Native to the regions which include India, China, and Assam, it is now cultivated in many tropical countries. The leaves contain polyphenolic derivatives, alkaloids, methylxanthines: these last include caffeine or theine (1-5%) , theobromine and theophylline in small quantities, adenine and xanthine in trace form, tannins (8-26%), vitamin C, fluorine, proteins, gums, dextrins, essential oil, lipids, mineral salts and flavonoids. The methylxanthines are useful in slimming diets because of their sympaticomimetic effect and their suppression of hunger pangs. Furthermore, the tannins have the property of bringing about a fall in the proteins consumed, thus reducing the digestion rate and the absorption of calories. The polyphenols are antioxidants which have a protective action against free radicals. The tea is used, therefore, to maintain young and healthy skin. The tea extracts have an antimicrobial effect which is useful in dental hygiene. Cosmetic preparations based on green tea are used in slimming treatments because, by stimulating thermogenesis, they help to burn fats and therefore have the effect of reducing lipids.
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