Green tea protective in chronic gastritis and stomach cancer.




Int J Cancer

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Early Chinese medical literature lists green tea as an agent to promote digestion, improve mental faculties, decrease flatulence and regulate body temperature. The active constituents in green tea include bioflavonoids (polyphenols) and the alkaloids caffeine, theophylline, theobromine. This tea has been used for thousands of years. In fact, the earliest known record of use dates back to around 2700 B.C. Today, ceremonies, celebrations, relaxation time and ordinary meals usually consist of tea in most parts of the world, except where coffee has become the more popular beverage, like the United States.

Studies touting the various benefits of green tea have increased in number over the past two decades as its properties are researched and understood. One recent study reported in the International Journal of Cancer, examined the role of green tea consumption on the risks for chronic gastritis and stomach cancer. Worldwide data indicates that even though the numbers are in decline, stomach cancer remains the second most common form of cancer. There are numerous risks associated with the development of stomach cancer, the recognition of which prompted these researchers to evaluate the role of green tea.

The design of the research was a population-based case controlled-study developed and implemented in China where green tea is consumed as a standard beverage. Epidemiologic data, collected on questionnaires, were adjusted for age, gender, education, body mass index, number of years of tobacco smoking and alcohol intake. The study indicated that both stomach cancer and chronic gastritis odds ratios favored those who drank green tea. While there have been previous studies indicating the benefits of green tea in stomach cancer, this was the first study to show similar benefits in cases of chronic gastritis. Recognition of the importance of this data was reflected by the authors in stating that this data “may be of importance when designing intervention strategies for stomach cancer and its pre-malignant lesions in the high-risk population.”1


1. Setiawan VW. Protective effect of green tea on the risks of chronic gastritis and stomach cancer. Int J Cancer. 2001 May 15;92(4):600-4.