Matcha

 

In ancient Japan, samurais and monks used matcha to help induce a cognitive flow-state before going to battle or engaging in deep meditation. Ultimately seeking the same effect, matcha stimulated full engagement in the task at hand. Whether for enhanced agility with a blade or to focus a sharpened mind, matcha has long granted unrivaled concentration and health benefits.  

This is why matcha is a foundational element of our flagship product. When we are fully awake and focused, we feel like we are successfully living in the present. Suitable, then, to name this blend, ‘Presence.’ It is designed to do exactly that. It is about increasing efficiencies so you can remain calm and collected while moving through your day at breakneck speeds. Like the samurai and the monk, we too are in search of nature’s greatest powerups. 

What is Matcha?

Matcha and green tea come from the same plant but the main difference is the brewing process. Instead of leaves steeped in hot water, matcha is the whole tea leaf finely ground into a fine powder. This means that, as the tea drinker, you are receiving whole plant matter rather than the runoff from the leaves, translating to much higher amounts of chlorophyll, powerful antioxidants, and L-theanine.

Family sourced matcha

Our matcha is sourced from an eco-heritage, carbon-neutral family-owned farm in the Shizuoka Prefecture of Japan, where matcha has been grown for generations. In the shadow of Mt. Fuji, our matcha leaves are grown with care, handpicked, and meticulously processed. This proud farm has some of the highest quality matcha in the industry and has a culture of craftsmanship.

Ceremonial Grade Matcha

At HONE, we use the highest quality grade available, the “ceremonial grade.” This means the leaves are grown and shaded uniquely and harvested at the peak of their nutritional value. The  process gives you the best nature has to offer. Each serving boasts over 20 mg of L-theanine and 60 mg of EGCG antioxidants. This is equivalent to over 137 times the amount found in infused green teas and 116 times the amount found in a serving of acai berries.

The silky, refreshing natural taste reflects careful attention to detail, passion, and high-quality standards. It’s no mystery why we are so proud of this matcha.  

How does L-theanine in matcha affect you?

Matcha contains the amino acid L-theanine, which is used in western medicine to reduce anxiety and for treating depression. It also stimulates alpha waves in your brain, promoting an attentive and alert disposition while calming your nerves.

L- theanine occurs naturally almost exclusively in tea leaves, and in small amounts in bay bolete mushrooms (Xerocomus badius). It is synthesized in the roots of Camellia (green tea) species and concentrated in the leaves where sunlight converts it to polyphenols. Polyphenols are compounds made by plants and are generally involved in defense against radiation from sunlight and aggression from microorganisms that cause disease. Because of the conversion to polyphenols, some tea cultivators grow their plants out of direct sunlight to preserve the theanine content, which also induces a grand flavor [Altern Med Rev., 2005].  

When combined with caffeine, L-theanine acts as a stabilizer to slowly release the effects of caffeine [Kakuda et al., 2000]. Compare this to coffee or an energy drink, which blasts your nervous system all at once. The state of focus and attention engendered by the combination of L-theanine and caffeine has been called “mindful alertness.” This is why matcha’s energy doesn’t come to a sharp end with a crash; instead, it keeps you present with long-lasting calm energy.

L-theanine Reduces Stress

L-theanine was shown in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial to significantly reduce subjective stress response to a computer exercise that involved multitasking. The exercise served as both a stressor and an evaluation of cognitive performance. L-theanine reduced cortisol levels in study participants exposed to the stress. Cortisol is our stress or “fight-or-flight” hormone, and can be problematic at high levels as it can disrupt blood sugar regulation and sleep-wake cycles. Excess cortisol also leads to mood swings and abdominal fat gain. Studies have also shown that L-theanine increases alpha waves in the brain, to further enhance  the anti-stress effects of L-theanine [White et al., 2016].

L-theanine has additional calming effects due to antagonistic (blocking) effects on glutamate receptors, This means it reduces the activity of the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate. Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers in the brain. Glutamate is an important neurotransmitter in appropriate amounts, however excess glutamate is toxic to the brain and associated with agitation and anxiety. L-theanine also creates a sense of well-being by modulating serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain. Finally, L-theanine acts as a gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptor agonist (activator). GABA is the chief inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain with the role of reducing neuronal excitability. In other words, GABA limits the switch of neurons from resting to “on”, and therefore has a calming effect on the nervous system [Altern Med Rev., 2005].

What are Alpha waves?

