Scientists are finally starting to show that the centuries-old reputation of green tea as a cancer-fighter is true. A small Mayo Clinic study has found that daily doses of the stuff helps patients chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), the most common form of the disease.
As there is no known cure, doctors have traditionally not intervened in the early stages of the CLL, instead waiting to see how it develops before moving on to traditional forms of cancer treatment such as chemotherapy.
But the Mayo researchers decided to try green tea after a test tube study in 2004 showed it killed leukemia cells.
Four CLL patients being treated at the clinic took green tea extract tablets containing epigallocatechin gallate, an antioxidant thought to fight cancer cells.
Within a few months, doctors found that three out of four patients showed signs of the cancer regressing. The fourth patient also showed slight improvement.
"Green tea has long been thought to have cancer-prevention capabilities, commented researcher Tait Shanafelt.
"It is exciting that research is now demonstrating this agent may provide new hope for CLL patients.
"The experience of these individuals provides some suggestion that our previously published laboratory findings may actually translate into clinical effects for patients with this disease."
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