There are many health benefits to drinking tea. It is one of the most easily available and healthiest remedies available to us. You may have heard many claims that tea can help with cancer. Although many studies have been done, we can only suggest drinking tea as a preventative measure to cancer. According to Chinese medicine theory, tea is recommended as a preventative measure against cancer and as part of complementary cancer treatment. 


What is found in tea that helps prevent cancer?

Tea contains polyphenols compounds which are the primary biological ingredients of tea. Polyphenols are a large group of plant chemicals, which include catechins, act as antioxidants thought to be responsible for many of the health benefits associated with tea. These powerful antioxidants counteract free radicals in the body, thought to contribute to cancer.

The catechin that researchers believe to be the most active is epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). Studies suggest that the properties of EGCG have an effect against cancer cells by inhibiting formation of cancer causing substances and the growth of tumours. High levels of EGCG can be found in green tea and white tea.


How effective is tea in preventing cancer?

Studies have shown tea catechins act as powerful inhibitors of cancer growth in several ways. Some studies have concluded that there is evidence that tea decreases the risk of stomach, colon and breast cancer and that the compound TF2 in red tea causes colorectal cancer cells to commit suicide.

Furthermore, laboratory studies of tea and its use in cancer prevention have shown that EGCG slows the growth of breast cancer cells, including the cells that have become resistant to some types of chemotherapy. Another study showed that toxic concentrations of some chemotherapy drugs found in the liver and heart are reduced when adding powered green tea, such as matcha.

In Japan, prostate and breast cancer rates are significantly lower in comparison to most Western societies. It is believed that this might be due to the high consumption of green tea in their diet. Nevertheless the amount of beneficial antioxidants per cup depends on the type of tea, the time of harvest, amount of tea used and brewing time.


But isn’t caffeine bad for cancer sufferers?

Since caffeine is a strong stimulant, it should be avoided when Cancer has been diagnosed as patients need to carefully listen to what their bodies are asking of them. For example, sufferers need to be careful to avoid excess stimulation and rest when their bodies tell them to. The concept of rest is very important to Cancer recovery, because rest increases the bodies’ ability to resist diseases and strengthens the immune system. Coffee should be avoided. Teas that are high in caffeine should be drank in moderation. The best way to naturally reduce the caffeine content of your tea is to brew the leaves for 20-30 seconds and throw this water away. Caffeine is very soluble and therefore most of it will be thrown away in the wash.


What tea is best?

All types of tea are valuable for cancer prevention and as complementary health drinks. However, processing may play a part in each tea’s cancer-fighting potential.

Most studies have focused on green tea. It is one of the most common types of tea drank for its health benefits because it is high in antioxidants and easily available. A study in China of more than 18,000 men found that green tea drinkers were about half as likely to develop cancer of the stomach or food pipe as men who drank little tea. Another study by the University of Southern California found that women who drank about a half of a cup of green tea daily cut their breast cancer risk by as much as 50 percent.

However, white tea has comparable amounts of antioxidants as it is processed for the least amount of time, making it the closest to the natural state of the tea leaf. One study, in a controlled environment with cancer-prone mice, found that with the use of white tea, 23 percent fewer tumours developed than when green tea was used. Remember that whole leaf tea is better as most tea bag brands contain only small amounts of actual tea.

If you are looking for a caffeine free herbal tea, Roobios is a great alternative to tea. It’s rich in antioxidants and good for the cardiovascular system. Roobios tea contains quercetin, an antioxidant traditionally used in alternative medicine practices to inhibit cancer growth.

When it comes to brewing your tea, hot tea is best as it contains the highest amount of cancer-fighting antioxidants. In contrast, there are far fewer benefits in drinking instant, iced and ready-to-drink tea.


Can I take a tea extract?

EGCG can be found in most health food stores and online in the form of a ‘Green tea extract’ supplement. This is available in either liquid or capsule form. However, it is of best interest to stick to drinking brewed whole leaf tea rather than rely on tea extracts. It has been suggested that it is the multiple compounds of the tea leaf that provide its cancer-fighting properties, and not just the more commonly studied EGCG compound.



For every Strawberry Tease tea cocktail sold at the chinalife bar this October, 50p will be donated to Cancer Research UK.

Strawberry Tease is our magic potion which transforms on your tongue from sweet strawberry to refreshing bitter. Caffeine free!





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Last Updated: October 04, 2013


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