Numerous studies have indicated that green tea can prevent both liver cancer and liver fibrosis. It is believed that these effects are the result of a compound called EGCg, the primary compound present in green tea. While this compound can be found in large number in brewed green tea, it is far more prevalent in whole leaf tea before it is brewed.
A 2004 study from Japan found that EGCg, the primary compound found in green tea, may have the power to prevent liver fibrosis. This condition, also known as cirrhosis, forms as the result of chronic liver disease in which scar tissue begins to cover the liver and keeps it from working properly. The scar tissue consists of what are called “hepatic stellate cells” (or HSC).
In this study, researchers created artificially grown samples of HSC in laboratory containers. In one of these containers they also placed the compound EGCg from green tea. At the conclusion of the experiment, the researchers found that the sample containing EGCg had a much slower growth of HSC. This indicates that the presence of green tea in the body could actually slow down the process of liver fibrosis in humans, promoting much longer lasting and greater liver function.
As with other forms of cancer, studies have come out in the last few years indicating that green tea may have an inhibitory effect on liver cancer. In other words, by drinking green tea, you may actually be reducing the chances that you will get liver cancer as well as delaying the onset of liver cancer.
A study conducted in 1992 found this to be the case through tests conducted on mice. In addition to other health benefits, the researchers found a reduction in the proliferation of cancerous growth in the livers of mice who were given a daily ration of green tea extract in their water supply.
A later study published in 1997 expanded upon these results to include data on human cancer statistics. The researchers in this report found that there was a negative correlation between consumption of green tea and the onset of cancer. Put simply, patients who drank at least three cups of green tea per day were likely to experience the onset of cancer later than those who drank less than three cups. Specifically, women who drank this amount of tea got cancer 8.7 years later on average if at all, while men who got cancer experienced onset an average of 3 years later.
These results are very encouraging, although some people will surely find it difficult to drink three cups of green tea every single day. However, it is also possible to consume green tea leaves whole, allowing one to intake a far greater amount of the cancer and fibrosis fighting compounds in a shorter period of time. Catechins, the main group of compounds that researchers believe are responsible for green tea’s health benefits, are actually present in amounts ninety-four times greater in whole green tea leaves than in brewed tea, according to a report by the USDA. Hence, by taking advantage of the many new recipes appearing which use whole tea leaves, you can get the right amount of catechins without having to remember to drink green tea three times a day.
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“Republished with permission from EatGreenTea.com, the original edible green tea.”