Matcha green tea: Properties, benefits, contraindications and how to take it

What is matcha green tea? Matcha is the purest green tea , of Chinese origin and brought by Buddhist monks to Japan, it is made from buds and leaves of Camellia sinensis – a plant species from which all types of teas are obtained – presented in the form of bright green powder.

How do you get this tea? The buds and leaves used for matcha are the same as those for the highest quality green tea , only, unlike the harvesting process used for green tea, the plants are covered a couple of weeks before harvest to that the ripening takes place in the shade.

This method, by avoiding the direct arrival of the sun during spring and just before ripening, forces the plant to produce more chlorophyll , so that its green color is more concentrated.

Once harvested, both leaves and ripe shoots are steamed to stop oxidation, cleaned and slowly ground in mortars or cylinders made of volcanic stone.

The result is a fine, green, very bright and slightly bitter powder, matcha tea concentrates the aroma and purest properties of Camellia sinensis .

[Discover now other infusions of medicinal plants that are beneficial to take care of your health in a natural way]

The best matcha teas – a word derived from matsu = grind and cha = tea -, made with the first harvest of leaves and shoots, are destined for the Japanese tea ceremony.

Matcha from the third or fourth harvest, which is usually more bitter, is intended for culinary use.

Properties and benefits of consuming matcha

A single cup of matcha contains more polyphenols (antioxidant compounds) than other teas, due to the way it is processed.

As in green tea, the youngest shoots and leaves are used for matcha, passing only through steam drying, which prevents the chemical composition of the leaves from being altered .

Japanese matcha green tea has antiproliferative, antioxidant, antibacterial and chemoprevention effects, it is astringent, cardiotonic, stimulant of the central nervous system and diuretic.

The main  active principles of matcha are the same as those of green tea, although in different concentrations: flavonoids, catechins, tannins, catechics and phenolic acids, as well as xanthic bases that mainly contain caffeine (or theine), theophylline, theobromine, adenine and xanthine. The prominent flavonoids are kempferol, quercetin, myricetin and, in matcha, it stands out in catechins.

The use of matcha, as well as in the case of green tea, is indicated to help in the treatment of asthenia, diarrhea, bronchitis, asthma and in diets to lose weight in cases of obesity and overweight .

The presence of caffeine increases the frequency and force of contraction of the heart, called a positive inotropic effect , as well as peripheral vasodilation and cranial vasoconstriction, which is why it is recommended as an anti-migraine . Read my article Foods that can cause headaches .

For its part, theophylline also has a bronchodilator effect and induces relaxation of the bronchial smooth muscles. However, polyphenols make the action of theine both softer, but longer lasting than caffeine, as is the case with all teas. .

The most prominent and studied component in matcha, as in green tea, is catechin. It has antioxidant properties that can act as reactive oxygen inhibitors through liver xanthine oxidase, as well as in other biochemical processes against carcinogenesis (cancer development).

Although human studies regarding risk reduction in different types of cancer are not yet conclusive, in vitro studies highlight the findings regarding the inhibition of cell proliferation and the induction of apoptosis of neoplastic and preneoplastic cells, as well as the inhibition of tumor invasion and angiogenesis.

matcha benefits green tea

How to prepare matcha tea

It can be somewhat difficult to get used to its flavor, for that reason and due to the degree of purity, it is usually incorporated in preparations such as juices, yogurts, smoothies, ice creams, custards, cookies, cakes, cakes and in savory recipes such as rice or soups.

The hot -or let it cool- matcha drink can be prepared by adding a teaspoon to a cup of water and mixing it with a short shake, until the characteristic foam is seen.

However, for the preparation of tea in the traditional Japanese style , a similar or even smaller measure is used, called shashaku or bamboo spoon, and it is made in three consistencies: Standard, Usucha (light) or Koicha (thick).

This measure is incorporated in a bowl known as a chawan , water is added at 70 ° C (it should not boil) and it is beaten with a bamboo whisk called a chasen until it becomes smooth and a white foam remains on top.

For standard matcha 1 teaspoon shashaku is used in 60 cc of water, for light matcha (Usucha) half the measure is used for 90 cc of hot water, and for thick matcha (koicha) 2 teaspoons shashaku is used in 30 cc of water.

It can also be used externally as an anti-wrinkle and skin regenerator and to reduce localized adiposity or cellulite , including it in creams and gels both at home and commercially.


Matcha precautions and contraindications

Its use is not recommended for people with gastroduodenal ulcer, epilepsy, insominia and serious cardiovascular disorders such as heart failure, coronary heart failure or arrhythmia.

This drink is not recommended for children under 12 years of age , pregnant women or during breastfeeding .

Matcha, like green tea, should not be associated with plant drugs with a stimulating effect, such as ginseng or guarana, and caution is recommended regarding interactions in treatments with acetylsalicylic acid ( aspirin ) and monoamine oxidase inhibitors ( MAOIs ) .

Both matcha and green tea should be avoided in anemia processes, since both drinks make it difficult to absorb iron from foods consumed in the diet. If this is your case, read the 10 foods with the highest iron content .

How to choose a quality matcha tea

As with many foods and consumer products, fraud occurs in matcha tea.

Some powders labeled “matcha drinks” are usually just green tea with very low quality matcha leftovers mixed with flavorings and sugar, so careful consideration of the label and additions of the commercial product is recommended.

The color of matcha tea is always bright, opaque products are prepared with another composition in addition to Camellia sinensis .

To avoid risks and ensure that you consume a pure and organically produced matcha tea (without pesticide residues) , we recommend this totally reliable organic matcha tea with all the health benefits of this extraordinary drink.


  • Newsletter, May 2017. Mexican Tea School.
  • “Green tea”, Ma. Tránsito López Luengo. 2002

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