Can Green Tea Shrink Tumors?

I tend to be cautiously skeptical when it comes to the many and varied health claims for tea. For my money tea is just fine as a beverage and, if it happens to benefit my health in any way, I’ll take that as a nice fringe benefit. As always, I caution the reader to approach the more lofty health claims for tea with a grain of salt or three. For a recent article on mixed messages about tea and one specific type of cancer, look here.

China Tea Sampler (Photo source: The English Tea Store)
China Tea Sampler (Photo source: The English Tea Store)

All of which might seem like an odd way to start an article that reports on one of the latest such health claims, but given the content of said claim I can imagine some less than completely scrupulous marketer trying to convince their customers that tea is nothing less than a cure for cancer. Obviously, that’s a bit farfetched, but the report in question does give some indication that (as a glance at our headline suggests) green tea might help shrink tumors.

If epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) rings a bell, then you’ve probably been reading articles about the potential health benefits of tea, and more specifically, green tea. I took a closer look at this seemingly miraculous substance that appears in abundance in green tea in a recent article that appeared here. Not surprisingly, EGCG has been identified as the beneficial ingredient in the recent study on tumors.

It’s a study that was conducted by a team of Scottish researchers at the University of Strathclyde. Results of the study were published recently in the journal Nanomedicine. The research team applied EGCG to tumors intravenously and found that within a period of one month nearly two-thirds of the tumors had shrunk or disappeared altogether. This is said to be the first time EGCG has been successful in shrinking tumors, a fact that researchers credit to the intravenous application method.

For more on possible links between tea and cancer treatment and prevention, here’s an article that appeared previously at this site and here’s one that appears at the American Cancer Society Web site.

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