Here at Scope Clinical and Educational Services, there’s not much that we love more than a cup of tea to start our work day. Whether you prefer green, black, or herbal, tea may be doing far more for your health than you think.
Tea was first discovered in China thousands of years ago where it was used for medicinal purposes. In the modern day, it is the second most popular drink in the world, with water coming first. Traditional black or green tea leaves both come from the same plant and their differences are a result of their processing. In addition to black and green tea, there are many different types of herbal tea including, for example, chamomile, ginseng and peppermint.
Tea and Cancer
Regular consumption of tea has been linked to various positive health outcomes. Tea is rich with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals which may contribute to overall wellbeing. Perhaps most promising is the growing body of research which indicates a link between green tea and cancer prevention. A large scale study of pancreatic cancer in China found positive effects of regular tea consumption in females (2). Additionally, some studies indicate the potential anti carcinogenic effects of green tea in regard to liver, and stomach cancer, too (3). Clearly, the results are slightly mixed and inconclusive at the current time, and more research is needed. However, these preliminary findings are certainly exciting!
Green Tea & Relaxation
Green tea also contains theanine which, in combination with the caffeine present, appears to induce a relaxed state while avoiding drowsiness (1). Theanine can be consumed in isolation as a supplement and is known for its relaxing properties. Additionally, animal studies point towards theanine acting as a potential tool for lowering blood pressure.
Green Tea & Oral Health
Green tea has also shown positive effects on oral health. This is important as dental health is linked to general human health. Green tea appears to prevent the loss of tooth enamel by controlling the mouth’s pH levels (4). Cavities may cause bad breath, and green tea has shown great effect in treating this. In fact, some mainstream products for the symptomatic treatment of bad breath contain green tea extract. Finally, using green tea in a fashion similar to mouthwash seems to maintain certain protective factors against the effects of cigarette smoke. However, this obviously does not protect against the plethora of additional health impacts that come from smoking.
If herbal is your cup of tea, you may experience some other positive impacts. In general, these teas are particularly good for relaxation. You may experience various other benefits depending on your choice of tea. For example, chamomile is soothing, peppermint may assist in stress relief, and rosehip tea contains large amounts of vitamin C which can help fight a cold.
Although it is inappropriate to attribute any of these impacts entirely to tea without a properly controlled study, the results are promising. At worst, they suggest no ill effects from drinking tea, and at best, they may point towards tea being a potential cancer-fighting tool. Here at Scope, we were excited to read about these promising findings and hope that you are too.
So if you’re in the area, come share a cuppa with us at 24 Oxford Street, Bulimba! We’d love to chat with you.
(1) Cooper, R. (2012). Green tea and theanine: Health benefits. International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition 63, 90-97. doi: 10.3109/09637486.2011.629180
(2) Wang, J., Zhang, W., Sun, L., Yu, H,. Ni, Q., Risch, H., & Gao, Y. (2012). Green tea drinking and risk of pancreatic cancer: A large scale, population-based control study in urban Shanghai. Cancer Epidemiology 36 (6), 354-358.
(3) Yuan, J. (2013). Cancer prevention by green tea: Evidence from epidemiologic studies. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 98.
(4) Narotzki, B., Reznick, A. Z., Aizenbud, D., Levy, Y. (2012). Green tea: A promising natural product in oral health. Archives of Oral Biology 57, 429-435