Editorial Opinion by Georgie Rhein
From the time I was a child, and my granny served me sassafras tea for a tummy ache and fresh aloe for a skin rash, I have been reminded how natural medicine can be an adjunct to allopathic medicine. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has relied on roots, leaves, flowers, and seeds for over 2500 years to provide relief and cures for a number of ailments.
With the Covid-19 virus outbreak in China, TCM was used along with allopathic medicine to treat patients. Three traditional Chinese herb combinations were created, and the efficacy tested on patient groups by the Chinese government. The mixture, QPD, using Green Tea blended with sixteen herbs was effective at reducing fever and the “achy” feelings associated with the virus. Though the combination did not prevent COVID-19, the testing did indicate that tea can assuage aches and pains, soothing the patient. The QPD group did leave the hospital 2.2 days sooner than the other test groups
As a believer in Eastern Medicine, I have used herbs, tisanes, and tea for palliative care in headaches, cramps or sore muscles. I have found the John Hopkins Medicine guidance and suggestions on Medicine to be helpful.
I had to ask the question: Is there a benefit to tea during this pandemic?
Many university studies have demonstrated health benefits from black and green teas due to the tea plants’ chemical composition. Two popular findings are used in health teas today:
- Antioxidants are compounds that inhibit oxidation and terminate its chain reactions. They protect cells from free radicals and help reduce inflammation. They boost your immune system.
- Plants have a naturally occurring antioxidant called Flavonoids. This compound protects them from disease and recover from injury. Plant flavonoids are found in spices, fruits, vegetables…and tea.
I began my research by looking for a reliable source: Dr. Howard Sesso, Associate Medical Professor, Yale University, specializes in flavonoids, researching how they may affect our health.
Tea is loaded with flavonoid antioxidants, including four molecules called catechins that are natural antioxidants and help prevent cell damage. In fact, green tea is about 30% flavonoids by weight. Catechins comprise 80-90% of the flavonoids in green tea.
These substances reduce the formation of free radicals in humans, protecting molecules, cells and body tissue from damage. Research published over the past decade, shows that flavonoid antioxidants may also suppress viruses.
Green Tea is considered a healthy source for a catechin molecule identified as EGCG. It is a potential therapeutic agent for preventing neurodegenerative, inflammatory diseases. This is attributed to its antioxidant, free radical scavenging and anti-inflammatory properties.
Georgie’s Conclusion: Your daily cuppa tea is not going to cure Covid-19. But for me, it has just as important a palliative effect on the stress that comes with the day-to-day dealings we are facing as we cope with all the ramifications of a pandemic.
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