More Strange Research on Tea

We kick off this latest exploration of the strange research that’s been done on tea with a study that’s not necessarily all that strange but is quite interesting nonetheless. We might tend to think (well, I did) that studies on compounds in tea like catechins, EGCG and the like are a recent development. But in the case of the former there are at least a few research studies going back more than sixty years. One of the oldest I discovered was The Catechins of Green Tea, which appeared in the Journal of the Chemical Society all the way back in 1947.

B. Typhosus Study (screen capture from site)
B. Typhosus Study (screen capture from site)

In more recent developments, researchers at Northwestern University have been looking into the possibility of using plant-derived polyphenols as antibacterial coatings. As a recent article noted, the applications might include “antibacterial coatings for medical instruments and implants, food packaging and processing, and water purification membranes.” Among the foodstuffs used to make these coatings, red wine, cacao and green tea.

Going back more than a century, to 1912, we come across a report that has to rank right up there with the strangest of them all. It’s called Notes of a Case of Deafness Caused by Excessive Tea-drinking and it appeared in the Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine. Apparently the victim, a 40-year-old woman, had complained of increasing deafness for about 18 months. She claimed to drink strong tea eight to ten times a day but when she stopped her hearing improved. However, the charms of tea were apparently too strong and the patient began drinking it again, only to find her hearing problems returning.

From a few years earlier and one a somewhat grimmer note, is a study called The Survival of B. Typhosus in Milk when Used in Ordinary Breakfast-Table Coffee and Tea. While we don’t encounter typhoid nearly as much in the developed world as we once did, it was still a major concern at the time. As the title of the study suggests, it was undertaken to determine whether the organisms that cause typhoid, when found in milk, could be killed by exposing them to hot tea or coffee. As the author noted, exposing these organisms to hot liquids alone was sufficient to destroy them. But when they were found in milk that was added to a hot beverage this was not necessarily the case. For more details, access the full study here.

See more of William I. Lengeman’s articles here.

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One thought on “More Strange Research on Tea

  1. Pingback: Even More Strange Research About Tea | Tea Blog

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