The science behind matcha’s mental magic


Matcha is a popular drink among Buddhists, which helps them increase their focus. So let’s figure out what is the magic behind this tea that helps in increasing the focus.

The magic begins from the special cultivation process used by farmers. If you ever come across matcha leaves, you might have seen that they appear neon green. Their color is due to the presence of a special amino acid which is known as theanine. This amino acid has a number of benefits for mental health.

As we all know that plants have chlorophyll, whose main function is to absorb sunlight which is then converted into energy, which in turn is used by plants for their growth and nutrition. With the help of theanine, the amount of chlorophyll present in the matcha plants can be increased. Therefore, the farmers cover the plants almost a month before harvest with a dark cloth. When the leaves are covered in order to survive, the plants work harder to absorb sunlight. Due to this, the amount of chlorophyll increases. With increased chlorophyll, the amount of theanine also increases in the plants. Hence when matcha leaves are harvested, they have almost 2% theanine of their dry weight.

Here is how the magic happens. Our brain has a blood-brain barrier. The purpose of this barrier is to keep all the harmful chemicals away from the brain. When we drink matcha leaves in the form of Japanese green tea, the small intestine absorbs all of the theanine in those leaves. The theanine now reaches the bloodstream. From here, it is taken to the brain. The whole process takes about 30 minutes. Therefore, after 30 minutes, the magic begins.

When all that theanine reaches the brain, it energizes the billions of nerve cells that are present in the brain. Thus the alpha brain activity of the brain is enhanced. These energized cells flow in such a way that brain waves are formed. The people who often meditate might have known of brain waves. These waves, on one side help your body to be in relaxed state, yet on the other side, keep all your senses alive due to which you become even more alert than you are in a normal state. This state of the mind and body is known as the “flow state”, which is not only very relaxing for the body, but also helps a lot in increasing the focus of a person.

In an article published in Asia pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, it was found that upon drinking a cup of a normal tea, the caffeine and the theanine levels in the body increase. Due to the presence of the amino acid theanine, the brain goes into the “flow state”, as discussed earlier for about 2 hours. And we all now know that the presence of this amino acid is abundant in matcha leaves. Therefore, if you want to stay alert and yet relax at the same time, have a cup of matcha tea. If you want to know where to buy matcha, you must check herbal product stores near you to get benefit from its amazing tea.

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