It seems that prescribing a cup of tea, without milk of course, for an upset stomach or a cold can no longer be regarded as merely grandma's remedy.
There is now some scientific data that tea can have a calming effect when bacterial infections are present and the polyphenolic components of tea are extremely effective against various strains of food borne pathogenic bacteria that can be harmful and in some instances even fatal, a report released at the ongoing National Convention of South India Tea here said.
Anti-bacterial effect has been seen against destructive bacteria like staphylococcus aureus, Bacillius cereus, clostidium perfringens, to name a few, it said.
Stating that tea, in early days of its history, was regarded as a cure for almost everything, the report said while some of those claims of tea's efficacy may be exaggerated, recent studies and trials, since four decades, were providing that many of the claims do have a scientific basis.
Indeed many new curative properties of tea and its constituents against diseases like flu and even oesophageal and stomach cancer are under active study in America, it said.
It has been proved that polyphenols exclusive to tea were more effective than some well known and commonly used anti-oxidants for reducing cholesterol, in particular the bad cholesterol, it said.
Polyphenols were anticarious in three ways for dental problems such as they inhibit the plaque-forming enzyme, suppress the growth of streptococous mutans and solidify the enamel, it said. These facts have come to light in recent years by field research carried out in schools in Japan and China, where children drank a cup of green tea with their lunch.
Human trials were conducted on 21 volunteers to confirm the effect of ingesting measured doses of tea catechins and all reported lowered blood pressure - both systolic and diastolic.
An added bonus was an improvement in the general condition of the volunteers particularly digestion and bowel movement regularly, which suggested that tea can be a cure for hypertension, the report said.
The benefits of tea drinking on human health have long been taught by generations of people, who in their daily lives, used tea as a home remedy for a variety of ailments and believed in the results. Yet in scientific terms the association of the benefits of tea drinking with constituents of tea like caffeine, vitamin C and the most important polyphenols was rather recent, it said.