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The need for alternative diagnostic methods is on the rise, especially on the use of plant extracts and phytochemicals rather seeking medical care from doctors and physicians. Researchers are working on developing preventive and curative drugs that have the least added chemicals. Research records assert that tea consumption is one of the mechanisms of reducing the onset of chronic diseases; however, the clinical implications are not clear. In Australia, for example, more than 50% of the total population use non-medically prescribed alternative medicine (Carson and Riley 144). However, the arising biasness between the health care medical providers and the alternative medication experts raise a series of concern. Tea extraction is from the green leaves of a plant called Camellia sinensis.
Consuming tea helps in preventing chronic diseases
The key function of tea is to provide stimulation to the body. However, extracts from tea accomplish many other biological functions other than the stimulation. Tea comprises of polyphenols, alkaloids, amino acids, carbohydrates, proteins, chlorophyll, volatile organic compounds, fluoride, aluminium, minerals, and trace elements. In vitro and animal experiments indicate that polyphenols extracts from tea affect the parthogenesis of several chronic diseases (Beliveau and Gingras 1021). Tea catechins act as antitumerigenic agents and immune modulators in immunodysfunction of transplanted tissues or introduction of carcinogens.
Tea controls the emergence and re-emergence of leukaemia. A research on green pigment in tea, epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) shows its ability to control the spread of the chronic lympocytic leukaemia B cells isolated from patients suffering from leukaemia. Beliveau and Gingras (1022) records that tea produces angiogenic cytokine that prevents the apoptosis due to secretion of vascular endothelial growth factor, reducing chances of contraction of the heart disease.
Tea is an essential component in the control of the degeneration diseases of the heart. A specific concentration of catechins, which is the pigment that contains medicinal properties in tea, if injected into the human plasma show protective effect against the degeneration of the tumour cells of the body. Consequently, consuming tea or applying tea on an individual’s body reduces sunburn from the ultraviolet radiation.
Green tea prevent the development of tumor cells by activating the detoxification of the glutathione S-transferase and quinone reductase responsible for the protection of the tumor cells that cause chronic diseases. The principal polyphenols in green tea, EGCG, EGC, ECG, and EC and the theaflavins and thearubigins in black teas contain antioxidant that prevent cells from DNA damage due to the reaction of oxygen with cells (Beliveau and Gingras 1022).
In addition, tea limits the proliferation of the tumor cells. The consumption of tea reduces the damage of the cells due to the ultraviolet rays from the sun. This prevention technique reduces the chances of development of tissue cancer, as well as that of organs such as spleen, pancreas, and liver. Even though most scientists believe that tea reduces the chances of contracting such cancer, there is still no established mechanism on how the polyphenols prevent cancer, however, several evidences from human studies show link to cancer prevention.
Epidemiologic studies indicate a relationship between tea consumption and the reduction of cancer of the colon, breast, ovary, prostrate and lung cancer. A study of the treatment of 60 Japanese, divided into two groups, with green tea after a year indicates that those that were treated with tea showed low level of the above cancers while those not treated developed the cancer (Carson and Riley 145). However, there is inconsistency in the results since most researchers are unable to determine the dosage of the tea used. Other limitations of the study are genetic variation whereby some people develop allergy to tea drinks, and, therefore, show contradicting results.
Clinical trials investigate the role of tea and tea polyphenols in the control of cardiovascular diseases such as blood flow and pressure as well as the regulation of cancer of the heart. Recently, a trial on the effectiveness of tea and their polyphenols using people with leukoplakia for oral and heart cancer lesions indicates that the polyphenols have a depressive factor that reduced the size of the lesions after a period of six months. The group that did not receive oral polyphenols showed an increase in the size of the lesions. This indicated that green tea has a protective effect to the development of oral cancer.
Research statistics show that tea supplements of caffeine reduce the occurrence of precancerous lesions of the esophagus. The worsening of the condition leads to the development of cancer of the throat. Besides, tea polyphenols reduces the gastric content in the stomach. Polyphenols reduce the amount of serum pepsinogen in the stomach reducing the chances of eruption of stomach cancer. A high level of serum pepsinogen is associated with gastric atrophy, which is an indication of stomach cancer. In addition, green tea catechins or green extracts reduce the risk of prostate cancer. The catechins inhibit the development of tumour cells in the prostate, thus minimizing the possible occurrence of cancer. Conversely, research indicates that men who consume seven or more cups of tea are likely to develop prostate cancer.
Regardless of the importance of tea consumption in the control of chronic diseases, excessive consumption of tea has adverse effects on the health of users. For instance, fluoride in the tea causes tooth decay and damaging of the bones. The oxidation of the carbohydrates initiates tooth decay. Excess consumption of aluminium lowers blood clotting and the formation of haemoglobin that transports oxygen to the tissue.
Beliveau, Richard, and Denis Gingras. “Green tea: prevention and treatment of cancer by nutraceuticals.” Lancet 364.9439 (2004):1021-22. Print.
Carson, Christine, and Thomas Riley. “Non-antibiotic therapies for infectious diseases.” Antimicrobial resistance in Australia 3.27 (2003): 144-147. Print.