Tea Mail – March 2004
The Big Health News in February
An interesting study on the effects of green tea on prostate cancer undertaken in Australia showed remarkable results. Professor Colin Binns, of Curtin University in Perth, Western Australia, studied long-time green tea drinkers in China. The study revealed that those who’d been imbibing for 20 years were two thirds less likely to develop prostate cancer than non-drinkers.
There were no other major breakthroughs this month, but several news stories reiterated the many benefits of tea drinking for various cancers, stroke, heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis, plus more potential uses in the future aiding weight loss and controlling HIV.
Black tea may lower heart disease risks
Antioxidants called flavonoids, found in both green and black teas, are thought to be potent weapons in the fight against heart disease. “Tea, the most widely consumed beverage in the world, is a rich source of (these) antioxidants,” explain researchers led by Dr. Iman A. Hakim of the University of Arizona in Tucson. They published their findings in the January issue of the journal Preventive Medicine.
Numerous studies have trumpeted the cardiovascular benefits of green tea, which is the beverage of choice in much of the Far East. But elsewhere in the world black tea reigns supreme, and fewer studies have examined its heart-healthy properties.
The researchers interviewed 3,430 Saudis ranging in age from 30 to 70. Study participants were quizzed on their dietary habits, history of smoking, coffee drinking, exercise and other factors. Just over 6% were diagnosed with coronary heart disease. Tea-drinking is a very social event in Saudi Arabia, and about 90% of those interviewed drank the beverage daily. Comparing heavy drinkers to non-drinkers, the researchers found that those who consumed more than 6 cups of tea per day (about 20% of those interviewed) had a 50% lower risk of heart disease than those who did not drink tea. In general, individuals with heart disease tended to drink less tea than healthier individuals–3.5 cups/day versus 4.5 cups/days, respectively.
How might tea drinking boost heart health? Studies have suggested that flavonoids in tea may lower blood pressure and reduce stroke risk by about 12% for those drinking 3 cups of tea per day. Flavonoids may also lower clotting risks and “hardening of the arteries,” and reduce levels of LDL or “bad” cholesterol, the researchers suggest.
Whatever the reason, tea for two–or more–may be just the ticket for healthy tickers, the researchers conclude. “These findings support a potential protective effect of tea consumption in relation to coronary heart disease,” they say.
Tea’s Health Benefits
What can tea do for you?
Heart Disease – Several studies have found tea to be heart healthy. Tea is a rich source of dietary flavonoids, which have been shown to have a protective effect against heart disease. A Dutch study published in an April 2002 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that tea drinkers had a substantially lower risk of heart attacks than nondrinkers.
Heavy tea drinking could also reduce the risk of dying after a heart attack, according to a study published in a May 2002 issue of the journal Circulation. “The greatest benefits of tea consumption have been found among patients who already have cardiovascular disease,” said Dr. Kenneth Mukamal, the study’s lead author.
Another study found that the average cup of tea brewed for two minutes contains about 172 milligrams of flavonoids. Drinking one cup could be expected to cause an immediate positive effect and about 3.5 cups could possibly produce a continuing effect.
Cancer – Could tea really act as a cancer-prevention measure? Tea drinkers in a study conducted in Shanghai, China, were about half as likely to develop cancer of the stomach or esophagus as non-tea drinkers. The results of the study were presented to an April 2002 meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research. The researchers found that people in which certain chemicals, called polyphenols, were present had a lower risk of gastric and esophageal cancer.
Green tea contains the most helpful polyphenols, followed by oolong and black teas. Read more about the study. An Oregon scientist found that white tea, too, may help prevent cancer. “He found that the white tea he gave to mice, it prevented formation of cancerous polyps. The other interesting thing about white tea is that it has the highest amount of antioxidants of any tea beverage in the world,” said tea expert Kyle Stewart.
Dental Health – Surveys have found that people who drink tea may have fewer cavities than those who don’t. This is attributed to the high levels of fluoride in tea plants. Also, components of tea such as catechins, caffeine and tocopherol have been shown to be effective in increasing the acid resistance of tooth enamel. And flavonoids — mainly catechins — have been shown to inhibit bacterial growth on teeth.
Stroke – The flavonoids in tea may also protect against stroke. A 1996 study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that men aged 50-69 who drank 4-5 cups of tea a day had a 69 percent reduced risk of stroke.
Rheumatoid Arthritis – According to a study published in the January 2002 issue of the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism, women who drank three or more cups of tea each day were less likely to develop arthritis than those who didn’t drink tea. The study didn’t indicate what kind of tea.
Weight Loss – Green tea may be able to help dieters. In November 1999, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published the results of a study at the University of Geneva in Switzerland, in which researchers found that men who were given a combination of caffeine and green tea extract burned more calories than those given only caffeine or a placebo.
For a Health Boost from Tea, Experts And Studies Say Drink Up
“People should drink tea all day long. It’s now 2:10 p.m. and I’m on my fourth mug,” Weisburger said. Black tea is Weisburger’s usual choice, but he said both green and black tea have been shown to discourage the formation of cell mutations that can lead to certain cancers.
There is no single, widespread recommendation on amounts of tea to drink for possible health advantage. In assorted studies, various amounts have appeared to have an effect. For example, in one study, cholesterol levels improved in people who drank five cups of black tea a day for three weeks. In another study, heart disease was significantly lower in people who drank three cups a day than in those who drank none.
Studies continue and there is not yet a final word on tea regarding its potential health benefits or how much of it to drink. But research, joined by tea’s status as the most widely consumed beverage in the world after water, indicates it is safe to drink in substantial quantities.
