As the world is steering keenly toward healthier options, many normal masala teacups are being replaced with hot and delicious green tea. This herbal drink is known for its ability to digest food organically. Along with all other benefits it contributes to the human body, green tea has become one of the most consumed beverages in the world.
Since its discovery in China thousands of years ago, green tea has been used for its medicinal properties. It has been used as a staple herb in traditional medicines. Many scientists believe that green tea possesses tremendous potential for aiding many diseases and they have been spending years analyzing the potential health benefits and drawbacks of this precious herb.
What is Green Tea?
Green tea is made from a tea plant called Camellia sinesis. The leaves and buds of this plant are hand-picked for making green tea and several other teas such as black and oolong tea. Green tea is made by drying the leaves through pan-frying to prevent oxidation. This helps to keep the colour of the leaves intact. Also, since green tea is not fermented, it is able to keep in an important molecule called polyphenols which preserves the healthy nutrients and antioxidants in the leaves. Green Tea also contains a small amount of caffeine.
What is Green Tea Extract?
Green tea extract is a concentrated form of green tea leaves and is made from the crushed ground powder of the leaves. According to studies, one capsule of green tea extract contains the same amount of active ingredients as in an average cup of green tea.
Effects of Green Tea Extract on Cancer
According to several population-based studies, green and black teas may help protect against cancer. In nations like Japan, where people drink green tea on a regular basis, cancer rates are relatively low compared to other countries. However, these trials do not provide conclusive evidence that green tea can prevent cancer in humans.
Early clinical investigations suggest that polyphenols found in tea, particularly green tea, may have a role in cancer prevention. According to studies, polyphenols are also thought to aid malignant cells to die and stop further spreading.
Green tea has been examined extensively in humans, animals, and lab trials. According to the findings from several studies clinically and preclinically, green tea may aid in the treatment of the following cancers:
- Breast cancer
Green tea polyphenols have been shown to suppress the growth of breast cancer cells in animals and test tubes. Researchers discovered that women who drank a large amount of green tea had the least amount of cancer spread in a trial of 472 women with varying stages of breast cancer. It was especially true in premenopausal women with breast cancer in the early stages. They also discovered that women with early-stage cancer who drank at least 5 cups of tea per day before being diagnosed had a lower risk of recurrence after finishing treatment. Green tea, on the other hand, had little or no effect on women with advanced breast cancer.
- Ovarian cancer
Researchers in China discovered that women who drank at least one cup of green tea each day lived longer with the disease than those who did not. Those who consumed the most tea lived the longest.
- Colorectal cancer
Colorectal cancer is a type of colon cancer. Green tea’s effects on colon and rectal cancer have yielded mixed outcomes in research. Some studies demonstrate that people who drink tea have a lower risk, while others show that they have a higher risk. Women who drank 5 or more cups of green tea per day had a decreased risk of colorectal cancer than non-tea drinkers, according to one study. For men, however, there was no protective effect. Other research suggests that women who drink tea regularly may have a lower risk of colorectal cancer. Green tea needs more research before it can be recommended for the prevention of colorectal cancer.
- Esophageal cancer
Esophagal cancer is a type of cancer that affects the esophagus. Green tea polyphenols have been demonstrated to suppress the growth of esophagal cancer cells in experimental animals. Human research, on the other hand, has yielded mixed results. Green tea, for example, was found to offer protection against the development of esophagal cancer in a large population-based investigation, particularly among women. Another population-based study discovered the exact opposite: green tea consumption was linked to a higher incidence of esophagal cancer. In fact, the risk increases with the strength and heat of the tea. Given these contradictory findings, additional research is needed before experts can recommend green tea for esophagal cancer prevention.
- Lung cancer
While green tea polyphenols have been proven to prevent the growth of human lung cancer cells in test tubes, few clinical studies have examined the link between green tea consumption and lung cancer in people, and the ones that have been conducted have shown mixed results. Okinawan tea, which is similar to green tea but is partially fermented, was linked to a decreased incidence of lung cancer in one population-based investigation, particularly among women. Green and black tea, on the other hand, was found to raise the risk of lung cancer in a second study. Before experts can draw any conclusions concerning green tea and lung cancer, more research is needed. Patients taking bortezomib should avoid drinking green tea.
- Pancreatic cancer
Pancreatic cancer is a type of cancer that affects the pancreas Researchers compared green tea drinkers to nondrinkers in a large-scale clinical investigation and discovered that those who drank the most tea were less likely to get pancreatic cancer. This was especially true for women, who were half as likely to acquire pancreatic cancer as those who drank the least green tea. Men who drank the most tea had a 37% lower risk of developing pancreatic cancer.
However, it is unclear if green tea is primarily responsible for decreasing pancreatic cancer risk in this population-based investigation. More research is needed before researchers can recommend green tea for pancreatic cancer prevention.
- Prostate cancer
Green tea extracts have been shown in lab experiments to inhibit the growth of prostate cancer cells in test tubes. A comprehensive clinical trial in Southeast China discovered that increasing the frequency, duration, and quantity of green tea consumption reduced the incidence of prostate cancer. Green and black tea extracts, on the other hand, triggered genes that make cells less vulnerable to chemotherapeutic medicines. Before consuming green or black tea or taking tea supplements, people who are undergoing chemotherapy should consider the doctor’s advice.
- Skin cancer
Epigallocatechin gallate is the major polyphenol in green tea (EGCG). According to research, EGCG and green tea polyphenols contain anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer effects, which could help prevent the development and progression of skin malignancies.
- Gastric cancer
Green tea polyphenols have been shown to suppress the growth of stomach cancer cells in test tubes, but human trials have been less compelling. In two trials comparing green tea drinkers to nondrinkers, researchers discovered that individuals who drank tea were about half as likely to develop stomach cancer and inflammation as those who did not.
Future directions of green tea as cancer prevention
There is a need to define the people who could benefit from green tea drinking due to inconsistent outcomes in laboratory research on green tea to prevent cancer. Such intervention studies in various communities may provide important information on green tea’s preventive impact against cancer of certain organs or in specific populations. Given that green tea is well tolerated in modest quantities and may be safely supplied without causing major side effects, green tea use by humans may be recommended.