Go green

| Post published on June 1, 2006
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Green tea has a reputation for being a healthy alternative to ‘normal’ tea. It has been touted as possessing health promoting properties that may even protect against cancer. This may be due to the presence of cancer-fighting compounds called antioxidants. Until now there was very little evidence to support this idea but a new study from the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota suggests that green tea may help treat a type of leukaemia called chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL). Four CLL patients at the Mayo Clinic decided to drink green tea or take green tea extracts in response to hearing reports that it may contain a compound that kills CCL cancer cells. Of these four, three showed clear improvement in their condition within months. These patients had exhibited a steady progression of the disease before they started taking green tea products and showed signs of improvement shortly afterwards. Although spontaneous remission or regression is occasionally observed in individuals with CLL, such events are rare. These preliminary results have prompted researchers at the May Clinic to begin clinical trials. In 2000, there were 6,800 new cases of leukaemia in the UK. CLL has no known cure and affects each individual differently; some patients may live for decades without treatment, while others may need immediate chemotherapy and some die within months despite therapy.

Shanafelt TD, Lee YK, Call TG, Nowakowski GS, Dingli D, Zent CS and Kay NE. 2006. Clinical effects of oral green tea extracts in four patients with low grade B-cell malignancies. Leukaemia Research. 30 (6) 707-712.

About the author
Dr. Justine Butler
I joined Viva! as a health campaigner in 2005 after graduating from Bristol University with a PhD in molecular biology. My scientific training helped me research and write numerous reports, guides and fact sheets for Viva! including Meat the Truth, Fish-Free for Life, One in Nine (breast cancer and diet) and the substantial report on the detrimental health effects of consuming dairy; White Lies. This accompanied Viva!’s report The Dark Side of Dairy which spelt out the inherent cruelty of dairy farming. We were the first UK group to take on the dairy industry in this way, and many of our supporters go vegan after reading these reports.

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