Tea is one of the most ancient as well as popular beverages in the world. Black tea is known to comprise around 75 percent of the total consumption in the world. With the black tea being more common as well as popular in the USA, the UK, and Europe, green tea is more popular in countries like China and Japan. White and Oolong teas are consumed in other parts of the world.
Tea is derived from the plant “Camellia sinensis” –its leaves. While you might come across a myriad of tea varieties, some of the famous ones are black tea, green tea, oolong tea, white tea, and Essiac tea. There are several health-centric benefits of having teas –even treating cancer in some cases. In this post, we will help you know about the top variants of herbal teas that can help in fighting cancer.
What is in a Tea?
The number of natural ingredients, as well as nutrients in your daily cup of tea, might vary –depending on the type of tea and how you are preparing the same. Typically, tea is known to contain:
- Caffeine –the naturally occurring stimulant that is known to affect the CNS (Central Nervous System) of the body along with related compounds including theobromine and theophylline.
- Catechins –the specific polyphenol compounds that deliver potential health benefits. Catechins are of two types:
- EGC (Epicatechin), ECG (Epicatechin 3-gallate)
- EGCG (Epigallocatechin Gallate) –prevalent in green teas
- Theaflavins and thearubigins
- L-theanine –a specific amino acid found in green tea
- Fluoride and manganese
How can Tea Help in Preventing Cancer?
Amongst a wide range of biological activities, some of the predominant polyphenols that are found in green tea (including EC, EGCG, ECG, and EGC) along with the thearubigins and theaflavins in black teas tend to have rich antioxidant properties. The available ingredients, including ECG & EGCG tend to feature significant free radical killing activity and help in protecting the cells in the body from potential DNA damage that might be caused by species of reactive oxygen.
The polyphenols in teas are known to inhibit cancer cell proliferation while inducing apoptosis in animal studies and lab studies. In other forms of animal studies as well as laboratory studies, tea catechins are known to inhibit angiogenesis as well as tumor cell invasiveness. Moreover, tea polyphenols can also help in protecting the damage caused due to UV (Ultraviolet) B radiation. They might even help in modulating the function of the body’s immune system. To top it all, green teas have been observed to activate the detoxification enzymes in the body, including quinone reductase and glutathione S-transferase. These vital enzymes can help in providing protection against tumor development.
Top Herbal Teas for Preventing Cancer
- Essiac Tea for Mesothelioma: Essiac is referred to as the special blend of herbs and is most commonly consumed as a tea. In the modern era, it is also being promoted as a healthy & natural alternative to cancer treatment. While scientific research does not back up the claims of Essiac tea curing cancer, but it is known to be rich in antioxidants that help in protecting the body against potential DNA damage.
In the modern era, thousands of individuals all around the world (especially those having cancer like Mesothelioma) are using Essiac tea as a leading alternative medication for helping them in reaching remission effectively. A recent study analyzed that around 15 percent of women in Canada having breast cancer made use of Essiac for treating their condition. Research reveals that Essiac has some healthy compounds that provide protection to the DNA from damage while influencing the immune system of the body.
In a 2006 study, it was found by the National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health that Essiac is rich in its antioxidant properties. The study also revealed that Essiac also protected the DNA from the potential free radical damage. The effect of DNA protection might not repair the damage already caused due to cancer, but it can turn out to have a preventative effect on the long-term use of this compound.
- Green Tea: While evidence of the preventive effects of cancer in the body due to green tea consumption might not be conclusive, still scientists are experimenting with green tea samples in both clinical trials as well as animal studies to reach a conclusion with respect to cancer treatment. Green tea is known to contain natural compounds referred to as polyphenols. The scientists assume that it is because of this compound that green tea is attributed to cancer prevention & treatment. Several lab-based studies of a specific polyphenol in green tea (namely EGCG –Epigallocatechin 3-Gallate) is known to interfere with several processes that are involved in the replication of cells in the body –eventually leading to the death of cancer tumors.
EGCG is also known to slow down the overall formation of blood vessels that surround the cancer tumors. ECG –Epigallocatechin that is another polyphenol found in green tea has been found to stop leukemic cells from getting multiplied during lab-based studies. Green tea is known for its rich antioxidant property, and thus, it helps in damaged cell repair. While research on the overall effects of green tea on the growth as well as development of cancerous tumors has been promising in animal studies, studies with respect to human-based studies have generated mixed results.
- Chamomile Tea: While chamomile tea consumption is known to reduce anxiety and treat insomnia, its effect on cancer prevention is still under study. Chamomile has been made use of as a leading natural herb for treating a wide range of health conditions including insomnia, anxiety, and gastrointestinal problems. It is also utilized topically for treating inflammatory skin-related conditions. However, a recent study reveals that a cup of chamomile tea can help in preventing cancer. The tea is known to contain a chemical referred to as “Apigenin” –responsible for taking away the powers of the cancer cells.
A team of scientists at Ohio State University has revealed that apigenin can help in blocking the capability of breast cancer cells to live longer in comparison to the normal cells of the body. At the same time, apigenin can also help to halt the spread of breast cancer cells while making them more sensitive to positive drug therapy for cancer treatment. The chemical “apigenin” is also known for showing its anti-inflammatory properties that tend to work towards warding off cancer. It also helps the proteins in correcting the abnormalities of the RNA that are responsible for around 80 percent of cancers.
- Oolong Tea: Latest studies have revealed that Oolong tea consumption can help in preventing breast cancer by damaging the breast cancer cells. As such, those who consume oolong tea on a regular basis have a lower risk of developing breast cancer in the long run. Chunfa Huang –an Associate Research Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine, Saint Louis University, Missouri, published the findings of the research in the journal named Anticancer Research.
Huang, along with his team deduced that that oolong tea extracts tend to have its effects on six cell lines of breast cancer –including HER-2 positive, ER-positive, triple-negative, and PR-positive cancer cells. The extracts of oolong tea helped in stopping the overall growth of different cell lines of breast cancer. Oolong tea, along with green tea extracts, can help in inducing potential DNA damage as well as cleavage and play an inhibitory role in the cell growth of breast cancer cells along with proliferation and tumorigenesis. Moreover, oolong tea extracts are also regarded as a great potential by serving as a chemopreventive agent against preventing breast cancer.
- Matcha Tea: MGT –Matcha Green Tea has been observed to inhibit the spread of CSCs (cancer stem cells). This is achieved by targeting the metabolism of the mitochondria along with glycolysis as well as multiple cell signaling pathways. MGT (Matcha Green Tea) is a naturally-occurring herbal tea that is mostly used as a leading dietary supplement and is under study to possess anti-cancer properties. Results from several clinical studies have indicated that Matcha Green Tea strongly affects the mTOR signaling –down-regulating several components of the 40S ribosome. The results of the studies are consistent with the primary idea that Matcha Green Tea (MGT) can tend to have major therapeutic potential –especially in preventing cancer.
Matcha –the famous variant of green tea, is known to be packed with antioxidants. A team of scientists in Salford, United Kingdom, have observed the anti-cancer behavior of the MGT. In the result of the study that was published in the journal named Aging, a team of scientists at the Biomedical Research Center, Salford, made use of metabolic phenotyping on the cancer stem cells along the breast cancer cell lines and found that MGT helped in shifting the cancer cells towards the quiescent metabolic state and stopped the spreading of the disease at some relatively lower concentration.
Teas are herbal compounds that have a myriad of health benefits –along with preventing cancer.