Camellia sinensis

 Camellia sinensis Green Tea plant 

Camellia sinensis in flower


General Notes

Camellia sinensis is a compact medium sized bush with smallish glossy green leaves. It is evergreen which makes it an ideal plant to be added to your garden for a range of landscape uses.

Ideally it can be used as a clipped hedge in the garden as a background foil or as in the case of sustainable equine land use may be used as an intermediate hedgerow for horse pastures ideally for use in paddocks set aside for treating Equine Metabolic Syndrome. Hedge clippings can be used fresh or dried and added to horse’s feed.

It is an ideal addition to any garden for the true tea connoisseur. See below on how you can harvest your own tea leaves.

Botanical Name

Camellia sinensis Theaceae

Active Ingredients

Green tea contains a large range of health promoting active ingredients to include:

Polyphenols like flavonoids and catechins, (Epigallocatechin -3-gallate) which function as antioxidants. Catechin from C. sinensis acts as an agonist of the nuclear receptor protein , L-theanine which in combination with the caffeine compounds act on the GABA levels n the brain.


  • Sirtuins are a class of proteins that functio as anti-ageing genes and help protect telomeres.
  • EGCG Epigallocatechin -3-gallate one of the major health compounds in Camellia sinensis.
  • Telomeres are protective ends covering DNA strands. These shorten with age.
  • Collagenase, an enzyme responsible for collagen breakdown.
  • Streptococcus mutans is a bacteria causes plaque formation and is a leading contributor to cavities and tooth decay.


Recent research has provided some very interesting facts.

  1. Green tea (Camellia sinensis) is a powerful sirtuin activator.
  2. Epigallcatechinin 3 gallate ( EGCG) has been shown to lengthen telomeres influencing how cell age.
  3. Prevents cell death by lengthening telomeres
  4. EGCG protects skin from UVB and UVA induced cell death.
  5. Protects collagen from degradation by collagenase, an enzyme responsible for collagen breakdown leading to thinner skin, wrinkles and sagging skin.Levels of collagenase increase as we age.
  6. EGCG promotes hair growth in hair follicle cultures.
  7. Depletes fat accumulation and stimulates lipolysis in human adipocytes which means that it has been shown to decrease abdominal fat.
  8. May assist in lowering blood sugar levels in cases of type 2 diabetes.
  9. EGCG will help improve heart and brain function as well as smooth your skin.
  10. Known to prevent bone loss and ward off tooth decay.
  11. Compounds from Green tea have been shown to stimulate mitochondria or energy cells.
  12. Compounds in green tea decrease DHT dihydrotestosterone a form of testosterone known to increase with age in both men and women.
  13. Caffeine in green tea may  block an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain called Adenosine which increases the firing of neurons and the concentration of neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine. This may help with Parkinsons disease.
  14. It also has the amino acid L-theanine, which is able to cross the blood-brain barrier. L-theanine increases the activity of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA, which has anti-anxiety effects.
  15. It also increases dopamine and the production of alpha waves in the brain Studies show that caffeine and L-theanine can have synergistic effects in improving brain function without the excessive stimulating effect.
  16. The bioactive compounds have protective effects on neurons and may reduce the risk of both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s,
  17. Studies show that the catechins in green tea can inhibit the growth of streptococcus mutans. Green tea consumption is associated with improved dental health and a lower risk of caries.
  18. Green tea has been shown to lower total and LDL cholesterol, as well as protect the LDL particles from oxidation. Green tea increases the antioxidant capability of the blood, which protects the LDL cholesterol particles from oxidation.
  19. EGCG has been seen to reverse damage in heart cells.

What are its uses?

Green tea has many and varied uses for both people and livestock.


Green tea dried and fermented leaves have been used traditionally a hot drink and used as part of many ceremonies. Black tea is fermented. It is also now being used in skin care and hair products. fresh leaves can be added to your daily smoothie to get the health promoting benefits.

Pets Horses and Livestock

Camellia sinensis has many landscape functions particularly when used in Equine Permaculture as an intermediate hedgerow for horse pastures. Hedge clippings can be used fresh or dried and added to horse’s feed.


Camellia sinensis is a compact medium sized bush with smallish glossy green leaves. It is evergreen which makes it an ideal plant to be added to your garden as part of mass planting.

Ideally it can be used as a clipped hedge for in the garden as a background foil behind a perennial border or as room dividers in your garden.


Our climate lends itself to growing tea in New Zealand. If you want to grow  your own plants, the taste you’ll end up with will depend on your region’s climate, soil type and elevation.

Camellia sinensis
Adult height: From 1.2m – 1.8m
Description: Evergreen shrub, native to South East Asia, bears white fragrant flowers

  • The plant that gives us one of the world’s best-loved beverages is a camellia, a small ever-green shrub that form a compact well shaped bush. It makes a good filler for shady areas or as a low border plant if kept in trim.

Conditions for Growth

  • Tea camellia tolerates sun or shade.
  • Is adaptable to almost all well-drained soil types, except those that are water-logged. While it doesn’t mind it getting hot, it doesn’t like drying out completely so water well while the plant is actively growing.
    You can propagate Camellia sinensis by cutting.If from seed then the seeds need to be soaked in warm water for 24 hours before sowing.


  • Tender young growth should be picked, with 2-3 leaves.
  • Surface water must be dried the shade for a few hours.
  • Bruise the leaves to start the fermentation process by rolling shoots between your hands until the leaves are dark and crinkled but not broken.
  • You then ferment the leaves by placing in thin layers on a tray in a shady place for around 2-3 days.
  • Heat the oven to 120°C and bake for 20 minutes. This stops the fermentation process and you have created your tea – store it in an airtight container.


 Disclaimer: Information in this article is not to be used in place of professional medical advice and expertise. For diagnosis and treatment always see your health professional.


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