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Green Tea May Allay the Symptoms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Inflammatory bowel disease is actually a general classification of several different diseases, the most common of which are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. What these disorders share in common is their tendency to cause extreme inflammation of the colon and intestinal tract. Multiple studies on inflammatory bowel disease have shown green tea to be effective in lessening the severity of this inflammation. This is thought to be a result of green tea’s strong anti-inflammatory properties.

Green Tea Leaves

Green Tea May Allay the Symptoms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease

In a study published in 2001, researchers attempted to simulate the conditions of inflammatory bowel disease in mice. The study showed that the types of inflammation that cause inflammatory bowel disease can be inhibited using green tea. The mice were separated into two groups, one who received water containing polyphenols from green tea and another who received only plain water. After a week, bowel cultures taken from the group given green tea showed fewer signs of inflammation. The researchers thus concluded that green tea could have some role to play in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease in humans.

A later study published in 2005 found similar results.  Inflammation of the colon was induced by the researchers in several laboratory rats. Some of them were treated with a green tea solution while others were given only tap water. In those rats treated with green tea, many of the common symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease such as weight loss and diarrhea were greatly reduced. The researchers also found that the bowels of the rats given green tea sustained far less injury from inflammation than those who were not given green tea.

A meta-research project conducted in 2007 ended in similar results.  In this study, the researchers found that Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCg) had been shown in numerous trials on laboratory rats to promote digestive track health and eliminate or lessen the symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease. It is significant that the researchers identified EGCg as the active agent in these trials. Epigallocatechin gallate is the most prominent compound in green tea and perhaps the most important as well in terms of fighting disease. While this compound is not found in great quantities in black tea, EGCg is a prevalent compound in green tea, especially in its whole leaf form.  When green tea is brewed, a small amount of EGCg is transferred to the resulting liquid. However, according to a report by the USDA, EGCg is 100 times more prevalent in whole green tea leaves than in brewed green tea.

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“Republished with permission from EatGreenTea.com, the original edible green tea.”



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