TEA: A PROTECTION FROM CANCER AND A BRIDGE OF CULTURE
By Tom Olson
So many instances of culture clash and lack of understanding have occurred between the ancient theories and arts of traditional Chinese medical practices, and the western ideology of medicinal procedures and theories, that we often look past the bridges that do occur. In both types of medicinal theory, practitioners and researchers agree that the impact that cancer has on not only an individual, but a family, can be devastating. Urgency on the part of western medicine to not only treat cancer, but preempt it, has taken it’s root, and is now an ongoing struggle. A struggle that can and is being won in small steps.
In 1996 an article was published by the “American Journal of Epidemiology” stating that tea consumption may protect against some cancers in postmenopausal women. It started in 1986 when the Division of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis distributed a questionnaire in Iowa through the State Health Registry of Iowa. In the study they had 35,369 willing participants who agreed to drink tea and be tracked for 8 years. The results were very positive, where women who had 2 or more cups of tea per day versus those who had occasional amounts or none, were at a 68% less risk of digestive tract cancers and 40% less risk of urinary tract cancers. Other types of cancer were not noticed nor studied further in this research.
In the December 12th, 2005 issue of “Archives of Internal Medicine”, showed that women who consumed 2 or more cups of tea per day lowered their risk of ovarian cancer by 46%. Furthermore, each additional cup of tea consumed per day lowered the risk by another 18%. The study was done by Dr. Susanna C. Larsson, MSc., and colleagues in Stockholm, Sweden. The investigators looked at 61,057 women who were aged 40 to 67 and had them fill out a 67 item survey on their diet between 1987 and 1990. The women were tracked a mean of 15.1 years which concluded in 2004.
Most of the women tracked drank black tea at a rate of about .8 cups per day, though it did indeed range higher than that. Of those women who drank less than one cup per day, they saw no reduction in their risk, though those who drank a full cup per day did indeed see decreased risk. Even more positive was that of the women who drank more than one cup per day, their risk of ovarian cancer was significantly reduced. Larsson and colleagues wrote that tea, particularly green and black, are abundant in chemo preventive agents that inhibit carcinogenesis, or the growth of cancer.
These dedicated professionals should be applauded for their studies, as they are trying to further their knowledge by utilizing the findings known throughout the ancient world, and trying to bridge the gaps that their forefathers have already started. As we as a society move forward, it is hoped that we learn from our past to make the future brighter, just as our forefathers have tried to do for us.