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Tea & Health Glossary

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

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A

Alkaloids
Naturally occurring, nitrogen containing compounds that are alkaline in solution. They usually have a bitter taste and are characterized by powerful physiological activity. Examples are nicotine and caffeine.

Antioxidant
A compound that retards oxidation.

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C

Caffeine
An alkaloid found in tea and coffee that acts as a nerve stimulant and diuretic.

Catechins
A group of related polyphenolic compounds that occur in plants and are darkened by the action of certain plant enzymes and oxygen an example of browning of cut fruit and vegetables. Catechins can function as antioxidants.

Cardiovascular
Concerning the heart and blood vessels.

Carcinogen
Any substance or agent that can produce a cancer.

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D

Diuretic
An agent that promotes increased excretion of urine.

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E

Electrophilic ultimate carcinogens
Substances which can directly cause cancer by reacting with genetic material (DNA) and related cell components. (Many carcinogens, designated pro-carcinogens (q.v.), require conversion to the ultimate carcinogen by reactions taking place in the cells of the organism).

Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG, ECG, EGC, EC)
A family of substances related to the simple catechins which occur in green tea and which undergo browning reactions during processing to black tea.

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F

Free radical
A highly reactive substance which, in some circumstances can lead to undesirable chemical changes in the body through oxidization, e.g. hardening of the blood vessels and development of cancer.

Flavanoids, flavanols, flavonol glycosides, flavandiols
Groups of related, naturally occurring chemicals in plants. A number of substances in these classes have anti-oxidant properties and many protect against deleterious changes brought about by free radicals in the body.

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G

Gallic acid
A plant polyphenolic that possess antioxidant properties.

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L

Lipid
A member of the family of fats which occur in living tissues either structurally or for nutritional purposes.

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N

Nicotinic acid
A water-soluble vitamin B complex.

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O

Oxygen
Symbol O. A colorless, odorless gas constituting one-fifth of the atmosphere.

Oxidation
Changes that are brought about by oxygen.

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P

Polyphenols
Compounds that contain several `phenol' groups and have antioxidant properties.

Polyphenolic components
Chemicals found in plants which have several groups containing an oxygen and a hydrogen atom (called a phenol group).

Procarcinogen
A substance capable of causing cancer but only when metabolized to a more reactive compound.

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R

Riboflavin
Vitamin B2

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T

Theaflavins
Yellow colored polyphenols occurring in black tea.

Thearubigins
Red/brown pigments produced in black tea.


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Orlando, Florida 32814
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