Did this headline grab your attention? It’s no wonder as this deadly virus has been top of mind for all of us.
To be sure, vaccination against COVID-19, including boosters, remains the best way to arm yourself and others from severe illness, according to the CDC.
With that said, scientists are examining green tea for its potential benefits for managing viruses, such as COVID-19.
Let’s take a closer look at green tea and why it has piqued researchers' attention.
Later in the article, we’ll discuss green tea extract supplementation, and why it’s good to go green…now more than ever!
The Link Between Green Tea and COVID-19
First, a little background on green tea (Camellia sinensis), which originates from Southeast Asia.
Green tea has been dubbed one of the most popular health beverages in the world, and for good reason.
We’ve covered its many benefits for healthy weight management, brain support, and natural energy, in past blog posts.
Today we’re honing in on its antioxidant, antiviral, and immune-boosting properties that scientists are examining regarding the treatment and management of SARS-CoV-2 (aka COVID-19) virus.
Green Tea Goodness
OK, buckle up for a science-y explanation! Green tea is bursting with polyphenols, specifically epigallocatechin-3-gallate, AKA EGCG.
Now, EGCG has antiviral effects for combatting ssRNA viruses like influenza. Wanna know what else is a ssRNA virus? You guessed it: SARS-COV-2.
That’s why scientists are putting this ancient tea leaf through its paces in modern labs.
Preliminary test-tube research reveals that green tea extract may inhibit and reduce the volume of the virus.
Remember, this wasn’t a human test, but the test tube cells treated with EGCG worked best during the early stages of the infection.
And it bears repeating, green tea alone can’t prevent or cure COVID-19. Plus, the green tea extracts used in these studies are much higher than in a normal cup or two of tea.
Scientists aren’t done with this avenue of study. Not by a long shot.
Another study went beyond the test tube and examined the link between green tea and SARS-CoV-2 incidence in the tea-loving Japanese population.
Individuals who consumed more than four cups of green tea daily had lower odds of contracting the infection. This dovetails with previous data showing EGCG can inhibit SARS-CoV-2 infection and transmission.
Again, green tea in any form is no substitute for COVID-19 vaccinations. However, it may ease certain inflammatory symptoms, such as fatigue and achy joints.
Immune Boosting Benefits
Simply put, without a robust immune system, it’s harder for our bodies to fight back after catching any type of bug.
But, due to the flavonoids and polyphenols in green tea, clinical studies show that your immune system may gain the upper hand with daily consumption.
What’s more, the EGCG in green tea may support the body’s inflammatory response, which comes in handy for cold and flu symptoms, as well as joint health.
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Nakayama, Mikio, et al. "Inhibition of the infectivity of influenza virus by tea polyphenols." Antiviral research 21.4 (1993): 289-299.