There’s increasing evidence that green tea offers health benefits, reports the September issue of Mayo Clinic Women’s HealthSource. Recent studies have reported that polyphenols, compounds found in green tea, may offer protection against certain cancers and may aid in the destruction of cancer cells.
Now, Mayo Clinic researchers have found that another component in green tea helps kill the most common form of leukemia in the United States. The component, known as epigallocatechin-3-gallate, kills leukemia cells by interrupting some of the communication signals they need to survive. Researchers studied cells taken from patients who have B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia, a noncurable form of the disease.
The study’s findings are a step toward more effective or easily tolerated therapies to prevent the disease from progressing. And, while it’s too early to recommend green tea to prevent or treat leukemia, drinking it is unlikely to cause health problems.
In fact, green tea has been linked to a host of other health benefits, including reducing cholesterol levels, protecting teeth from cavities, increasing the rate at which the body burns fat and inhibiting the growth of breast cancer cells in pre- and post-menopausal women.
Mayo Clinic, Sep 8, 2004