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The Power of Green Tea

November 18, 2006 | 21,130 views

Epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG, is a component of green tea that can block the ability of the AIDS virus to hijack and destroy immune-system cells.

EGCG, the compound that gives green tea its color, is a flavonoid that also has anti-cancer, anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties. EGCG-based cancer drugs already are in clinical trials.

Researchers have known that EGCG inhibits the progression of HIV for at least a decade, but the precise mechanism was unknown. New experiments have recently demonstrated that EGCG binds itself to the exact spot HIV needs to infect a healthy T-cell, a kind of white blood cell crucial to fighting infections.

Normally, a surface protein on HIV called GP120 locks into a special "pocket" on the surface of susceptible host cells called CD4 T-cells. HIV then releases its genetic material into the healthy cell, and the infected cell begins producing more viruses. ECGC locks into the pocket first, preventing HIV from entering.

The amount of EGCG needed to block the progression of HIV is equivalent to that received from drinking two cups of green tea. However, the researchers did not recommend drinking green tea to slow down AIDS, positing that the chemical would need to be part of a cocktail of drugs.

 

 

 

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

 

The wonderful polyphenols found in green tea -- specifically epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) -- could become a powerful weapon in the fight against the AIDS virus. Amazing how a substance like green tea can have such diverse beneficial effects like helping cancer and Alzheimer"s.

The trick about green tea is to ensure the brand you use doesn"t contain high amounts of fluoride. Fluoride is a toxic substance that can have profoundly negative effects on your body. In fact, studies have shown, and experts have come forth to testify, that the risk of consuming fluoride far outweighs any possible benefit.

Bearing that in mind, the healthy polyphenols in green tea may constitute up to 30 percent of the dry leaf weight. So, when you drink a cup of tea, you"re basically drinking a solution of tea polyphenols. In fresh, unfermented tea leaves, polyphenols exist as a series of chemicals called catechins, of which epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is the most powerful.

Widely acclaimed for disease prevention and anti-aging purposes, catechins have been studied for centuries for their potential ability to:

  • Neutralize the effects to your body of harmful fats and oils
  • Inhibit bacteria and viruses such as HIV, hepatitis, and herpes
  • Improve digestion
  • Protect against oxidation in your brain and liver
  • Help promote healthy gums

One study indicates that EGCG is estimated to be 25-100 times more potent than vitamins C and E. This study also cited that just one cup of green tea has antioxidant effects that are greater than a serving of broccoli, spinach, carrots, or strawberries.

With such extremely high antioxidant activity, it"s logical to conclude that green tea is highly beneficial for protecting your body from oxidative damage due to free radicals. Free radicals are highly reactive molecules and fragments of molecules that can damage the body at the cellular level leaving the body susceptible to cancer, heart disease, and many other degenerative diseases.

On a related note, the following video was pointed out to me by an alert reader of my blog. It is a documentary by Gary Null that contains compelling and provocative evidence of how dangerous AIDS medications like AZT and protease inhibitors do more harm than good, and have, like most drugs, been foisted on the public by a health care system interested more in drug company profits than actual healing. 

While I would caution that some of the controversial possibilities raised by the film are very much minority points of view (most scientists, for example, accept the that there is a well-established connection between HIV and AIDS), the film is a powerful testament to why natural methods are almost always better than unnatural drugs.

It would be sad indeed if the healing powers of EGCG are lost in the chemical cocktail suggested by the researchers in the above study.

 


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