Do you think that the idea of something being herbal has anything to do with psychology?

Over 70,000 deaths occur from drug reactions in the United States, according to the book The People’s Pharmacy. Drug reactions are responsible for up to 11 percent of hospital admissions. This is not to say that medication can’t be helpful, because it is, and it can be lifesaving. But because so many medications have unwanted side effects, people sometimes prefer to try something natural if it’s available. Herbal medicine, which is something that’s been available through the centuries, has a good history of what’s considered to be outcome research. In other words, people feel better. That’s not to say they shouldn’t have an evaluation by a qualified health provider to make sure they’re not self-medicating when, in fact, something else should be done. But there are many instances in which herbal medicine can be helpful. Green tea is an excellent example of this.

Will green tea ever wipe out chemotherapy? Does it have the ability to do that, or must it be used in conjunction with something else?
Studies have shown that the more antioxidants the body can utilize, the more protective benefit there is. Therefore, it’s recommended that you follow a diet that’s high in vegetables, fruits and other substances which provide natural antioxidants. Furthermore, preventive medicine is something that should be focused on more. In fact, there is a study on the 25-year war on cancer that was declared by President Nixon. After spending over $30 billion on the war on cancer, researchers came up with the conclusion that more emphasis needs to be placed on preventative medicine. I don’t think green tea or any natural treatment is going to replace conventional treatments for cancer by themselves; but I think if Americans focus more on prevention, great strides will be made in our health for the 21st century.

People should take multivitamins that’s high in antioxidants, minerals and trace elements as a base. Then if they want to supplement with additional antioxidants, for instance green tea, vitamin C — any of these used in combination will offer more protective effects than when taken singularly.

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What are antioxidants and what do they do?

That’s a very good question. They are both natural substances and synthetic substances that help treat free radicals in the body. Free radicals are a natural byproduct of some cellular metabolism. They’re useful for the immune system for killing foreign cells and bacteria; but if the situation gets out of control, they can be harmful to the body. A free radical is a substance that has lost an electron and is therefore an unstable ion. What it wants to do is become stable again. So it attacks a cell that’s close to it and takes an electron from that cell. Then a game of hot potato starts. A cascade of events occur leading to death within a cell. This causes premature aging and can lead to cancer. Antioxidants are substances that protect plants, for instance, in the environment. For example, they protect plants against smog, environmental pollution and ultraviolet radiation. These same properties that protect plants can be used to protect humans. With consumption of nutrients found within plants — such as vitamin C, vitamin E, beta carotene — these natural substances called antioxidants donate electrons and therefore neutralize the harmful effects of free radical damage.

If it works, why aren’t more people taking green tea? Are there any negative effects associated with it?
Green tea has caffeine in it, and caffeine doesn’t agree with certain people. For instance, it can lead to insomnia. It can lead to fibrocystic breast disease in women. It can lead to frequent urination. It can lead to elevated cholesterol and a host of other health problems. It can become addictive. Nevertheless, you will be pleased to know that green tea has one fifth the amount of caffeine that a typical cup of coffee has and one third the amount of caffeine that black tea has. Furthermore, there are extracts available which are virtually caffeine-free. As for why more people don’t take green tea, I don’t think they know about it. The Chinese have known about it for over 4,000 years, but it’s just now becoming available in extract form. People who may not want to drink the six to nine cups of tea that are needed to get maximum benefit can now take it in an extract form — in a capsule form.

Green tea is not a new concept. The Chinese and the Japanese have used it for years. Why is it now becoming so prevalent here in America?

Green tea has been used for over 4,000 years. Folklore maintains it promotes longevity, decreases cholesterol, decreases heart conditions and also helps to decrease cancer. However, the reason it’s become popular is because there’s abundant scientific evidence showing the benefits of green tea. In fact, within the past three years alone, over 50 different scientific articles have appeared in the literature which support the use of green tea for helping to prevent, treat and, in some cases, kill cancer cells.

You may be surprised to know that green tea comes from the same tree that black tea comes from. Green tea is different from black tea in that it doesn’t undergo the degree of oxidation that black tea does. Because of this, helpful antioxidants are found in much greater concentrations within green tea than they are in black tea.

Scientists believe that the protective effects of green tea arise out of a group of polyphenols called catechins. Polyphenols are a class of compounds that have strong anti-oxidant properties — meaning they have the ability to stop carcinogen-producing enzymes. The commonly drank black tea has three to ten percent polyphenols. Green tea, on the other hand, contains 30 to 42 percent polyphenols.

Can Green Tea Protect Skin?

Modern science has discovered chemicals in green tea that can inhibit many diseases, including cancer. Those same compounds are now showing up in dozens of skin care products like soap, skin lotion and cosmetics. Is this is just a passing fad, or can it really protect your skin?

It’s been part of Asian cultures for thousands of years. Now in this millennium, green tea has enjoyed a revival.

“With Eastern medicines, things are going to be more slow and natural, and some of them may be more preventive things, says Barbara Reed, M.D., a dermatologist at the Denver Skin Clinic in Colorado.

Pam Fitzgerald was constantly exposed to the sun as a child. Both her parents have had skin cancer. She hopes green tea will act as a natural defense.

