Copyright 2006 David Maillie
The Asian community has used different teas and herbal remedies since before the Great wall of China (over 3000 years ago) and green tea has stood out as one of its hallmark and most helpful constituents. Green tea has been used to treat everything from heart attacks, stroke to infections like sepsis (blood infection) and numerous other conditions and maladies.
Many studies have been undertaken to research and extract the helpful and beneficial compounds in Green tea that exhibit these medicinal qualities. Recent scientific studies listed in Chemical & Engineering News (produced by the American Chemical Society) show numerous benefits from the different compounds contained in green tea leaves (polyphenols like EGCG, a powerful antioxidant that inhibits the rapid growth of cancer cells without harming healthy cells).
Studies done at Harvard and Cornell Universities on these polyphenols have shown a marked decline in carcinogen activity (up to 60% blocking reduction in oxidation capabilities) and even a biocide or antiseptic quality (hence the current research on green tea polyphenols and tooth and gum disease). Green tea has shown and evidenced antibacterial properties and more research in this area is needed.
Green tea polyphenols inhibit and retard cancer growth in every study and form of cancer from liver cancer to uterine and breast cancer. It is important to note, that although no cancer in these studies was completely cured, duration of survival and quality of life were increased in every circumstance. EGCG, due to its abilities to retard cancer with no known side effects is currently being researched to see if higher concentrations and / or more powerful synthetic derivatives could be used as a replacement for the current highly toxic chemotherapy.
Study after study shows a vast reduction in onset and risk of various cancers and disease. Other green tea findings included a study of smokers at the Arizona Cancer Center in Tucson showing that four cups of decaffeinated green tea every day for four months provided some protection against potentially carcinogenic damage to DNA, as measured by the amount of an enzyme in the urine. Many studies have linked green tea to lower risk for breast, pancreatic, colon, esophageal, and lung cancers. University of Purdue researchers recently concluded that a compound in green tea inhibits the growth of cancer cells. There is also research indicating that drinking green tea lowers total cholesterol levels, as well as improving the ratio of good (HDL) cholesterol to bad (LDL) cholesterol. The polyphenols inhibit the absorption of cholesterol in the digestive tract, which actually helps lower the amount of LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream.
Basically, to sum this up, green tea has been proven to reduce the risk of cancer and retard the growth of cancer cells in every case and for this reason alone should be incorporated into every diet. Just 4 cups of green tea per day has been found to slow and retard breast cancer in women (Japanese scientists at the Saitama Cancer Research Institute). 4 cups of green tea daily gives the optimal amount of polyphenols for the best results.