Despite having a history that dates back more than 5,000 years to ancient civilizations in China, here in the U.S, green tea continues to get no respect from the Food and Drug Administration. Herbalists would tell you that green tea is (besides water) perhaps the healthiest beverage on the planet.
The subject of countless medical studies, green tea is believed to help prevent a variety of illnesses including gingivitis, rosacea, sunburn, high cholesterol, and — most significantly — liver disease, cancer, and heart disease. All of that in a steaming cup!
Last summer, the FDA ignored green tea’s proven chemopreventive abilities (cancer protection) in saying that it would not approve it for such a use. Officials said that the tea lacks evidence of this nature and concluded it was “highly unlikely” that green tea reduces the risk of both prostate and breast cancers.
This was yet another blow to believers of alternative medicine — but nothing new, as western science is less inclined to believe a herb could ever be as useful as a chemically packed pharmaceutical.
Then, just this month, the FDA shot down green tea again. A Japanese company that makes green tea petitioned the agency to allow a claim to be put on the product saying that it can reduce the risk factors linked to heart disease.
The company believes the “catechins” (a substance that has antioxidant abilities) in green tea can do this, but the FDA said again that there was “no credible scientific evidence” to support this notion.
The FDA looked at “observational” studies in the past, where a group of participants either drank green tea or did not. The FDA found mixed results as a result of their study review, which prompted them to decline the Japanese company’s request.
The FDA did not, however, suggest that green tea is unhealthy. It simply argued that science (and let’s be clear here, western science) has yet to prove that a person who drinks green tea regularly will cut his/her risk for cardiovascular disease.
In any event, green tea contains “polyphenols,” which are valuable substances that possess antioxidant, anticarcinogenic, antitumorigenic, and even antibiotic properties.
Nevertheless, green tea will have to keep climbing the long road to respectability — the longest road of any medicine ever — as its health claims remain challenged in the U.S. Despite the FDA’s reluctance to recognize this ancient healer, there is absolutely no reason why you should avoid it. It is a healthy drink that quite possibly could dramatically benefit your body. For now, that’s all you need to know.