Green Tea & Cancer

Tea and the drinking of tea have been around for five thousand years. Many health benefits have been attributed to the drinking of tea.

Tang Dynasty

Tang Dynasty

According to Chinese legend, the Emperor Chinnung discovered the virtues of tea, 2737 B.C., to whom all agricultural and medicinal knowledge is traced. It is quite certain from the historical narrative of Lo Yu, who lived in the Tang dynasty (618-906 A.D.), that tea was already used as a beverage in the 6th century, and that during the 8th century its use had become so common that a tax was levied on its consumption in the 14th year of Tih Tsung (793). From China knowledge of tea was carried into Japan, and there cultivation was established in the 9th century. [1]

In the 1400’s it was known that long sea travels caused sailors to get scurvy. Scurvy is a vitamin C deficiency that causes swollen and bleeding gums, if allowed to continue, scurvy will result in death. Chinese seafarers did not experience scurvy because they used Green tea.

The earliest mention of tea by an Englishman is in a letter dated 27 June 1615. [1]

Obviously the original colonists of American came from England and brought the daily teatime habit with them.

After WWII Chinese immigrants opened restaurants and served Chinese black and green teas to their American public.

In present time the most popular drink is water and second to that is tea.

Medicinal Properties of Tea

There has been quite a bit of interest in finding agents capable of preventing or suppressing cancer growth. One study found the coincidence between the consumption of green tea and cancer growth. The_menthe

It is known that the Japanese smoke heavily, yet, their rate of cancer is only one third the rate of cancer that is in the United States. Eventually researchers realized one important difference was in the amount of green tea consumed by the Japanese. It has been found that tea contains polyphenols, [2] [Polyphenols act as antioxidants, and they can block the enzymes that cancer needs for growth, and they can deactivate substances that promote the growth of cancers. [3]

Research indicates that these polyphenols have been found to have the following characteristics:

❧ Suppresses the invasiveness of cancer cells. [4]

❧ Nevertheless, eight studies showed a significant protective role of green tea against various liver diseases as determined by relative risk/odds ratio or P-value and among them, four studies showed a positive correlation between green tea intake and attenuation of liver disease. Moreover, the other two studies also presented the protective tendency of green tea against liver disease. Conclusions: An increased consumption of green tea may reduce the risk of liver disease. [5]

❧ The results of several investigations indicate that green tea consumption may be of modest benefit in reducing the plasma concentration of cholesterol and preventing atherosclerosis. Additionally, the cancer-preventive effects of green tea are widely supported by results from epidemiological, cell culture, animal and clinical studies. [6]

❧ In a case-control study of 107 adults with leukaemia and 110 orthopedic controls in China, a reduced risk was found with longer duration, higher quantity, and frequency of green tea intake. [7]

❧ Non-melanoma skin cancer is the most common malignancy in humans and is equivalent to the incidence of malignancies in all other organs combined in the United States. Current methods of prevention depend on sunscreens in humans, efficacy of which is largely undetermined for non-melanoma skin cancers. Green tea polyphenols have the greatest effect with respect to chemoprevention and have been found to be most potent at suppressing the carcinogenic activity of UV radiation. [8]

❧ We conclude that regular consumption of green tea can protect against breast cancer. [9]

“Green tea, with glowing reports of chemoprevention and treatment activity, and few toxic side effects, is as close to a perfect phytonutrient as we’ve seen. Virtually all those who offer comprehensive care now recommend the inclusion of green tea as part of an anti-cancer strategy and as a chemo-preventive agent. “ Dr. James S. Gordon, MD.

A phytonutrient is a substance derived from plants that have various health promoting properties.

Chemoprevention is the use of natural or synthetic substances to reduce the risk of developing cancer, or to reduce the chance that cancer will recur (come back). [10]



Obviously, there is enough compelling scientific evidence, which backs up the benefits of regularly drinking green tea. It appears that the minimal amount to drink is one to three cups a day. [11] My daughter and I, now consume green tea on a regular basis. Since my daughter is only 7-years-old, her tea is decaffeinated and she only consumes one cup per day. Myself on the other hand can consume much more.

Anyone under medical supervision should check with his or her doctor before consuming green tea. There are literally hundreds of different types of cancer and an equally high number of chemotherapy drugs. Checking with your doctor ensures the safety of consuming green tea while on chemotherapy and other medications. Better safe than sorry. I am not a medical doctor and any of the information on this page is for educational purposes only. Please print out this article for doctor consultation.


References :

  1. Encyclopedia Britannica Thirteenth Edition 1926
  2. Comprehensive Cancer Care by James S. Gordon, MD and Sharon Curtin Copyright 2000.
  3. com definition from the 24th of April 2008.
  4. 1: Mini Rev Med Chem. 2008 Jun;8(7): 677-88. Suppression of cancer invasiveness by dietary compounds.
  5. 1: Liver Int. 2008 May 14. [Epub ahead of print] Green tea consumption and liver disease: a systematic review. Jin X, Zheng RH, Li YM.
  6. PMID: 18482271 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher] Tea polyphenols, their biological effects and potential molecular targets. Chen D, Milacic V, Chen MS, Wan SB, Lam WH, Huo C, Landis-Piwowar KR, Cui QC, Wali A, Chan TH, Dou QP.
  7. 1: Br J Cancer. 2008 Jan 15;98(1):168-70. Epub 2007 Dec 18. Possible protective effect of green tea intake on risk of adult leukaemia. Zhang M, Zhao X, Zhang X, Holman CD. The School of Population Health, The University of Western Australia, Perth, WA, Australia.
  8. PMID: 17342237 [PubMed – in process] 1: Photodermatol Photoimmunol Photomed. 2007 Feb;23(1):48-56. Photoprotective effects of green tea polyphenols. Yusuf N, Irby C, Katiyar SK, Elmets CA. Department of Dermatology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35294, USA.
  1. Green tea and the prevention of breast cancer: a case-control study in Southeast China. Zhang M, Holman CD, Huang JP, Xie X. The School of Population Health, The University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley, Perth, WA 6009, Australia.
  2. National Cancer Institute as of August 24th 2008.
  3. Food and Nutrition Research Institute Green Tea For Good Health WP – Jan-Dec 2006 Written by Dr. Imelda Angeles-Agdeppa, DOSt Scientist Quoted on 24 August 2008.






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