APR 2016

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YOURWELLNESSSPA 58 DAYSPA | APRIL 2016 HERBAL HEALTH © GETTY IMAGES Matcha Madness This vivid green tea powder holds incredible internal and external benefi ts. By Rachel Kossman Nearly 1,400 years ago, the Chinese began to culti- vate and brew green tea leaves. In these ancient times, tea leaves were steamed, dried and pulverized, then packed into brick-like molds so that the base of the staple beverage was more easily transportable. To brew a cup, a small chunk of the dried powder was simply pulled off and dissolved into hot water. It was during China's Song Dynasty, around the 11th century, that Japanese Zen Buddhist monks adopted the practice of grinding green tea, and it wasn't long before the restorative drink became highly esteemed in Japan. The Japanese immediately recognized the health benefi ts of this pure form of green tea. The whole-body absorption of the ground leaves kept people awake and alert, providing lasting energy and mental acuity. It also served as an astonishing natural source of anti- oxidants. Soon, the Japanese began to grow and culti- vate the sencha plant (ryokucha in Japanese), on which green tea leaves grow. Today, we are still benefi ting from the Chinese's early discovery—we call it matcha. What distinguishes matcha from other green tea is that it's a pure, ground form of the green tea leaf, which is then mixed with liquid and ingested. Alternatively, a typical cup of green tea is brewed using dried green tea leaves, which are then removed and discarded. "For consumers who don't know the difference, matcha can look almost like an instant tea," explains Babette Donaldson, author of The Everything Healthy Tea Book (F+W Media, Inc., 2014). "But the reason matcha offers so many health benefi ts is because the entire leaf is being consumed." ALL THE BEST BENEFITS Matcha contains about a quarter of the caffeine in a cup of coffee, and our bodies respond uniquely to the pow- der. "After drinking matcha, you feel instantly lifted," notes Eric Gower, founder and creative director of Break- away Matcha ( "It's the best bev- erage—it tastes amazing and is so wonderful for you."

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