[Image: Alex Block/Unsplash]

A recent study suggests that Japanese matcha may be particularly effective for easing anxiety. Researchers at Kumamoto University in Japan used the “elevated plus maze” test with mice—an experiment in which a plus-shaped, narrow platform with two walled arms provides safety for the test subject, typically a mouse. It’s used as an anxiety test for rodents with the idea that animals experiencing higher anxiety will spend more time in the safer areas.

During this study, scientists found that mouse anxiety was reduced after consuming matcha powder or extract. Additional analysis found that matcha reduced anxiety by activating dopamine D1 and certain serotonin receptors. “Although further epidemiological research is necessary, the results of our study show that matcha, which has been used as a medicinal agent for many years, may be quite beneficial,” says study leader Yuki Kurauchi, PhD.

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