Green Tea Helps to Fight Flu

In early October I wrote a blog item recommending that you get a flu shot for the upcoming flu season. I get one every year. While I am presently going to tell you how green tea drinking can help fight the flu that is in no way intended to detract from my flu shot recommendation.

Researchers at the University of Shizuoka studied two very different groups in relation to green tea and flu.

Writing in Elizabeth Walling reported the study of nursing home residents considered to be at a particularly high risk for catching colds and flu. The residents gargled with green tea three times a day. At the end, the residents who had gargled with the tea showed a significantly lower rate of flu and cold viruses.

Interestingly, the study indicated that actually gargling with the tea rather than drinking it proved more beneficial because it exposed the viruses lingering in the throat to the tea’s healing powers.

The Life Extension Newsletter reported that the second study was done by the University of Shizuoka and Kikugawa General Hospital surveying over 2000 pupils between the ages of 6 and 13 years who lived on a rea plantation area of Japan during flu season from November, 2008 to February, 2009.

The responses provided information concerning the frequency and quantity of green tea intake, preventive measures taken against influenza, and the incidence and duration of infections.

During the survey period, 204 cases of flu were confirmed by influenza antigen testing. Among children who reported drinking green tea at least six days per week there was a 40 percent lower risk of being diagnosed with influenza compared to those who consumed tea fewer than three days per week. Subjects who consumed one to two cups per day had a 38 percent lower risk of contracting flu in comparison with those who consumed less than one cup, and a 46 percent lower risk was observed for those who drank three to five cups daily. No greater benefit was determined for drinking more than five cups green tea per day.

“These findings are supported by previous research, which documented the prevention of influenza infection via the antiviral effects of green tea catechins and the enhancement of systemic immunity of theanine,” the authors write. “Contrary to the results of green tea consumption, general preventive measures (such as influenza vaccination, hand hygiene, and the use of facemasks) were not associated with the incidence of influenza infection.”

“Further clinical studies, including randomized controlled trials, are required to confirm the preventive effects of green tea consumption on influenza infection, including the number of affected days and degree of symptoms, as well as to assess the safety of green tea consumption by children,” they conclude.

My conclusion is that green tea is worth including in your arsenal against flu. It’s early times, get your flu shot and figure a way to include green tea in your daily consumption. Gargling it would also be a good idea.

I have written about green tea itself previously. Check it out: Green Tea for St. Patrick’s Day.


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Filed under flu shot, green tea

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