Brewing Green Tea
Use one teaspoon of loose tea leaves for a small pot of tea. Use two teaspoons for a large pot of tea. Boil water, then pour into a porcelain teapot or mug and let cool for one minute. Add tea leaves and let brew for 1 to 3 minutes, depending on the desired strength. Serve or add to juice immediately.
The most important tip for steeping green tea is to use water that is just below the boiling point. Steep for under three minutes. This will draw out the maximum benefit from the tea and the least amount of caffeine.
Apple Ginger Tea
The ginger in this hot drink helps to reduce nausea associated with cancer treatment.
½ apple, seeds removed
½-inch slice of raw ginger
6 ounces hot green tea
Juice the apple and ginger according to your juice machine’s instructions.
Pour the juice into a mug and add hot green tea.
Makes 1 serving
Green Tea Miso Soup
4 cups strongly brewed green tea
3 tablespoons finely chopped scallions
Optional: 1 tablespoon nori flakes
4 tablespoons miso paste
In a large saucepan, gently heat the tea. Add the scallions and the nori flakes if desired. Nori adds minerals and a rich, salty flavor to soup.
Remove from heat and stir in miso. Serve immediately.
Makes 4 servings
What Does The Research Show?
Exercising and drinking green tea may help prevent depression among breast cancer survivors.
Depression is a major concern among cancer patients and survivors. Some estimates report that the prevalence of depression in this population is as high as 55%. Depression can reduce quality of life and also potentially affect survival.
Researchers from Vanderbilt University conducted a study to determine whether lifestyle factors prevented depression among breast cancer survivors. They analyzed activity levels; food, tea, and alcohol consumption; smoking; and supplement use among 1,399 Chinese women who were treated for breast cancer in Shanghai, China, between 2002 and 2006.
Eighteen months post-diagnosis, 26% of women experienced depressive symptoms and 13% met the criteria for clinical depression. Women appeared to benefit from regular exercise—exercisers were 20% less likely to be mildly or clinically depressed. Furthermore, the higher the exercise level, the lower the likelihood was for depression. When compared with non-exercising women, those who exercised two hours per week were 28% less likely to be depressed, and those who exercised more than that were 42% less likely to be depressed.
Regular consumption of green tea also appeared to reduce the risk of depression. Among the 183 women who drank tea, the risk of depression was about 36% lower compared with the non-tea drinkers. The majority of tea drinkers (90%) reported drinking green tea.
The researchers concluded that regular exercise and tea consumption could help prevent depression among breast cancer survivors.1,2
Consumption of green tea may be contraindicated for patients who are receiving treatment with Velcade® (bortezomib).
Polyphenols in green tea may actually negate the therapeutic benefits of the drug, according to the results of a study published in Blood.Velcade is a proteosome inhibitor that is used in the treatment of multiple myeloma. Proteosomes are proteins found in virtually all cells. They are responsible for the breakdown and reuse of a cell’s other proteins. Proteosomes regulate several aspects of cellular activity, including survival. By inhibiting proteosomes, Velcade has demonstrated an ability to reduce cellular survival.
Green tea has often been lauded as a “miracle herb,” and many holistic healthcare practitioners advocate for heavy use of it. Green tea contains a polyphenol called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) that has been shown to prevent cancer cells by changing the way normal cells react to potential carcinogens entering the body. EGCG also appears to create chemical changes that kill active cancer cells in multiple myeloma, breast, cervical, and colon cancer tumors. As a result, many cancer patients turn to green tea with the hopes that it will help in the fight against cancer.
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However, recent research indicates that green tea may have its drawbacks.Because of the apparent anti-tumor effects of green tea, researchers conducted a study to determine whether a combination of green tea and Velcade would provide increased anti-tumor activity in multiple myeloma and glioblastoma. On the contrary, the results indicated that the EGCG in green tea prevented the tumor cell death induced by Velcade. This unexpected effect of EGCG only occurred with boronic acid-based proteosome inhibitors (Velcade, MG-262, PS-IX) and not with several non-boronic acid-based proteosome inhibitors (Viracept, MG-132, PS-I). The researchers stated: “EGCG directly reacted with Velcade and blocked its proteosome inhibitory function.” As a result, Velcade could not induce tumor cell death.The researchers concluded that green tea polyphenols may inhibit the anti-tumor activity of Velcade and suggest that green tea products may be contraindicated for patients receiving therapy with Velcade.3-7
Green Tea Does Not Appear Effective for Metastatic Prostate Cancer
Green tea does not appear to be an effective treatment option for patients with metastatic, androgen-independent prostate cancer.
