January 31, 2009

Green Tea and Bacteria/Viruses

Bacteria and viruses are invisible to the naked eye, but they’re virtually everywhere. And while many of these one-celled organisms are harmless, others can cause raging infections that can kill a person in a matter of days. Both bacteria and viruses can be transmitted in many ways – through unwashed hands, spoiled food, contaminated surfaces, the exchange of bodily fluids or a cough or a sneeze, just to name a few.
The immune system is supposed to destroy these pathogens or at least keep them under control. But sometimes it’s simply too overworked to do so, or can’t finish the job even when operating at full steam. Fortunately, green tea may be able to help.
Green tea has its very own antibacterial and antiviral capabilities, most likely put there to defend the plant against invading insects, bacteria, fungi and viruses. And these defenses can be powerful! Studies have shown that tea catechins can fight or even destroy the bacteria that cause cholera, pneumonia, abscesses, botulism, dysentery and food poisoning, as well as those that cause cavities and bad breath. As for viruses, the catechins can inhibit the action of the flu virus, herpes simplex, polio, HIV and others.
The great part about all of this is that you may be able to “borrow” some of the incredible disease-fighting prowess of the tea leaf just by drinking "green tea". And it doesn’t take a gallon of tea to do this. One study found that the amount of catechins in just one cup of tea was 2-3 times greater than that needed to kill the bacteria that cause cholera..1 Just imagine what it may be able to do to less powerful bacteria!

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