From The Cancer Chronicles #10 and #22
© Autumn, 1991 and 1993 by Ralph W. Moss, Ph.D.

[Editor's note: There is still no unequivocal word on whether or not it is valuable to drink green tea either as a preventative or as part of a treatment protocol.]

Scientists have discovered a remarkable substance that prevents many kinds of cancer in experimental animals. It is non-toxic, easy to take and inexpensive. It is green tea, one of the most popular drinks in Asia. Tea has long been considered "that Excellent and by All Physicians approved China drink" (1658). Doctors began the present study when they found that Japanese smokers had less lung cancer than their American counterparts.

Mice given a chemical isolated from green tea develop far less cancer of the lung, skin and digestive tract, scientists reported at the Fourth Chemical Congress of North America, held in New York City in late August. In mice specially bred to develop liver cancer, tumors simply would not appear when they ingested this remarkable compound.

"Green tea cannot prevent every cancer," said Dr. Hirota Fujiki, of the National Cancer Center Research Institute, Tokyo. "But it's the cheapest and most practical method for cancer prevention available to the general public."

Fujiki and his colleagues focused on one chemical in the tea, EGCH, which appears to be a "free radical scavenger," neutralizing highly reactive atoms or molecules that could attack DNA and trigger cancer. A scientist at the American Health Foundation suggests EGCH may prevent the activation of carcinogens. Less was said about the health effects of the tea as a whole or of other compounds such as chlorophyll, which independently has anti-cancer effects.

Given orally in amounts equal to the intake of tea-drinking Japanese, EGCH had dramatic effects. Sixty-three percent of mice given a carcinogen got cancer of the gut, while in the green tea group, only 20 percent succumbed.

At Rutgers, scientists found that mice receiving the green tea chemical had up to 87 percent fewer skin tumors. "There aren't that many things that have as broad a spectrum," said a Rutgers scientist. But he refused to advise people to actually drink it, calling such a move "premature." He hinted that ten small teacups—drunk daily for centuries by billions of Asians—might even be harmful. "Any kind of chemical or material that is ingested in large amounts has potential risks," he claimed. Meanwhile, studies of green tea continue—on animals.

From The Cancer Chronicles #22
© July 1994 by Ralph W. Moss, Ph.D.

A study of green tea usage in China has confirmed earlier suggestions that imbibing this pleasant drink can help prevent cancers, including deadly cancer of the esophagus, the tube through which food passes on its way to the stomach. Esophageal cancer is a major cause of suffering and death in China. In the US, too, there will be an estimated 11,000 cases in 1994, with 10,400 deaths.

US National Cancer Institute scientists studied the records of 902 Shanghai patients as well as 1,552 healthy persons. They found that among nonsmokers and nondrinkers of alcohol, the risk of cancer of the esophagus was reduced by an extraordinary 57 percent for men and 60 percent for women. The research was reported in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (5/94). "This is the first study to show that association, that protective effect," said Joseph K. McLaughlin of NCI (New York Times, 6/1/94).

Eighty percent of all tea consumed is black tea. And, according to scientists at the American Health Foundation, black tea also has health benefits. The other 20 percent is green tea, the `unfermented' (unoxidized) kind, which is processed by being gently steamed, rolled and crushed. Common forms of green tea are gunpowder, jasmine, and bancha (or twig) tea. Dr. McLaughlin attributed the extraordinary results to polyphenols in the tea that protect against cancer by inhibiting enzymes that produce cancer-producing substances. Essentially, the doctor said, "the more green tea you drink, the lower the risk."

Two of the inciting causes of esophageal cancer are tobacco and alcohol. Interestingly, green tea was not able to appreciably reduce the incidence of this cancer among heavy smokers and drinkers, or protect people who regularly drank burning-hot fluids, like soup.Green tea is available in most health food stores or Asian markets. Significant cancer protection can be had for pennies a day. Many cancer patients are now drinking green tea, believing that what helps prevent cancer may have a beneficial effect in fighting the disease.

Ralph W. Moss, Ph.D. is director of the The Moss Reports for cancer patients. Dr. Moss is the author of eleven books and three documentaries on cancer-related topics. He is or has been an advisor on alternative cancer treatments to the National Institutes of Health, the National Cancer Institute, the American Urological Association, Columbia University, the University of Texas, the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the German Society of Oncology. He wrote the first article on alternative medicine for the Encyclopedia Britannica yearbook. He is listed in Marquis Who's Who in America, Who's Who in the World, Who's Who in the East, and Who's Who in Entertainment (as a film documentarian). This Web site does not advocate any particular treatment for cancer. We urge you to always seek competent medical advice for all health problems, especially cancer. Before consulting our site please read our full Disclaimer statement.

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