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Botanical Name :Camellia sinensis
Species: C. sinensis
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Nomenclature and taxonomy :
The name sinensis means Chinese in Latin. Camellia is taken from the Latinized name of Rev. Georg Kamel, S.J. (1661–1706), a Czech-born Jesuit priest who became both a prominent botanist and a missionary to the Philippines. Though Kamel did not discover or name the plant, Carl Linnaeus chose his name for the genus to honor Kamel’s contributions to science. Older names for the tea plant include Thea bohea, Thea sinensis and Thea viridis.
Habitat :Chinese Camellia sinensis is native to mainland China South and Southeast Asia, but it is today cultivated across the world in tropical and subtropical regions. The major tea growing regions today include India, China, Sri Lanka, Japan, Taiwan, Kenya, Turkey, Argentina, Tanzania, Malawi, Zimbabwe…. and more.
Chinese Camellia sinensis is the species of plant whose leaves and leaf buds are used to produce Chinese tea. It is of the genus Camellia (simplified Chinese; traditional Chinese; pinyin: Cháhu?), a genus of flowering plants in the family Theaceae. White tea, green tea, oolong, pu-erh tea and black tea are all harvested from this species, but are processed differently to attain different levels of oxidation. Kukicha (twig tea) is also harvested from Camellia sinensis, but uses twigs and stems rather than leaves. Common names include tea plant, tea tree, and tea shrub.
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There are two major varieties that characterize this species (1) Chinese Camellia sinensis var. sinensis (L.) Kuntz and (2) Camellia sinensis var. clonal assamica (Masters) Kitam.
It is an evergreen shrub or small tree that is usually trimmed to below two metres (six feet) when cultivated for its leaves. It has a strong taproot. The flowers are yellow-white, 2.5–4 cm in diameter, with 7 to 8 petals.
The seeds of Camellia sinensis and Camellia oleifera can be pressed to yield tea oil, a sweetish seasoning and cooking oil that should not be confused with tea tree oil, an essential oil that is used for medical and cosmetic purposes, and originates from the leaves of a different plant.
Camellia sinensis plant, with cross-section of the flower (lower left) and seeds (lower right).The leaves are 4–15 cm long and 2–5 cm broad. Fresh leaves contain about 4% caffeine. The young, light green leaves are preferably harvested for tea production; they have short white hairs on the underside. Older leaves are deeper green. Different leaf ages produce differing tea qualities, since their chemical compositions are different. Usually, the tip (bud) and the first two to three leaves are harvested for processing. This hand picking is repeated every one to two weeks.
Camellia sinensis is mainly cultivated in tropical and subtropical climates, in areas with at least 127 cm. (50 inches) of rainfall a year. However, the clonal one is commercially cultivated from the equator to as far north as Cornwall on the UK mainland. Many high quality teas are grown at high elevations, up to 1500 meters (5,000 ft), as the plants grow more slowly and acquire a better flavour.
Tea plants will grow into a tree if left undisturbed, but cultivated plants are pruned to waist height for ease of plucking. Two principal varieties are used, the small-leaved Chinese variety plant (C. sinensis sinensis) and the large-leaved Assamese plant (C. sinensis assamica), used mainly for black tea.
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*The leaves have been used in traditional Chinese medicine and other medical systems to treat asthma (functioning as a bronchodilator), angina pectoris, peripheral vascular disease, and coronary artery disease.
*Tea extracts have become field of interest, due to their notional antibacterial activity. The preservation of processed organic food and the treatment of persistent bacterial infections are particularly being investigated.
*Green tea leaves and extracts have shown to be effective against bacteria responsible for bad breath.
*The tea component epicatechin gallate is being researched because in vitro experiments showed it can reverse methicillin resistance in bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus. If confirmed, this means the combined intake of a tea extract containing this component might also enhance the effectiveness of methicillin treatment against some resistant bacteria in vivo.
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The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
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