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Black Tea May Keep Colds Away
Take frequent tea breaks this winter and you may avoid coming down with a cold.
That is the conclusion of Harvard University researchers in a study announced at the National Academy of Sciences in April 2003.
Researchers lead by Jack Bukowski, found that people who drink up to five cups of black tea a day for two weeks transformed their gamma-delta T cells, a critical first line of defense against infection, into 'super immune cells' that mounted a robust immune response by producing more cold and flu virus-fighting interferon than did the immune systems of those who didn't drink black tea. Green tea should work just as well.
"Not just the common cold and flu, but food poisoning, infected cuts, athlete's foot - even diseases such as tuberculosis and malaria - are caused by germs that you body fights with interferon. We think the interferon boosts from tea may help prevent or lessen the severity of all these conditions," says Jack Bukowski, MD, PhD.
While five cups a day may seem like a lot, Bukowski thinks fewer cups may still offer some valuable protection. "And the interferon link may explain tea's other health benefits, including its reported cancer-fighting power, since we already know that interferon slows the growth of tumor cells."
Mighty Leaf Teas
"Nonpeptide bacterial antigens contained in tea-beverage prime human V-gamma-2V-delta-2 T cells in vitro and in vivo for memory and nonmemory antibacterial cytokine responses" by Arati B. Kamath, Lisheng Wang, Hiranmoy Das, Lin Li, Vernon N. Reinhold, and Jack F. Bukowski. National Academy of Sciences, April 21, 2003.