Maccha & Your Mind
Maccha, Buddhism & Meditation
Maccha has been used as a mediation aid for quite sometime. There are records of Zen Buddhists developing the tea ceremony in Sung dynasty China, elevating the preparation of tea to a symbol of spiritual practice.
As far as history is concerned, one of the creation stories has the Prince Dharma of Buddhist history reach out and grab some leaves while meditating and having them aid him in staying awake. These leaves were the then yet to be discovered green tea leaves.
From a scientific perspective, current research says that the tannins in maccha (and green tea in general) help to slowly deliver the heightened awakening effects of caffeine, and the L-theanine, a property of green teas, actually works to counteract any addiction and/or nervous system stimulation, leaving room for a very calm energy. L-theanine has actually been shown to encourage Alpha brain-wave activity, which makes you happy.
Chlorophyll is a very interesting phenomenon in maccha. In our bodies, we have a chemical produced called guanadine that causes drowsiness. It seems that chlorophyll dissipates guanadine, effectively dissipating weariness in the body.
Maccha & Memory Retention
In the early years of my University career, I would drink a bowl of maccha and find that I could actually stay awake during lectures, even when I had unfortunately had close to zero sleep. What I also noticed is that things seemed to soak in better and stay there.
Since then, I have found numerous studies that say that this experience has also been proven by empirical study.
Apparently, scientists from East Asia to Europe to North America have found that epigallocatechin gallate (EPCG) found in the catechin antioxidant in green tea, works to aid in memory retention, among other things.
Similar research has also been applied to Alzheimers. Although you do not get the amount of EPCGs to duplicate the results in a single cup of green tea, the magnified properties of maccha could prove to be the way to go.
Still more Japanese studies warn against taking EPCGs out of context. They say that green tea definitely incurs great memory retention, but it is not a good idea to extract EPCGs as they may not do the same thing out of context and separate from the other properties in green tea. It seems that the complex relationships between the plethora of properties in green tea also are proving to be major contributing factors.
Because of this positive relationship with the brain, scientists have also applied the EPCG research to studies working on fighting Mad Cow Disease, with promising results.
It is interesting to note that the mental clarity probably caused by L-theanine, caffeine, chlorophyll and the EPCGs has been utilized by artisans, spiritual practitioners, emperors, and just regular people for a very very long time, at least as far back as the 5th century. It would seem to me that having them as holistically as possible, meaning green tea (where they all happen to be in the same place at the same time) is a good way to go.