A longtime Chinese elixir, green tea has been used historically to treat head- aches, body aches, poor digestion, and improve life expectancy. And it’s also good for skin.
A compound in green tea has been singled out by Spanish and British researchers for its ability to fight certain types of cancer. The active agent, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), is found in high concentrations of green tea. EGCG has long been known as an anti-cancer beverage, but it wasn’t understood exactly why. Now, researchers have discovered that EGCG binds to and inhibits the proliferation of an enzyme called dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR), which is found in both healthy and cancerous cells and appears to contribute to cancer cell growth.
Natural chemicals found in black tea, called polyphenols, help fight the bacteria that cause bad breath, say researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Bad breath, also known as halitosis, is caused by volatile sulphur compounds produced by bacteria that thrive in oxygen-lacking environments, such as the back of the tongue and deep gum pockets. In the laboratory, polyphenols not only inhibited the growth of oral bacteria, they also suppressed by 30 percent the enzyme that catalyzes hydrogen sulfide, a halitosis culprit.
In an age when ancient remedies are increasingly emerging as solutions to our modern medical questions, researchers are finding a blend of simplicity and complexity in their work. So is the case with green tea. For thousands of years, the Chinese have known the power of its healing properties, incorporating its use in their traditional tea ceremonies. Now green tea has found its way into the heart of Western medicine as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agent capable of blocking the carcinogenic effects of free radicals in the human body.
For thousands of years, the Chinese have known the power of its healing properties, incorporating its use in their traditional tea ceremonies. Now green tea has found its way into the heart of Western medicine as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agent capable of blocking the cancer-causing effects of free radicals in the body.
Santosh Katiyar, Ph.D., who has figured prominently in investigating the relationship between green tea and skin, says the tea has an “antioxidant activity superior to that of any other naturally occurring antioxidant known.”