Acupuncture Continuing Education

Tea Discovered to Lower Stroke and Tumor Risk

Chinese medicine classic texts and licensed acupuncturists have been extolling the virtues of tea drinking for many years. Now, modern research points to important benefits of drinking tea including lowering the risk of stroke, tumors of the brain and ovarian cancer. Apparently coffee was not to be left off the table or cup holders either. A recent study also shows that combination of tea and coffee drinking is directly associated with a decreased risk of brain and spinal cord tumors.

Chinese tea leaves are depicted here. Tea LeavesThe research on the benefits of tea drinking is extensive. A massive ten year study of over 74,000 men and women shows that drinking black tea reduces the risk of stroke. The researchers found that high black tea consumption intake reduces risks for both cerebral infarction and hemorrhagic stroke. The research is relatively new but acupuncturists have recognized the health benefits of drinking tea for well over a thousand years.
 
Chinese medicine history credits Shen Nong, known as the divine farmer, for discovering tea as an antidote to over 70 poisons in 200 BCE. According to Chinese medicine theory, tea helps to clear the mind, resolve headaches, eliminate toxins and benefit digestion. There is a caveat to tea consumption. Excess tea consumption may cause issues such as a rapid heart beat, insomnia and palpitations due to the caffeine content. As a result, acupuncturists well versed in Chinese medicine theory do not recommend tea as a beverage for patients with heart arrhythmias.

Tea efficiently absorbs flouride into the leaves. Non-tea drinkers tend to drink about 2 - 3mg of flouride per day from sources such as toothpaste, food and fluoridated water. Tea contains 0.5 - 9mg of flouride per liter of tea. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) recommends the addition of 0.7mg of flouride per liter of water when municipalities add flouride to the water. The combination of tea drinking with fluoridated water may cause excess consumption of flouride.

Chinese medicine dietetics is rich with important information on who benefits from drinking tea and how much is appropriate. The Healthcare Medicine Institute has published extensively on the topic in its Chinese medicine dietetics acupuncture continuing education courses. These online courses for acupuncturists feature a long history of well-researched science documenting the benefits of tea along with the classical Chinese medicine theoretical writings from history. Some of that research tells us a great deal about black tea. Boston University School of Medicine in Massachusetts participated in a study concluding that, “Short- and long-term black tea consumption reverses endothelial vasomotor dysfunction in patients with coronary artery disease. This finding may partly explain the association between tea intake and decreased cardiovascular disease events.” The American Journal of Cardiology published findings showing that black tea “improves coronary vessel function….” Another study of over 60,000 women discovered that tea consumption is directly associated with a significantly reduced risk of ovarian cancer.

One difficulty in featuring the health benefits of any food item, including tea, is that consumers tend to overreact and infuse high dosages of a particular item into their diets based on a few research papers. Chinese medicine theory informs us that appropriateness is the guiding principle for any food. A licensed acupuncturist is a good source for discussing what foods are beneficial relative to a person’s health state. For example, tea interferes with iron absorption and is generally not recommended for patients with iron deficiency. Water is usually the beverage of choice to wash down pharmaceutical medications because tea may interfere with the function and absorption of certain drugs. Also, tea may interfere with lactation and may overstimulate babies. Tea, like many foods, has a great deal of medicinal benefits. The key is to match foods like tea to an individual’s healthcare needs.

Reference:
Ann Epidemiol. 2013 Mar;23(3):157-60. doi: 10.1016/j.annepidem.2012.12.006. Epub 2013 Jan 5.

Stephen J. Duffy, MB, BS, PhD; John F. Keaney Jr, MD; Monika Holbrook, MA; Noyan Gokce, MD; Peter L. Swerdloff, BA; Balz Frei, PhD; Joseph A. Vita, MD. Short- and Long-Term Black Tea Consumption Reverses Endothelial Dysfunction in Patients With Coronary Artery Disease. Circulation. 2001;104:151. Clinical Investigation and Reports. American Heart Association, Inc.

Stephen J. Duffy, MB, BS, PhD; John F. Keaney Jr, MD; Monika Holbrook, MA; Noyan Gokce, MD; Peter L. Swerdloff, BA; Balz Frei, PhD; Joseph A. Vita, MD. Short- and Long-Term Black Tea Consumption Reverses Endothelial Dysfunction in Patients With Coronary Artery Disease. Circulation. 2001;104:151. Clinical Investigation and Reports. American Heart Association, Inc.

Stephen J. Duffy, MB, BS, PhD; John F. Keaney Jr, MD; Monika Holbrook, MA; Noyan Gokce, MD; Peter L. Swerdloff, BA; Balz Frei, PhD; Joseph A. Vita, MD. Short- and Long-Term Black Tea Consumption Reverses Endothelial Dysfunction in Patients With Coronary Artery Disease. Circulation. 2001;104:151. Clinical Investigation and Reports. American Heart Association, Inc.

Malerba, Stefano, Carlotta Galeone, Claudio Pelucchi, Federica Turati, Mia Hashibe, Carlo La Vecchia, and Alessandra Tavani. "A meta-analysis of coffee and tea consumption and the risk of glioma in adults." Cancer Causes & Control 24, no. 2 (2013): 267-276.

copyright 2013 HealthCMi.com

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