The Healing Power of Black Tea: Reversing Blood Vessel Disease
Green, black, and even white tea are all popular as beverages that offer health benefits such as the potential to prevent cancer and to help people lose weight. Black tea, however, is perhaps the first tea found to completely reverse a specific disease. Endothelial dysfunction is, essentially, an imbalance between the substances produced by the endothelium, or blood vessel lining. This imbalance can impair immune function, coagulation or clotting, and the number of electrolytes present in the blood. The condition has been associated with obesity, obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS), and various types of cardiac disease. In a study conducted by Stephen Duffy and his team from the Boston University School of Medicine, black tea was found to be a successful treatment for these health complications.
Conducting the Study
Duffy and his team randomly selected 66 patients with confirmed coronary artery disease (CAD), then administered both a short- and a long-term test to the subjects. The tests were given in a series of different treatments, rather than having a control group, so all subjects drank both tea and water. For the short-term test, subjects drank 450 mL of either tea or water, then underwent testing after two hours to determine the effects. The long-term test was similar, with the subjects drinking 900 mL of tea or water daily for four weeks. Ultrasounds were used to examine the subjects' arteries both before and after the experimental treatment, so water was proven to have no effect on artery disease while both short- and long-term consumption of black tea improved artery function significantly.
How Black Tea Helped Reverse CAD
The researchers behind this study didn't isolate any "precise mechanism" that enabled black tea to affect patients with CAD, but they gathered evidence that the benefits were related to the antioxidant flavonoids found in the tea. Flavonoids, also referred to as Vitamin P, are widely distributed in plants, and their antioxidant activity has been observed in controlled environments. The researchers believe that the number of flavonoids in diseased tissue was built up, positively affecting reduction-oxidation (redox) reactions taking place in the tissue. When Duffy and his team administered their short-term black tea test to healthy volunteers, they learned that tea consumption can increase the antioxidant activity of the blood's plasma. The implications of their findings are significant, suggesting that the prevention or reversal of endothelial dysfunction by black tea consumption could stop or reverse the development of more severe cardiovascular disease.
Duffy, Stephen J. et al. "Short and Long-Term Black Tea Consumption Reverses Endothelial Dysfunction in Patients with Coronary Artery Disease." American Heart Association, Inc. 2001.
Bio: Alexis Bonari is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident education blogger and performs research surrounding College Scholarships. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.
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