Far Eastern cultures have known the advantages of green tea for centuries and use the tea to help cure a wide range of ailments. So, it is not surprising that the revered beverage has become a popular remedy in many other areas of the world.
Among the most interesting claims is that drinking green tea can be beneficial in the war against cancer.
1994 study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute
showed that green tea lessened the risk of cancer of the esophagus in
Chinese subjects by close to 60 percent.
A study at Purdue University found that, because of its chemical makeup, green tea can also help reduce the growth of cancer cells.
Health Advantages of Green Tea—More Than Skin-Deep
There is also evidence that green tea can be beneficial for your skin. An article on Green Tea and Skin published in the Archives of Dermatology by Santosh K. Katiyar, Nihal Ahmad, and Hasan Mukhtar discussed how green tea could be an effective agent in fighting skin cancer.
In the data examined by the study's authors, the
polyphenolic compounds in green tea were tested and found to provide
protection against cancer in mouse skin.
In addition, some successful experiments were conducted on human skin in the lab. The analysis conducted by the author’s shows that green tea polyphenols have cancer-fighting properties.
As a result, it
appears that health advantages of green tea could be used successfully
in skin products to treat various skin disorders, which could help
immensely in the battle against skin cancer.
As Mukhtar stated, "Of all the antioxidants known to mankind, the components of green tea are the most potent." Still, the authors caution that additional study is needed to fully explore the cancer-combating capabilities of green tea.
Why Green Tea is a Disease-Fighter
So, why is green tea purported to help fighting skin cancer when other types of tea are not? While green, black, and oolong tea are all derived from the Camellia sinensis plant, green tea is processed in a way that helps to preserve its antioxidant nature.
Green tea leaves are steamed, preventing their cancer-fighting compounds from being oxidized. As a result, black and oolong teas are not nearly as effective in fighting disease.
Taking a Closer Look at Green Tea
It might be helpful at this point to take a closer look at green tea and its unique properties. Dr. Stephen Hsu, a scientist at the Medical College of Georgia, has done extensive research on green tea and its medicinal effects.
Hsu has found that the compounds in green tea known as polyphenols destroy free radicals, which have been known to give rise to cancer because of changes they make in DNA.
Essentially, the polyphenols kill cancer cells, while protecting healthy cells. Hsu and his research team compared the growth of normal skin cells to the growth of cells that had been exposed to green tea polyphenol.
The researchers were surprised to learn that the tea component rejuvenated dying skin cells. The reactivation was limited to the epidermis, or outer layer of the skin. Still, Hsu believes that the research will have a profound impact upon various skin conditions.
A Green-Tinged Fountain of Youth
In addition to combating cancer, health advantages of green tea could be effective in treating a variety of other skin conditions, including ulcers, psoriasis, rosascea, and hard-to-heal wounds.
As a result of such research, some have referred to green tea as being a veritable "fountain of youth" for the skin. While additional research is obviously necessary, the initial results are incredibly encouraging.
In fact, Hsu has been working on developing skin products in which green tea plays a significant role. In this way, Hsu has found a way to apply his lab work to the cosmetic counter.
It appears that green tea is particularly effective in protecting the skin from sun damage—a major contributing factor to skin cancer.
The Future of Green Tea
Given the public's interest in alternative medicine, it would appear that green tea will be increasingly used as an agent for enhancing health. In fact, each year people turn to green tea for its therapeutic benefits.
Research on green tea’s beneficial effects on the skin appears to be particularly promising. Not only might it lead to younger-looking skin—it may also help to keep skin cancer at bay—which would be welcome news to the fair-skinned and anyone who has a history of skin cancer in their family.
Source: Jon M. Stout, Chairman of the Golden Moon Tea Company. For more information, visit www.goldenmoontea.com.