Bon Appetit Desk
Many different countries have a tea culture, and Japanese Matcha tea is growing in popularity around the world. In Japan, Matcha has a long history of being used for various medicinal purposes. It has been suspected to have various beneficial effects to health, but relatively little scientific evidence supported that claim. Now, a group of Japanese researchers from Kumamoto University has shown that anxious behavior in mice is reduced after consuming Matcha powder or Matcha extract. Its calming effects appear to be due to mechanisms that activate dopamine D1 receptors and serotonin 5-HT1A receptors, both of which are closely related to anxious behavior.
Published in the Journal of Functional Foods, the study done on mice found that anxious behaviour in the rodents reduced after consuming Matcha powder.
"Although further epidemiological research is necessary, the results of our study show that Matcha, which has been used as a medicinal agent for many years, may be quite beneficial to the human body," said study lead author Yuki Kurauchi from Kumamoto University in Japan.
"We hope that our research into Matcha can lead to health benefits worldwide," Kurauchi added.
For the study, the researchers conducted an "elevated plus maze" test -- an anxiety test for rodents -- and found that anxiety in mice was reduced after consuming Matcha powder or Matcha extract.
In addition, when the anxiolytic activity of different Matcha extracts were evaluated, a stronger effect was found with the extract derived using 80 per cent ethanol in comparison to the extract derived from only hot water. Matcha is the finely ground powder of new leaves from shade-grown (90 per cent shade) Camellia sinensis green tea bushes.