Tea may offer treatment to fight HIV
Scientists at the University of Tokyo, led by Kuzushige Kawai, found a compound called epigallocatechin gallate or EGCG, the element believed to contain most of the health benefits found in green tea, rapidly attaches to the doorways that the AIDS virus uses to invade cells. HIV prefers to infect cells called CD4 T-cells, and uses a molecular doorway called the CD4 receptor to do so. By bonding with the CD4 molecule first, EGCG effectively prevents the HIV virus from attaching — at least in lab dishes.
“This potentially opens up an avenue for preventing HIV infections,” said Dr. William Shearer, a professor at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, who wrote an editorial that accompanied the study. “Is there something here that mother nature is trying to tell us?”
Earlier studies have showed that people who drink a lot of tea have lower rates of cancer, heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis. In September, the U.S. Department of Agriculture found people who drank black tea saw their cholesterol drop between 7 and 11 percent.
The popularity of tea has soared during the last decade. According to the Tea Association of the United States, total sales of tea in 2002 were $5.03 billion, up from $1.84 billion in 1990.
Drink tea to cure what ails you
â€¢ Green and black teas: New research from the University of Southern California has found that women who drank about a half cup of green tea daily cut their breast cancer risk by as much as 50 percent. These teas may be the key to Asia’s lower rates of heart disease and cancer.
â€¢ White tea: Though research is still in the preliminary stages, in one Oregon State University study, cancer-prone mice that ingested white tea developed 23 percent fewer tumors than those given green tea.
Tea drinking prevents prostate cancer
On the subject of green versus black tea, Prof Binns says that all tea contains the same anti-cancer agents. Perhaps green tea is more concentrated. This study into the prostate follows another on ovarian cancer which also found that tea can help prevent the disease.
* Zhang, M, Binns, CW, Lee, A Tea Consumption and Ovarian Cancer Risk: A Case control Study in China. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev (2002) 11:713-718.
First Seven Cups Tea House to open soon!
February was a hectic month here at Seven Cups, and March will be even busier! We have the keys to our new premises, and whilst there’s a lot of work to be done, we will be opening our first Seven Cups Tea House soon in our home town of Tucson, Arizona. Everything about it will be authentically Chinese, from the best tea available anywhere in the world, prepared by genuine experts and tea-lovers, to the exquisite Chinese furniture, fixtures and fittings that we’ve just taken delivery of. Richard and Austin had great fun (didn’t we, Austin?!) unloading an entire container full of solid wood, hand carved furniture without the aid of a forklift – not everyone can claim to have balanced a valuable, authentic Chinese tea table on their head!
We’ll bring you news of our imminent opening here in the newsletter, and for those in southeast Arizona interested in visiting the tea house, it’s just a few minutes from downtown and the University district, opposite the Rincon Market on East 6th Street, just east of the intersection with North Tucson Boulevard. We look forward to seeing you there!
Legendary Lapsang Souchong black tea finally arrives at Seven Cups!
This deal has been months in the making, and now we’re delighted to announce that Seven Cups has added three new varieties of black tea to our range. We frequently add new teas to our range, but this is something special… we are proud to offer not just a Lapsang Souchong tea, but THE Lapsang Souchong tea, from THE farm of Lapsang! We are the ONLY company to have exclusive rights to this famous smoky tea, renowned as being the favorite tea of the Queen of England, as well as two more equally classic black teas from Lapsang, probably the best-known tea farm in the world. They are both traditional ‘Chinese-style’ black teas (which are actually more popular in China than the smoky Souchong) – Lapsang Longan (which is very lightly smoked), and the wonderful Imperial Lapsang black tea. All three varieties will be available for you to buy (at last!) in the first two weeks of March. Thanks to all those tea fans who’ve waited so patiently for this landmark arrival: your rewards are coming very soon…
It was really exciting being present when Austin and Zhu Ping finally took delivery of these legendary teas. We were able to smell the smoky Lapsang Souchong before we opened the first box, and the excitement only grew as we took handfuls of tea, fresh from the actual farm I’d read about as a child in England, examined and admired it, and then, at last, got to taste it. I swear a kettle has never taken so long to boil! The fun didn’t stop there though – we moved onto to more boxes and the smoky aroma was replaced by the fragrant scent of our new jasmine teas…
A further eight new varieties of green, white and oolong join the range!
As well as the exciting news on the black tea front, we have eight more equally exciting green, oolong and white teas that will be available during the first two weeks of March. There are four beautiful whites: the popular Traditional (Chinese-style) White Peony; a superb Special White Peony; the white tea classic, Silver Needle; and Da Bai Huao ‘White Hair’, a top quality jasmine white tea. Our new green tea is also a fragrant, tasty jasmine – Yin Huao ‘Silver Hair’ – and we have three great new oolongs: Qi Zhong, a very popular tea in China and full of character; a first grade Imperial Qi Zhong; and a very exciting addition in the form of our first legendary WuYu Mountain tea – Narcissus Oolong.
Full shopping cart system on the way
We promised that our new shopping cart system would be online in February… make that March! Apologies for the delay (due to the usual excuse of unforeseen technical difficulties). Our new shopfront will give you the chance to buy Seven Cups teas using our secure online credit card facilities, as well as by several other methods (including PayPal for those who currently buy our teas that way).
Join the on-line tea society – Tea Talk!
If you just can’t wait to discuss your favorite green tea, then why not join the Seven Cups community at the Tea Talk message forum. Any tea subject is open for discussion, be it a question, an opinion, new information, a story, or whatever you’d like to discuss. Take a look and see what’s being talked about… The Seven Cups team often contributes to the debate and answers questions. Each page on our website has a handy link to the Tea Talk forum towards the top of the green margin on the left.