Tea Gargling for HealthDecember 5, 2011 Written by JP [Font too small?]
The old adage goes, “If something seems too good to be true, it probably is”. The field of alternative medicine is replete with examples of this truism. Countless ancient and innovative remedies, often carrying hefty price tags and inadequate and/or unreliable evidence, are promoted as virtual panaceas both online and in health food stores worldwide. However, as another saying goes, “There are exceptions to every rule”. It’s all the better when these exceptions happen to be economical and safe.
Gargling with tea in order to reduce the incidence and severity of upper respiratory infections is a great example of the best case scenario. A just published study in the Journal of Epidemiology is the latest publication to support the practice of gargling with tea. In the research, a group of over 19,000 nursery school children was observed over a 20 day period. The young participants were classified into two groups: those who gargled during a period of respiratory infection and those who did not. The children who gargled with green tea were much less likely (- 68%) to present fever than non-garglers. Similar findings have been documented in other age groups, including healthy adults and seniors residing in nursing homes. In the study involving the elderly residents, a gargling solution containing 200 microg/mL of green tea catechins, was administered thrice-daily over the duration of a typical cold and flu season. Some trials have even reported that black tea and plain old tap water likewise decrease the duration and risk of respiratory infections. These findings have lead some health advocates to recommend the widespread use of gargling in an attempt to reduce health care, insurance and workplace spending.
If you’re wondering how gargling with tea has such a potent preventive effect, the answer may lie in previous investigations unrelated to gargling. In them, researchers report that: Rinsing with tea extracts produces significant antimicrobial activity in the mouth. And, drinking green tea supports immune function by stimulating a subset of T-cells which may protect against influenza infection in at-risk populations such as health care workers. As winter approaches, I know I’ll be gargling as a preventive and therapeutic measure. Will you?
Note: Please check out the “Comments & Updates” section of this blog – at the bottom of the page. You can find the latest research about this topic there!
To learn more about the studies referenced in today’s column, please click on the following links:
Study 1 – Gargling for Oral Hygiene and the Development of Fever in Childhood … (link)
Study 2 – Gargling with Tea Catechin Extracts for the Prevention of Influenza … (link)
Study 3 – Prevention of Upper Respiratory Tract Infections by Gargling … (link)
Study 4 – Prophylactic Effect of Black Tea Extract as Gargle Against Influenza … (link)
Study 5 – Conventional and Alternative Medical Advice for Cold and Flu … (link)
Study 6 – Cost-Effectiveness of Gargling for the Prevention of Upper Respiratory … (link)
Study 7 – Potential Use of Tea Extract as a Complementary Mouthwash … (link)
Study 8 – Green Tea Consumption Is Inversely Associated with the Incidence … (link)
Study 9 – Effects of Green Tea Catechins and Theanine on Preventing Influenza … (link)
Study 10 – L-Theanine Intervention Enhances Human γδ T Lymphocyte Function … (link)
Garling May Decrease Health Care Costs & Drug-Related Side Effects
Source: BMC Health Serv Res. 2008 Dec 16;8:258. (link)
Tags: Cold, Flu, Green Tea, Tea
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Food and Drink, General Health