From sunblock to liver cleansing, we celebrate 20 uses of green tea you may never have known about.
Green tea is hailed as an antioxidant-rich, anti-aging phenomenon. With reports that regular green tea consumption can lower the risk of heart disease and certain cancers, it’s a popular drink among the health conscious. However, green tea is more than just a cup of tea. Here are 20 unusual, thrifty and eco-friendly uses for green tea that will surprise, challenge, and excite you.
Dark Circles and Puffy Eye Relief
After you’ve enjoyed a cup of green tea – or two – let the tea bags cool and place one over each closed eye. Tea contains polyphenol particles known as tannins. Tannins are an astringent and are able to shrink living tissue, including human skin. Green tea bags can reduce swelling and tighten the skin around the eyes by reducing the dilation of the blood vessels under the eyes.
Irritation and Redness Alleviation
Green tea has anti-inflammatory properties that help to reduce redness and irritation. Steep a few bags in boiling water. Allow the water to cool and soak a washcloth in the water. Wring the washcloth of excess water and use the rag to pat irritated or red skin.
Take advantage of green tea’s skin-tightening ability and use it in a facial scrub. With the addition of water and white sugar, you are not only infusing the skin with the benefits of green tea, but also exfoliating it to a smooth finish.
Teeth Health Boost
According to a research study published by Preventive Medicine, drinking one cup of unsweetened green tea could increase teeth health. People between the ages of 40 and 64 who drank one cup of green tea per day were less likely to lose their teeth. According to the study, antimicrobial molecules called catechins are the reason for this effect. Grab a green tea infused toothpaste off pharmacy shelves or be sure to get your daily dose of tea.
Weight Loss Aid
According to a 2009 study by the Department of Human Biology, Nutrition and Toxicology Research Institute Maastricht, the catechins in green tea proved to significantly decrease body weight an as well as maintain body weight after a period of weight loss. This is good news to those looking to shed a few pounds.
The tannins found in green tea help stop bleeding by coagulating the blood. Steep a tea bag in hot water, remove it after one minute, and then let it cool. Place the tea bag on top of the bleeding area or dip gauze into the tea water and apply the gauze to the gash. You could also use a green tea extract for application.
While green tea does not block UV light, it protects exposed skin cells from damage. Studies have shown that when green tea is directly applied to the skin, it helps to protect the skin from sunburn and skin cancer. You could apply a green tea extract to the skin or a cooled cloth that was soaked in brewed green tea. Drinking green tea regularly a few weeks prior to sun exposure can also reduce the possibility of skin damage, due to the tea’s powerful antioxidant epigallocatechin gallate.
Fridge Odor Elimination
Sometimes things can get a bit stinky in the refrigerator. To counteract an odor that just doesn’t seem to budge, take a handful of green tea leaves and place them in a thin cloth bag or cheese cloth. Place in the refrigerator. The leaves will absorb the odor and render your fridge fragrance-free.
Much like it reduces odor, green tea also diminishes ambient humidity. Take a thin cloth bag full of green tea leaves and hang it in a room or area of your house that collects too much humidity. The leaves absorb the moisture.
Silk Worms Fodder
Got silkworms hanging around? Feed the harmless little creatures leftover green tea leaves. Apparently, what goes around comes around – it is said that silkworm extract is a natural aphrodisiac.
The potent antioxidant epigallocatechin gallate found in green tea prevents the activation of collagen-digesting enzymes called matrix metalloproteinase. These enzymes are what causes wrinkling of the skin. Green tea also has anti-inflammatory properties that assist in preventing wrinkles and fine lines. By applying lotions and creams with green tea extract or drinking the tea on the regular, you can steer clear of premature aging and the onset of wrinkles.
Take a handful of moist, but not wet, green tea leaves and scatter them across the carpet. The tea leaves attract dust, so vacuuming is twice as effective.
Soak your feet in a strong green tea brew to get rid of foot odors. Green tea is anti-fungal and anti-bacterial. It also helps to get rid of bad smells.
Green tea is packed with antioxidants and is a great way to improve the health of plants. Soak tea leaves in water for a few days, remove the leaves, and then use the water to fertilize plants.
Everyone’s liver could use a little help these days. Given the toxicity of our environment and diet, even if we live as eco-conscious and healthy as possible, our lifestyles still take a toll on our livers, which processes just about everything you ingest and absorb. The antioxidants in green tea help us to prevent liver disease as well as to boost the overall health of our livers.
Place green tea leaves in a thin cloth bag and toss it into your lingerie drawer. The leaves will absorb any odor and leave your precious apparel fresh and ready to rock.
An amino acid called theanine is found in green tea leaves and it is thought to give a relaxing and tranquilizing effect on the body.
Due to its anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, antioxidant, and anti-fungal properties, green tea is a powerful anti-acne treatment. Find a moisturizer or cleanser with green tea extract or take the homemade route and simply rub green tea leaves on your face and body before rinsing.
Dab green tea water that has cooled to your underarms and you can avoid a smelly summer afternoon. It’s a cheap and effective way to battling the effects of heat and stress.
Oh, how surprisingly delicious green tea ice cream is! Many Japanese restaurants feature a green tea ice cream on their menus. Considering all the benefits of the green tea, we have yet another excuse to indulge in dessert. Order it or try your hand at a homemade version.
Aylin Erman currently resides in Istanbul and is creator of plant-based recipe website GlowKitchen.