Sunday, June 19, 2011

Fun in the Sun with Green Tea

Last year my children spent extensive amounts of time in the pool.  We put it up in June and it was used just about every day through September.  The pool is a summer life saver.  What amazed me last summer, though, was that they would often get out the door without sunscreen and yet they were not getting burned.  (I know this sounds very lackadaisical, but I have always been very vigilant about sunscreen due to having been burned as a child.  My kids can count on one hand the number of times they've been even pink.  At least they could before this summer!  I was less vigilant because they weren't getting burned.)  I couldn't understand it.  I knew that the reason for this had to be something they were eating or drinking, but I never really gave it more thought than that.  Fast forward to this year...same kids, same pool, same summer sun but this year,  those little munchkins were coming in sun-kissed and pink.  I was flabbergasted.  I racked my brain but I just couldn't think of what we were doing differently.  Then one day, I read something and it hit me, green tea.  We have been big green tea drinkers for some time but lately I haven't felt like making the kind you brew (which is what the rest of the family drinks) so I've just been drinking my powdered green tea.  Also of interest is the fact that in the last 2 months, we've been hit with 2 separate illnesses (after a long spell with no illness, which is no small feat with 6 kids, 4 of which are mine, around here) neither of which effected me like it did the rest of the family.  Again, green tea is the only difference.  So, I decided to delve a little further into the whole green tea vs. UV rays subject and here's what I found.

Per the website,, "Preliminary studies suggest that certain green tea polyphenols may help prevent skin cancer if they are applied directly to the skin," says Steven Bratman, M.D., an integrative physician and author of The Natural Pharmacist (Prima, 2000). "In addition, there is some evidence that green tea constituents might help protect the skin from sun damage and sunburn," he adds. In a recent study, six volunteers received applications of green tea extract on their skin prior to being exposed to UV radiation, which would normally produce redness. Those who received the highest concentration of green tea extract (10%) were almost completely protected from burning. Even a low-dose solution (2.5%) provided significant protection. Drinking green tea by the cup is also a good idea. It contains a powerful antioxidant known as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Researchers at Rutgers University, Piscataway, N.J., tested green tea both topically and orally on mice. They concluded that drinking green tea for two weeks before and during UV exposure diminished both sunburn and skin cancers. The stronger the tea and the more the mice drank, the less severe their sunburns.

Our experience certainly substantiates this research.  We were conducting our own little field test without even realizing it.  We normally endeavor to drink 5-6 cups of green tea a day.  We drink it cold, sweetened with a little honey and/or stevia.  I also use the green tea powder, which I buy from, to make sure I'm getting as much as I need for all the health benefits.  You can google "benefits of green tea" and you'll be surprised at all the things green tea is good for.  One website listed 15 different things.  I know I have seen a substantial difference in my metabolism while drinking green tea, increased immunity, and, of course, sun protection. 

Also, a note on sunscreen, the one I use is from Dr. Ben Kim.  Every ingredient in it is good for you, unlike the ones you'll find at the local Superstore, and it even has green tea in it.  Unfortunately, the shipping charges on his site are outrageous so unless I can find other like-minded individuals who want to go in on an order and split the shipping, I may have to find another alternative.  Dr. Kim has many informative articles on his website, and he outlines the dangers of commercial sunscreens and natural measures you can take to protect your skin.  Check out his website for great recipes (he's Korean) and helpful articles.  The sunscreen can be found here:

As for green tea, drink up and enjoy all the benefits it has to offer.


Sharon said...

Ok, this may be a second posting of the same question and if it is.. I apologize. I'm wondering about an ingredient in your castor oil fix all recipe. Is the chamomile listed referring to chamomile oil or some other form of chamomile?

EarthMama said...

Hi Sharon,

That would be chamomile essential oil. The actual oil is very expensive so I actually use a blend, which is just a smaller amount of the oil in a base of another less expensive oil like almond or jojoba. I'll note that in the recipe. Hope this helps!