Green tea is made from the leaves of the
Camellia sinensis plant and its history dates back 5000 years. There is an old Chinese legend
that says a man, Shien Non Shei, was walking one day when he curiously
tasted the juices from a leaf of a plant and felt it had special medicinal
properties and decided to create a drink by mixing it with water. In 1191,
Zen priest Eisai wrote the book,
Kissa Yojoki (Book of Tea), which describes how drinking green tea can have a positive effect on
the five vital organs and lists the tea's medicinal qualities.
For centuries Green tea has been used in the prevention and treatment
of a long list of ailments including heart disease, diabetes, stroke,
and cancer. The majority of studies attempting to document these proclaimed
health benefits have proved inconclusive due to individual
lifestyle factors and variations in environment. However, the results of a recent
study published in the February 23, 2013 issue of the medical journal
Cancer Cell International reveal that a compound found in green tea is effective in killing mesothelioma
In the study, Japanese researchers sought to identify the effects of the
polyphenol Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (“EGCG”), a potent antioxidant
abundant in green tea, on
malignant mesothelioma. Researchers administered varying doses of EGCG ranging between 10 µm
to 500 µm on five human mesothelioma cell lines at intervals of
24 hours. Researchers demonstrated that EGCG caused cell death in all
five cell lines by inducing reactive oxygen species (“ROS”)
production, which impaired the mitochondrial membrane potential. Lower
doses of EGCG actually protected the cells from ROS, but higher doses
of EGCG promoted ROS within the mesothelioma cells causing apoptsis (cell death).
Chloroquine is a very potent drug used in the prevention of malaria, but
has also been found to possess anti-tumor properties. Researchers applied
chloroquine with the EGCG in an attempt to maximize EGCG’s potential
and found that, when combined, autophagy (the breakdown of cellular components)
It should be recognized that the study involved direct delivery of EGCG
to mesothelioma cancer cells—and did not attempt to determine the
impact of drinking green tea on patients diagnosed with mesothelioma.
However, the possibility of EGCG becoming an applied therapy along with
chemotherapy grows as research continues.
The brand Green Tea Hydra boasts of containing the highest EGCG content
per serving on the market at 265mg. Matcha Powder (powdered green tea)
is said to contain more EGCG than regular dry leaf green tea. EGCG can
also be found in green tea extract and in capsule form. There are even
green tea patches which are claimed to provide the body with about 300mg
of polyphenols per dose - the equivalent of about 30 cups of tea!
The proclaimed benefits of drinking green tea are endless – whiter
teeth, cavity prevention, weight loss, clearer skin, lowering cholesterol,
reduced risk of heart disease and cancer, prevention of diabetes and stroke
– it is used as a stimulant, a diuretic, an astringent to control
bleeding and help heal wounds - the list goes on.
However, EGCG can also inhibit the effects of some cancer treating drugs,
so it is strongly advised to consult your doctor before beginning any