Matcha tea is a variety of green tea that is grown under particular conditions. During growth the plant is shaded, and this is thought to increase the concentrations of certain beneficial biochemicals within the plant tissues. Matcha is thought to contain high concentrations of the amino acid L-theanine and this may explain the stress reducing effects of the tea. For example, in one study mice were stressed through experimentation and then administered matcha tea extract. The researchers observed that high concentrations of the amino acids L-theanine and L-arginine in the tea was protective of the damaging effects of stress. In a similar study in humans, matcha tea was significantly protective of the development of anxiety following administration of stress to the participants. The researcher observed that the anti-stress effect was most evident when the caffeine and catechin to L-theanine and L-arginine ratio was low. This may mean that caffeine and catechin are able to antagonise the anti-stress effects of the amino acids.
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