Many people are familiar with green tea (Camellia sinensis) compounds providing benefits for cognitive health, metabolism, or mood. It turns out that the very catechin compounds so well known for these abilities may also score another point in their favor: stopping infections.
Two of the main constituents – epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) and epicatechin-3-gallate (ECG) – fight microbial invaders on a variety of fronts. And this isn’t relegated to a topical usage, either: simply drinking green tea allows these compounds to move throughout the body to zero in on sites of current infections or prevent others from starting.
Reygaert WC. Green Tea Catechins: Their Use in Treating and Preventing Infectious Diseases. Biomed Res Int. 2018;2018:9105261.
Green tea is one of the most popular drinks consumed worldwide. Produced mainly in Asian countries from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, the potential health benefits have been widely studied. Recently, researchers have studied the ability of green tea to eradicate infectious agents and the ability to actually prevent infections. The important components in green tea that show antimicrobial properties are the catechins. The four main catechins that occur in green tea are (-)-epicatechin (EC), (-)-epicatechin-3-gallate (ECG), (-)-epigallocatechin (EGC), and (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). Of these catechins, EGCG and EGC are found in the highest amounts in green tea and have been the subject of most of the studies. These catechins have been shown to demonstrate a variety of antimicrobial properties, both to organisms affected and in mechanisms used. Consumption of green tea has been shown to distribute these compounds and/or their metabolites throughout the body, which allows for not only the possibility of treatment of infections but also the prevention of infections.
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