“I know that I’m predisposed to skin cancer, and I would like to use something that would prevent that,” says Pam.

Delivery and dosage are the keys to green tea. Six to eight cups a day are enough to make a difference, but for some, that’s a lot of caffeine. Also using products with tea extracts on your skin can help if the lotion has at least 10 percent of the active ingredients.

Dr. Reed says, “A person has to really concentrate on either drinking that much, if they can handle the caffeine, taking a pill, or putting something on their skin.”

To benefit from this old wisdom to lower your cancer risk and protect your skin, Dr. Reed says rub it on, or drink up! She also says it’s easy to be misled by labels since most products containing green tea don’t say how much is inside. By law, ingredients are listed on the label in order of quantity, so if green tea is one of the first few, there’s probably enough to generate some therapeutic benefits.

Source: Ivanhoe News

NSAIDs help prevent prostate cancer

Daily use of aspirin or another of the class of pain relievers known as NSAIDs could help prevent prostate cancer in older men, say Mayo Clinic researchers. Their study found less than half as many cancers in men who took the drugs on a regular basis than in those who did not.

Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer, affecting about 189,000 men every year. It is also the second leading cause of death from cancer among men.

While new and better detection methods are allowing the disease to be identified at earlier and more treatable stages, these methods do not help prevent the condition. Studies are currently underway to determine the effect of several substances, including selenium, Vitamin E, Vitamin D, and green tea, on prostate cancer risk.

The Mayo scientists decided to study the impact of NSAIDs — nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs — on prostate cancer after other studies linked the drugs to a reduced risk of other cancers. They analyzed data on about 1,300 men participating in a study of urinary tract symptoms. The men were enrolled in the study in 1990 and followed for an average of six years. Information on daily medication use was gathered throughout the study.

The study found 4 percent of the men who reported daily NSAID use developed prostate cancer by the end of the follow up. This compares to 9 percent of those who reported no regular NSAID use. The link between NSAID use and a reduced risk of prostate cancer was more significant in men over age 60.

SOURCE: Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 2002;77:219-225

Green Tea – Protecting Against Cancer

The anticancer properties of green tea are largely the result of the ability of polyphenols to black the formation of carcinogenic compounds in the body. In addition, polyphenols trap and detoxify enzymes that produce carcinogens, rendering them harmless and inhibiting the spread of cancer cells. EGCG (the most common catechin in green tea) contributes to the programmed death of cancer cells before they can multiply and begin forming tumors.

Green tea appears to be most effective against cancers of the gastrointestinal tract, including stomach cancer, small intestine cancer, pancreatic cancer and colon cancer; lung cancer; and estrogen-related cancers, including breast cancer. The Japanese custom of drinking green tea with meals is thought to be a major factor in the low rates of these types of cancer in Japan.

Lowering Cholesterol Levels

Cholesterol is essential for life, but it is also a major factor in the development of cardiovascular disease. There are basically two types of cholesterol: HDL (“good” cholesterol) and LDL (“bad” cholesterol). LDL cholesterol deposits cholesterol in the arteries; HDL cholesterol removes it. When too much LDL cholesterol circulates in the blood, it accumulates in the arteries, leading to atherosclerosis – hardening of the arteries. Atherosclerosis, especially in conjunction with high blood pressure, is a prime risk factor for heart disease. Compounds in green tea have been shown to reduce levels of bad LDL cholesterol and increase levels of good HDL cholesterol, thus helping to prevent atherosclerosis and heart disease.

In 1992, Japanese researchers examined the health records of 1,306 male retirees and discovered an inverse relationship between green tea consumption and serum cholesterol levels; in other words, men who drank more green tea had less cholesterol in their blood. Five years later, researchers in Hong Kong tested the effects of a variety of tea extracts on lipid profiles in rats. They reported that Chinese green tea decreased cholesterol levels without affecting HDL cholesterol levels, thus improving HDL ratios.

Reducing Blood Pressure

High blood pressure (hypertension) is a serious risk factor for heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases. Some risk factors for hypertension – such as age, race and family history – can’t be controlled. However, many major risk factors – such as poor diet, obesity and lack of exercise – are lifestyle related. Green tea consumption, it appears, is one lifestyle choice that can reduce the risk of hypertension.

In 1995, Japanese researchers published the results of a study on the effects of green tea on blood pressure in rats. The researchers gave rats green tea, water or specially processed green tea with a high concentration of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA, a naturally occurring amino acid-like substance). In the American Journal of Hypertension, the researchers reported that the GABA-rich green tea lowered blood pressure in rats with preexisting hypertension and protected healthy rats against blood-pressure increases caused by a high-salt diet.

That these findings might apply in humans was supported by the results of a large study published in 2004 in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Researchers in Taiwan surveyed the tea-drinking habits of 1,507 patients with newly diagnosed hypertension. They found that habitual tea drinkers – those who drank at least 120 milliliters of tea daily for at least one year – were 46 percent less likely to develop hypertension than non-habitual tea drinkers. Those who drank more than 600 milliliters of tea daily were 65 percent less likely to develop hypertension.