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Article by Belle McCaleb

Why you should drink tea for health and to prevent cancer

By Belle McCaleb

Tea or Camilla sinensis, has been used throughout India, China, Japan and Thailand for medicinal reasons for centuries. Traditional uses include as a stimulant, diuretic, astringent, blood sugar regulator, body temperature regulator, mental acuity enhancer and to improve heart health.  Modern research has identified many specific health-promoting properties of tea relevant to cancer prevention including anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative and directly anti-carcinogenic properties as well as numerous other general health benefits.

Green tea, in particular, has been shown to protect against chemical induced stomach, lung, esophagus, duodenum, pancreas, liver, breast and colon cancer in specific experimental models.  All tea (green, black and white) has a class of potent antioxidants with anti-cancer actions called polyphenols. One such polyphenol, EGCG, has significant anti-carcinogenic effects on cancers of the skin, stomach, large intestine, colon, liver, pancreas and lung.  Research has shown that women who drink black and green tea are less likely to develop bladder cancer, and tea drinking pre-menopausal women with early breast and ovarian cancer have less spread of cancer.  

EGCG modulates the microflora in the intestine increasing the growth of “good bugs” such as bifidobacteria and lactobacilli which in turn reduce the carcinogenic load on the intestine.  It also inhibits the proliferation of a nasty gastric bug, Helicobacter pylori, which is implicated in gastric cancer. Tea has specific anti-inflammatory effects that are not only helpful in preventing colon cancer but also for precancerous bowel conditions like ulcerative colitis.

In addition, the oral administration of tea extract along side a chemotherapy drug used for bowel cancer (and other cancers) called Doxorubicin increased its anti-cancer effect by 2.5 fold.

In addition to its broad anti-cancer effects, tea has also been demonstrated to have additional health benefits.  Tea is great for cardiovascular health as it lowers total cholesterol production by the liver and absorption from the gut; it raises the “good cholesterol” and lowers the “bad cholesterol”; and has anti-clot actions all helping protect against cardiovascular disease.  It is also a strong anti-microbial and can inhibit bacteria and other microbesincluding Salmonella, Clostridium and Shigella as well as resistant strains of Candida and Mycoplasma.  Tea also helps with blood sugar control in diabetics, helps prevent cataract formation and has significant liver protective activity.

Does it have to be GREEN tea? 

No, black tea also demonstrates strong anti-cancer properties; however, one of the main anti-cancer constituents, EGCG, is slightly higher in green tea.  A particular type of Japanese green tea, Sencha, has one of the highest levels of EGCG. So DRINK UP!

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By Belle McCaleb


Gupta V et al, Phytochemistry and pharmacology of Camilla sinensis – a review; Annals of Biological Research, 2010 1 (2): 91-102

Steele V et al, Comparative chemopreventive mechanisms of green tea, black tea and selected polyphenol extracts measure by in vitro bioassays, Carcinogenesis (2000) 21 (1): 63-67


23 Oct 2014

Article/Information supplied by Belle McCaleb

Disclaimer - Any general advice given in any article should not be relied upon and should not be taken as a substitute for visiting a qualified medical Doctor.