Posted by William on July 27, 2011
Polyphenols help protect cells from the ravages of oxidation, a chemical reaction that can lead to cancer and the hardened arteries that cause heart disease. In fact, researchers at the University of Kansas say that EGCG is 25 times more effective than vitamin E at helping cells resist the damage caused by oxidation and helping damaged cells repair themselves. Both black and green teas have the same total polyphenol content, but green tea has about twice the EGCG.
What is great about green tea is its ability to ward off many types of cancer. Much of the initial evidence that green tea is anti-carcinogenic is based on studies which show lower rates of many types of cancer among populations such as Japan and China that drink green tea as part of a daily cultural habit. Recently, however, controlled studies on green tea extract have yielded impressive results, identifying EGCG as the responsible component. EGCG is able to force certain cancer cells into a situation in which, incredible as it may seem, they must die or be killed; the cancer cells die in a sort of cellular suicide, a condition scientists call “apoptosis”. Further evidence shows EGCG as having an inhibitory effect on the enzyme urokinase, which is required for tumor formation, thus preventing the formation of tumors in the first place.
Not only are the polyphenols in green tea protective against certain cancers, but they are also highly beneficial to the heart. They help prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol (the “bad” kind). Studies show that consuming 500 mg. of green tea catechins per day significantly lowers blood pressure and possess anti-mutagenic activity.
The polyphenols in green tea have anti-bacterial properties, even against the bacteria that cause dental plaque. It helps prevent gingivitis, cavities, and bad breath.
EGCG is also known to provide protection against respiratory and digestive infections, and food poisoning, while encouraging acidophilus growth and regularizing bowel habits.
The warmth and steam from any hot beverage can help you breathe easier if you’re congested or have mild asthma. All teas also contain a relative of caffeine called theophylline, a mild stimulant that helps dilate the bronchial tubes in the lungs. In fact, theophylline is an ingredient in many prescription and over-the-counter asthma drugs. However, tea won’t help lessen a severe asthma attack; use your medication or see a doctor immediately.
Beyond it’s use as a medicinal beverage, green tea is a versatile herb that can be used to treat athlete’s foot, repel mosquitoes, and jazz up a bowl of noodles. It can be used in beauty products, your pet’s litter box, and makes a great plant fertilizer. The possibilities of this magical leaf are many.