Research has shown Green Tea to be beneficial in many inflammatory conditions including heart disease, cancer, and Inflammatory Bowel Disease1, but it might be surprising to learn of the effect Green Tea has on inflammatory conditions such as Rheumatoid Arthritis. Green tea is made from unfermented leaves of Camellia sinensis and the average cup of green tea contains 50 to 150 milligrams of polyphenols. Polyphenols are powerful antioxidants which contain catechins and have been shown to be up to 100 times more potent than Vitamins C and E.
Research has also shown the amazing effects of green tea polyphenols on Rheumatoid Arthritis through the suppression of both pro-inflammatory cytokine IL-17 and specific antibodies, while increasing important anti-inflammatory cytokines. Also found in studies, autoimmune conditions such as arthritis and multiple sclerosis are associated with T helper dependent (inflammatory and disease causing) responses. Evidence supports that the suppression of pro inflammatory IL-17 and increased production of anti-inflammatory IL- 10 cytokines can “prevent or alleviate these conditions”. Green Tea affects a number of important anti inflammatory markers including regulating insulin activity making it a great addition to a diabetes protocol as well.
So what all this means is....green tea is great at reducing inflammation in the body! Chronic inflammation is what is responsible for most diseased states in the body.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are the standard conventional treatment for RA, but their prolonged use is associated with many adverse effects. The benefits of green tea are astounding and more and more positive health effects from it are becoming recognized. It is important to note, that drinking very high doses of green tea (more than 5 cups per day) can interfere with iron absorption so this would need to be monitored if given at therapeutic doses. However, therapeutic effects can be seen with 1-4 cups per day.
University of Maryland Medical Center, Green Tea, http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/green-tea/ Accessed March 24, 2015
Ahmed S. Green tea polyphenol epigallocatechin 3-gallate in arthritis: progress and promise. Arthritis Res Ther. 2010;12(2):208.
Kim HR, Rajaiah R, Wu QL, et al. Green tea protects rats against autoimmune arthritis by modulating disease-related immune events. The Journal of Nutrition. 2008; 138(11):2111–2116.
Cao H, Kelly MA, Kari F, et al. Green tea increases anti-inflammatory tristetraprolin and decreases pro-inflammatory tumor necrosis factor mRNA levels in rats. J Inflamm (Lond). 2007;4:1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1783848/