L-theanine has been shown to increase alpha brainwaves. Alpha brainwaves are electrical wave patterns in the brain and are prominent during quiet thoughts and meditative states. Neuroscientists have linked these alpha oscillations to improved mental coordination, creativeness, calmness, alertness, and mind-body integration/learning. On top of this, when alpha waves are prominent, your mind is generally clear of unwanted thoughts and sensory inputs such as sight, smell, hearing, taste and touch tend to be minimized [Lustenberger et al., 2015].

Matcha and EGCG Antioxidants

Green tea, including matcha, is richer in antioxidants than any other form of tea. The chemical compound found in matcha responsible for much of its antioxidant activity is known as epigallocatechin-3-gallate, or EGCG. EGCG has been a focus of many studies exploring radical scavenging ability due to its high concentration in green tea and specific structural aspects that make it a strong antioxidant.

What do antioxidants do?

Antioxidants fight free radicals that break down cells over time. If our body can't fight off these molecular  assaults, internal degenerative processes occur and aging becomes more rapid. As our bodies age, we become more prone to diseases like cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer's, and several skin and vision related diseases.

The anti-cancer effect of green tea is due to direct inhibition of carcinogen (cancer-promoting) activity. Green tea further hinders cancer progression by restriction of tumor proliferation through decreasing angiogenesis (development of new blood vessels that feed tumors), and inhibition of tumor migration and proliferation. Inhibition of tumor migration and proliferation is important because this equates to reduced tumor cell movement to other parts of the body as well as the reduced tumor cell multiplication. [Yang et al., 2009].

Green Tea has Anti-aging properties!

On top of all of this, green tea has anti-aging effects. . It was shown to reduce effects of photoaging (damage to the skin from UV light), increase collagen and elastin fiber content, and suppress production of a collagen-degrading enzyme in the skin. Green tea polyphenols also induce a process called autophagy, which is the body’s way of cleaning out damaged cells in order to regenerate newer, healthier cells [Prasanth et al., 2019]. Recall that polyphenols are compounds made by plants and are generally involved in defense against radiation from sunlight and aggression from microorganisms that cause disease

Overall benefits of Matcha:

  • Energy without the crash or jitters (L-theanine + caffeine) 
  • Reduces anxiety (L-theanine)
  • Dental health (EGCG)
  • Focus (L-theanine + caffeine)
  • Promotes healthy weight loss (catechins)
  • Antioxidants (13x that of pomegranates, 125x that of spinach)
  • Brain and heart health (EGCG)
  • Youthful, healthy skin (EGCG)

 

 

 

References

Chu C, Deng J, Man Y, Qu Y. Green Tea Extracts Epigallocatechin-3-gallate for Different Treatments. Biomed Res Int. 2017;2017:5615647.

 

Hidese S, Ogawa S, Ota M, et al. Effects of L-Theanine Administration on Stress-Related Symptoms and Cognitive Functions in Healthy Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Nutrients. 2019;11(10)

 

Juszkiewicz A, Glapa A, Basta P, et al. The effect of L-theanine supplementation on the immune system of athletes exposed to strenuous physical exercise. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2019;16(1):7.

 

Kakuda T, Nozawa A, Unno T, Okamura N, Okai O. Inhibiting effects of theanine on caffeine stimulation evaluated by EEG in the rat. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2000;64(2):287-93.

 

Khan N, Mukhtar H. Tea Polyphenols in Promotion of Human Health. Nutrients. 2018;11(1)

 

L-theanine . Monograph. Altern Med Rev. 2005;10(2):136-8.

 

Lustenberger C, Boyle MR, Foulser AA, Mellin JM, Fröhlich F. Functional role of frontal alpha oscillations in creativity. Cortex. 2015;67:74-82.

 

Prasanth MI, Sivamaruthi BS, Chaiyasut C, Tencomnao T. A Review of the Role of Green Tea () in Antiphotoaging, Stress Resistance, Neuroprotection, and Autophagy. Nutrients. 2019;11(2)

 

Rothenberg DO, Zhang L. Mechanisms Underlying the Anti-Depressive Effects of Regular Tea Consumption. Nutrients. 2019;11(6)

 

White DJ, De klerk S, Woods W, Gondalia S, Noonan C, Scholey AB. Anti-Stress, Behavioural and Magnetoencephalography Effects of an L-Theanine-Based Nutrient Drink: A Randomised, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Crossover Trial. Nutrients. 2016;8(1)

 

Yang CS, Wang X, Lu G, Picinich SC. Cancer prevention by tea: animal studies, molecular mechanisms and human relevance. Nat Rev Cancer. 2009;9(6):429-39.