Investigating the Effects of Green Tea Complex or Extract on Pain and Mucosal Health
Green tea is a well-known beverage celebrated for its health-enhancing properties. Interestingly, its components have also shown promise in the context of endometriosis treatment. Certain gynecologists even recommend green tea complexes or extracts as part of therapy. But what exactly makes it a health powerhouse, and is there scientific evidence to support these claims? In this article, we delve into the benefits of green tea, explore its potential in endometriosis treatment, and provide insights into relevant research studies.
What is green tea made of, and which ingredients are particularly beneficial to health?
Home remedies are popular aids in self-medication for various ailments, including relieving endometriosis symptoms. Many people seek foods with anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, pain-relieving, or decongestant properties to alleviate their condition. In our home remedies and teas articles, you can explore the positive effects of ingredients like ginger, turmeric, pineapple, and more. Green tea, a well-known remedy, has also been the subject of several research studies.
Green and black tea are derived from the leaves, roots, buds, and stems of the actual tea plant Camellia sinensis. This plant thrives in tropical and subtropical regions, benefiting from high humidity and stable temperatures around 19 degrees Celsius. Germany imports more than half of the green and black tea, primarily from China or Japan. However, significant quantities are also grown, processed, and exported from Taiwan, India, and Sri Lanka , .
Unlike black tea, which involves pressing and fermenting the plant parts, green tea production skips these steps. Instead, the tea plant is heated, roasted, or steamed in the spring when it has the highest concentration of valuable ingredients, following the harvest and withering process. This gentle method seals the leaf pores, prevents fermentation, and preserves the tea’s active components and green color. Among the most crucial active ingredients in green tea are catechins, including epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), epigallocatechin (EGC), and epicatechin gallate (ECG). EGCG, in particular, is recognized for its health-promoting properties. It constitutes approximately one-third of green tea’s dry mass and is considered the primary catechin. EGCG is a key focus in numerous studies investigating the potential benefits of green tea in managing endometriosis , , , .
The Influence of Green Tea on Endometriosis
As early as 2009, research confirmed the positive impact of EGCG on containing endometriosis. In this study, human endometriosis tissue was transplanted into mice and treated with the EGCG active ingredient. The results demonstrated that EGCG inhibited angiogenesis, forming new blood vessels. EGCG exhibited mechanisms that slowed the growth of endometriosis lesions, ultimately reducing their size .
In 2013, another study using a mouse model aimed to enhance the bioavailability and stability of EGCG. This time, pro-EGCG was administered, a modified, less active, to inactive drug that only becomes active upon metabolization, offering higher bioavailability. This study showed reduced endometriosis growth as early as week two and overall higher efficacy than the pure EGCG used in the 2009 study , .
- Antioxidant Effect: EGCG acts as an antioxidant, protecting against free radicals and reducing oxidative stress. Free radicals can influence cell growth processes and worsen endometriosis symptoms. EGCG helps lessen the production of free radicals, thus curbing the spread of endometriosis lesions.
- Anti-Angiogenic Effect: EGCG inhibits the formation of blood vessels that promote endometriosis.
- Apoptotic Effect: EGCG induces apoptosis, the programmed cell death of harmful cells in the endometriosis tissue.
- Anti-inflammatory Effect: EGCG reduces the formation of endometriosis foci, providing an anti-inflammatory effect.
How to Harness the Benefits of Green Tea for Yourself
It is crucial to differentiate between conventional green tea and the isolated EGCG active ingredient discussed in these studies. The effects of consuming green tea may not be as intense as those of EGCG alone. This is why some individuals with endometriosis symptoms are prescribed green tea complexes or extracts. If you are dealing with endometriosis symptoms, you can consult your gynecologist to explore the possibility of EGCG administration and decide if it suits you .
Nonetheless, regular green tea consumption also offers positive effects and should not be disregarded. While there is no universal guideline for the amount of tea to consume for the desired effect, a study suggests a daily intake of up to 704 mg of EGCG is the highest recommended dose. This roughly equates to about 880 ml of green tea daily . Consuming green tea in moderation and adjusting the amount individually based on personal tolerance, as with any food, is advisable. It is worth noting that green tea contains caffeine and bitter compounds, which can impact the cardiovascular system, for instance .
A comprehensive study conducted in 2021 corroborates the mechanisms of EGCG in endometriosis based on available data up to that point . Additionally, it highlights the positive effects of EGCG on other conditions such as PCOS, dysmenorrhea (menstrual pain), and infertility (in both men and women). Overall, treatment with green tea offers the advantage of being a therapy with minimal side effects, cost-effectiveness, and widespread availability. However, the quality of the tea is of utmost importance. Since some green tea products may be contaminated with substances like pesticides, herbicides, aluminum, or microplastics, it is essential to consider a few factors when making a purchase .
How do you recognize a good green tea?
When seeking high-quality, uncontaminated green tea, prioritizing organic options can be a helpful starting point. Look for certifications such as the EU organic seal or the Naturland seal, which indicates the exclusion of synthetic chemical pesticides and nitrogen fertilizers. According to Stiftung Warentest, these certifications are reliable indicators of pesticide-free green tea consumption. Opting for loose tea leaves is the best choice to ensure your tea is free from microplastics. However, some tea brands explicitly state that their tea bags are free from them. Quality green tea should be natural and made from whole leaves without additives like flavorings or colorings. Therefore, it is advisable to avoid green tea with a powdery consistency , , .
In a Nutshell
To delve deeper into the effects of EGCG on endometriosis within the human body in the forthcoming years and to develop a suitable therapeutic agent, further clinical studies are imperative. Until now, research has primarily relied on animal models, and the outcomes cannot be straightforwardly extrapolated to humans. Consequently, several questions remain unanswered, and there has not been a comprehensive exploration into how specific components of green tea can impact human health.
Nevertheless, there is a growing interest in the active ingredient EGCG, and it is intriguing to anticipate the discoveries that future studies may unveil. The potential for a natural therapy employing a refined EGCG-based medication offers promise as an alternative to conventional treatment approaches and/or a means of preventing endometriosis.
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