By now, you must be familiar with at least a few of the amazing health benefits of green tea - and truth be told, if it isn’t already part of your daily health regimen, it should be.
While most teas contain antioxidant compounds called polyphenols, green tea is also rich in equally powerful antioxidant compounds known as catechins. In fact up to 27% of unfermented green tea is made up of catechins.
Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a polyphenol, is the most abundant catechin in green tea. Found also in acai berries, peaches, various vegetables and nuts, it has been shown to have therapeutic applications in the treatment of many diseases, including cancer.
And now, new research shows that EGCG in green tea may be very effective in treating influenza A virus infections.
The influenza A virus causes influenza in birds and some mammals. Found naturally in wild birds, some types of influenza A virus can cause severe disease both in domestic poultry and, rarely, in humans as well.
For example, the H1N1 flu - known as swine flu that caused a pandemic and a worldwide scare in 2009, was a variety of influenza A.
A 2012 study at Wuhan University in China looked at the effects of EGCG on the influenza A virus in a laboratory setting. Initially, the study authors found that treatment with EGCG blocked growth of the influenza A virus in cultured kidney cells.
Similarly, when EGCG was given to mice infected with influenza A virus, it dramatically improved their survival rate, lowered virus yields and lessened the extent of viral pneumonia in their lungs. In this regard, EGCG was found to be just as effective as oseltamivir, a drug used to treat influenza A.