Tea as preventive/protective against human diseases

  • Yukihiko Hara Food Research Leboratories, Mitsui Norin Tea Company, 1-26, Kanda-Sakumacho Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo Japan


Tea polyphenols constitute the majority of soluble solids in tea. In green tea, tea catechins which represent most of polyphenolic constituents remain in the dried leaves as they were in fresh tea shoots. Catechin fractions of various catechin content were extracted from green tea and four different individual catechins were purified. Over the last 20 years we have been investigating the various physiological actions of these catechins. Tea catechins have very potent antioxidative (radical scavenging) activity and the intake of them appears to suppress or retard the process of lifestyle related, life threatening diseases such as cancer, hyperlipidemia, hypertension, hyperglycemia. Tea catechins also have rather potent and unique anti-microbial potency that will inhibit the proliferation of infectious diseases, many of which plague our daily life. In the black tea manufacture, about three quarter of catechins in the fresh leaves are oxidized in the manufacturing process to form red-colored oligocatechins that represent the red color of the black tea. Several oligo-catechins such as theaflavins are known to posses as potent physiological actions as catechins. Thus, the importance of tea drinking and the prophbylactic functions of tea catechins should be realized and valued highly not only in advanced countries where life style related, age related diseases are increasing but also in developing countires where newly emerging infectious diseases are threatening the health of people.
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How to Cite
Hara, Y. “Tea As Preventive/Protective Against Human Diseases”. International Journal of Tea Science, Vol. 2, no. 01 and 02, June 2003, pp. 20-26, doi:10.20425/ijts.v2i1and2.4585.