This is a visual cue that the polyphenols (antioxidants) are dying from oxidization, which in turn means the nutritional benefits are waning.
The Catch 22 for green tea is the necessity of hot water, which penetrates the leaves, thereby allowing the polyphenols to be released, but because of their sensitivity, they being to diminish in activity and loose potency quite quickly from the heat. Within 10 to 20 minutes, all the benefits will be eradicated. Adding lemon juice provides a protective shield, coating the polyphenols and preserving their structure and effectiveness, much like the application of lemon juice slows the browning of the apple.
Additionally, the deformation of the polyphenols is accelerated in a pH environment of 5.0 to 7.0. Lemons are acidic, and have a general pH of 2.0, which further aids in preventing polyphenol oxidation.
When heating your water, keep in mind that the protective lemon coating only works if your water temperature is between 160 F (71 OC) to 180 F (82OC). Boiling water will quickly destroy the polyphenol regardless of the lemon juice, leaving you with an unarmed solider and therapeutically dead tea. Boiling water also produces an increased bitter flavor, souring the serene experience.
Try to never add milk, creamer, sugar or non-dairy substitutes to your tea. Those will only decrease and/or hinder the giant’s effectiveness as he battles through a sub-cellular toxic environment, fighting the good fight for your survival, prosperity, and health.