Kumamoto, Japan—Matcha can reduce anxious behavior in mice, according to a study published in theJournal of Functional Foods.

A press releaseregarding the study says that researchers used the “elevated plus maze” test—an elevated, narrow platform with two walled arms, where anxious mice can feel safe—and found that mouse anxiety was reduced after consuming Matcha powder or extract.

Moreover, the release notes, when different Matcha extracts were compared, a stronger anxiolytic effect was found with the extract derived using 80% ethanol than with the extract derived using hot water. A poorly water-soluble Matcha extract, therefore, has stronger anxiolytic effects than a component that is easily water-soluble.

Further analysis revealed that Matcha works by activating dopamine D1 and serotonin 5-HT1A receptors, the press release says.

Dr. Yuki Kurauchi, study leader, said in the release: “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, might be quite beneficial to the human body. We hope that our research into Matcha can lead to health benefits worldwide.”