Researchers from the Mayo Clinic recently conducted a clinical trial evaluating the effects of green tea in the treatment of metastatic, androgen-independent prostate cancer. Green tea contains substances called polyphenols, which have demonstrated an ability to inhibit cancer growth and induce cancer cell death in laboratory studies. Patients in this trial received six grams of green tea daily and were monitored monthly. Initially, 4% of patients achieved a 50% decrease in their PSA levels. However, four months following treatment, no patient maintained these declined PSA levels. At the end of the first month, the average PSA levels had increased by 41%. Side effects were mild and included nausea, vomiting, insomnia, fatigue, diarrhea, abdominal pain and confusion.8
The researchers concluded that green tea does not appear to be very effective for the treatment of metastatic, androgen-independent prostate cancer. However, different manufacturing styles and/or forms of this compound (i.e. tincture, powder, oil) may provide different results.
Green Tea Appears Ineffective Against Hormone-Resistant Prostate Cancer
According to a study recently published in the journal Cancer, green tea failed to reduce prostate specific antigen levels in patients with advanced prostate cancer.
Another clinical trial conducted at the Mayo Clinic and the North Central Cancer Treatment Group enrolled 42 men with advanced, hormone-resistant prostate cancer. Each patient consumed six concentrated doses of green tea daily, roughly the equivalent of 6-12 glasses of green tea a day. Each month, PSA levels for patients were measured to determine effectiveness of treatment. At the end of the first month, only one patient experienced a decrease in PSA levels. The drop was significant, 50%, but lasted for only two months. In contrast, the remaining patients experienced a minimum PSA increase of 43% after the first month of treatment with green tea.
Side effects were also a problem during the study. The majority of patients reported experiencing mild to severe nausea, vomiting, insomnia, and confusion. These side effects are classic symptoms of caffeine overdose, which researchers attributed to the caffeine within green tea.
These researchers concluded that green tea does not appear to be an effective treatment for advanced, hormone-resistant prostate cancer. However, they noted that this form of prostate cancer is particularly difficult to treat and suggested that research on green tea for other forms of prostate cancer should continue.9
- Chen X, Lu W, Zheng Y, et al. Exercise, tea consumption, and depression among breast cancer survivors. Journal of Clinical Oncology [early online publication]. January 4, 2010.
- Burgess C, Cornelius V, Love S, et al. Depression and anxiety in women with early breast cancer: Five year observational cohort study. British Medical Journal. 2005; 330: 702.
- Golden EB, Lam PY, Kardosh A, et al. Green tea polyphenols block the anticancer effects of bortezomib and other boronic acid-based proteasome inhibitors. Blood [early online publication]. February 3, 2009.
- Shammas MA, Neri P, Koley H, Batchu RB, Bertheau RC, Munshi V, Prabhala R, Fulciniti M, Tai YT, Treon SP, Goyal RK, Anderson KC, Munshi NC. Specific killing of multiple myeloma cells by (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate extracted from green tea: biologic activity and therapeutic implications Blood. 2006;108(8):2804-10.
- Zhao X, Tian H, Ma X, Li L. Epigallocatechin gallate, the main ingredient of green tea induces apoptosis in breast cancer cells. Front Biosci. 2006;11:2428-33.
- Zhang Q, Tang X, Lu Q, Zhang Z, Rao J, Le AD. Green tea extract and (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate inhibit hypoxia- and serum-induced HIF-1alpha protein accumulation and VEGF expression in human cervical carcinoma and hepatoma cells. Mol Cancer Ther. 2006;5(5):1227-38.
- Peng G, Dixon DA, Muga SJ, Smith TJ, Wargovich MJ. Green tea polyphenol (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate inhibits cyclooxygenase-2 expression in colon carcinogenesis. Mol Carcinog. 2006;45(5):309-19.
- Aminah J, Dakhil S, Burch P, et al. A phase II trial of green tea for androgen-independent prostate cancer: A North Central Cancer Treatment Group (NCCTG) trial. American Association for Cancer Research. 2002;Abstract 2444.
- Jatoi A, Ellison N, Burch PA, et al. A Phase II trial of green tea in the treatment of patients with androgen independent metastatic prostate carcinoma.