This Camellia sinensis green tea cultivar is very popular in Japan when used as a pulverized powder to mix directly with water, as is matcha.
It is high in epicatechin (EC), epicatechin gallate (ECG), epigallocatechin (EGC), epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), and also epigallocatechin methyl gallate or EGCG3"Me.
Researchers at the National Institute of Vegetable and Tea Sciences in Shimada, Shizuoka, Japan, decided to test antioxidant catechin bioavailability from this tea based on its particle size.
They tested the concentration of three different Benefuuki green tea powder particle sizes, specifically 76.1 micrometers, 18.6 micrometers, and 2.86 micrometers given in a single dose to rats, and an infusion using a single dose.
Then they compared the blood concentrations of the antioxidant catechins.
Both the infusion and the smallest particle size of 2.86 micrometers showed the greatest bioavailability of EGCG3"Me, while the smallest sized particles showed the greatest bioavailability of EGCG and ECG.
Reference: Maeda-Yamamoto M et al, Effect of green tea powder (Camellia sinensis L. Cv. Benifuuki) particle size on O-methylated EGCG absorption in rats: The Kakegawa Study, Cytotechnology, January 2011.
More anti-allergic benefits
Another study tested chemicals from different tea cultivars for their capacity to inhibit histamine release common to allergies.
The specific EGCG antioxidant (epigallocatechin-3-O-(3"-O-methyl) gallate or EGCG3"Me) from Benifuuki was a more powerful antihistamine than EGCG from other cultivars, or from other tea catechins.
From most powerful to least effective, the catechins ranked as follows: epicatechin-3-O-(3"-O-methyl) gallate (ECG3"Me), then gallocatechin-3-O-(3"-O-methyl) gallate (GCG3"Me), then EGCG3"Me then gallocatechingallate (GCG,) then catechin gallate (CG), then EGCG from other cultivars, then epicatechingallate (ECG,) then epigallocatechin (EGC), then gallocatechin (GC).
Reference: Maeda-Yamamoto M et al, Epicatechin-3-O-(3-O-methyl) Gallate Content in Various Tea Cultivars (Camellia sinensis L.) and its In Vitro Inhibitory Effect on Histamine Release, Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, February 2012.
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This page was last updated by Sharon Jones on March 23, 2013.
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