Green tea is a treatment gaining ground for cervical cancer. Research is finding that a specific extract from green tea can reduce cervical cancer cell growth. This extract, epigallocatechin-3-gallate (try saying that 10 times fast!), or also known as EGCG, is a powerful player in cervical cancer treatment. EGCG is a potent antioxidant which is important for cancer prevention and treatment.
It’s more than just drinking the tea that treats the cancerous cells. According to one study published in the European Journal of Cancer Prevention, treatment for cervical dysplasia (precancerous tissue) was studied with the use of EGCG and another extract from green tea, Poly E. What did the treatment include? Taking EGCG extract supplements and applying the EGCG directly in to the vagina to reach the cervix. Women receiving the treatment had a 69% positive response rate in comparison with a 10% response rate in untreated controls.
The story doesn’t end there. EGCG has also been found to reduce the viral activity of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV). A recent study found that the EGCG extract both killed the cancer cell growth and helped stop the HPV virus. Why is this important? According to the CDC, virtually all cervical cancer is caused by HPV. Basically, EGCG is helping reduce the cancer and stopping the cause of the cancerous changes. Exciting news!
While this research is promising, more investigation is needed for EGCG to become a sole treatment for cervical cancer. Make sure to speak with your healthcare provider about all your options if you have an abnormal pap smear result or if you have already been diagnosed with cervical cancer.
Have researchers found a link between drinking green tea and cervical cancer? Not yet! Although drinking green tea still has many health benefits because of all the antioxidants it holds. A diet rich in antioxidants paired with a healthy lifestyle can help reduce the risk of all cancers, including cervical cancer. Try these tips below to brew the perfect cup of green tea.
The art of brewing a cup of tea is just as important as drinking the tea itself. Some of the beneficial compounds in tea are volatile. This means that when you pour boiling water over your tea bag and you see the steam evaporating; you’re also watching a lot of the medicinal qualities in the tea blow away.
Here’s how to prevent that and brew the perfect cup:
- Place your tea bag in to your mug or teapot and heat your water. Green tea loves water that is not quite boiling. 140-180 degrees Fahrenheit is perfect. You can measure this with a thermometer, or after the water has boiled let it sit for 2 minutes. Then, pour the water over your tea. Pouring water over the tea is important as it helps extract more medicinal compounds than placing a tea bag in to a mug full of hot water.
- Immediately after the mug or teapot is full to the desired amount of water, cover the mug with a plate or close the teapot opening with it’s top.
- Let steep for 1-3 minutes. This is the perfect steep time for green tea. The longer you steep it for, the more bitter it will become and it will increase in caffeine content.
- Sit down, relax and enjoy your cup of tea.
This is one of the most important steps! Set some time aside for yourself during the day to relax with your tea.
- Ahn WS, Yoo J, Huh SW, Kim CK, Lee JM, Namkoong SE, Bae SM, Lee IP. Protective Effects of Green Tea Extracts (polyphenon E and EGCG) on human cervical lesions. Eur J Cancer Prev. 2003 Oct; 12(5): 383-90
- Green Tea Brewing Tips, www.thefragrantleaf.com
- Zou Tyring, SK. Effect of Sinecatechins on HPV-Activated Cell Growth and Induction of Apoptosis. J Clin Aesthet Dermatology. 2012 Feb;5 (2): 34-41.
- C, Liu H, Feugang JM, Hao Z, Chow HH, Garcia F. Green Tea Compound in Chemoprevention of Cervical Cancer. Int J Gynecol Cancer. 2010 May; 20(4): 617-24.
By Angela Potter NCNM Naturopathic Medicine Program Edited by Dr Elise Schroeder