Logo of Rakura at right

Studies have found that tea helps with the prevention cancer, heart disease, and diabetes; encourages weight loss; lower cholesterol; and bring about mental alertness. Tea also appears to have antimicrobial and immune system boosting qualities, hence maintaining overall wellbeing. We’ve tried to research all the numerous ways that tea does you good and enumerated the major points and studies, so please read up while you enjoy another cup of Rakura.

Antioxidants are substances that scavenge free radicals — damaging compounds in the body that alter cells, tamper with DNA (genetic material), and even cause cell death. Antioxidants in tea help to reduce free radicals, which are known to damage cells and possibly lead to heart disease and cancer. Antioxidants have been proven to improve effects of aging as well as repair skin cells. This function can result in overall healthier skin. White, green and black teas have high concentration of antioxidants.

The amino acid L-theanine, found almost exclusively in the tea plant, affects the brain’s neurotransmitters and increases alpha brain-wave activity. The result is a calmer, yet more alert, state of mind.

The Polyphenols in tea have been shown to help increase the white blood cell count, which is responsible for fighting infection. The high vitamin C content found primarily in Green Tea also helps to strengthen the immune system.

According to Human population studies, people who regularly consume three or more cups of black Tea per day have a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke. Clinical studies suggest that the risk reduction associated with Tea  consumption may be due to improvement in some risk factors for cardiovascular disease, including blood vessel function, platelet function and a reduction in oxidative damage.

While researchers are still examining the various mechanisms by which tea flavonoids function, some studies found multifunctional mechanisms, meaning that several mechanisms work in tandem to collectively improve signs for cardiovascular health. Important areas of tea and cardiovascular health research include blood vessel and endothelial function, or the ability of the blood vessels to dilate to allow for proper blood flow, serum cholesterol levels and Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol oxidation. Each of these factors impact the risk of myocardial infarctions (heart attacks), stroke and cardiovascular disease. Study findings in the area of tea and the reduction in cardiovascular disease risk include the following:

  • A total of 3,430 men and women aged 30-70 years from the Saudi Coronary Artery Disease Study were examined and 6.3 per cent were found to have indications of coronary heart disease (CHD). The researchers found that those who drank more than six cups of tea per day (>480 mL) had significantly lower prevalence of CHD than non-tea drinkers, even after adjustment for risk factors like age and smoking. The researchers also found that drinking six or more cups of Black Tea per day was associated with decreased serum cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations.
  • The Zutphen study, which assessed 805 male subjects over a period of five years, found that the incidence of fatal and nonfatal first myocardial infarction and mortality from stroke decreased significantly as intake of flavonoids, derived mainly from tea, increased in a dose-dependent manner.  A follow-up to this study found that high intake of flavonoids significantly lowered the risk of stroke in study participants.
  • A Harvard study examined 340 men and women who had suffered heart attacks and compared them to matched control subjects. They found that those who drank a cup or more of Black Tea daily had a 44 per cent reduction in the risk of heart attack compared to non-tea drinkers.
  • Another recent Harvard study of 1,900 people found that those who consumed tea during the year prior to a heart attack were up to 44 per cent more likely to survive over the three to four years following the event. Those who consumed fewer than 14 cups of tea per week experienced a 28 per cent reduced death rate, and those who consumed more than 14 cups of tea per week were found to have a 44 per cent reduced death rate, as compared to non-tea drinkers.

Tea can lower your LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol and increase your HDL, or “good,” cholesterol. Keeping your arteries smooth and Clog free, the same way a drain keeps your Bathroom pipes clear. Researchers believe that the polyphenols in green tea can block or slow the intestinal absorption of blood cholesterol, and even encourage your body to excrete excess cholesterol that can otherwise form clots in your arteries. The mechanism behind the blood cholesterol lowering effects of tea may be rooted in the effect of theaflavins, through interfering with the formation of dietary mixed micelles, which could result in Tea reduced intestinal cholesterol absorption.

  • Studies at Vanderbilt University confirm this finding that green tea lowered LDL cholesterol by as much as 16 percent in 12 weeks. High cholesterol is one of the primary risk factors for heart disease.

Preliminary research suggests that the flavonoids in tea play a role in human cancer risk reduction possibly by combating free radical damage, inhibiting uncontrolled cell growth (cell proliferation), by promoting programmed cell death (apoptosis) and boosting the immune system to help fend off the development and promotion of cancer cells.

Digestive Cancers

  • An epidemiological study conducted by the University of North Carolina found consumption of the equivalent of 2.5 cups of tea per day or more was associated with a 60 per cent drop in rectal cancer risk among Russian women from Moscow, as compared to women who drank relatively less than 1.2 cups of tea per day. Those women who drank approximately 1.2 to 2.5 cups of tea per day had a 52 per cent reduction in the risk of rectal cancer.
  • Based on data from the NHANES I Follow-Up study (NHEFS), researchers found that tea drinkers had about a 42 per cent reduced risk of colon cancer as compared to non-tea drinkers. Men who drank more than 1.5 cups of tea per day were found to have a 70 per cent lower colon cancer risk.
  • Researchers who followed a group of over 34,000 postmenopausal healthy women between 55 – 69 years of age for 12 years found that those consuming high levels of catechins experienced up to a 45 percent decrease in the instances of rectal cancer. Catechins are a class of flavonoids found in tea, fruits and vegetables. Catechins derived from tea were most strongly linked to a decrease in rectal cancer.
  • The Iowa Women’s Study, which followed post-menopausal women between the ages of 55 and 69 for eight years, found that participants who drank two or more cups of tea per day had a 32 and 60 percent reduced risk of developing digestive and urinary tract cancers, respectively.
  • A study conducted with members of the Shanghai Cohort (18,244 men aged 45-64 years at recruitment with up to 12 years of follow-up) discovered a statistically significant inverse relationship between positive tea polyphenol levels (as measured in urine) and gastric cancer.
  • A large population-based case-control study found an inverse relationship between Green Tea consumption and the risk of colon, rectal and pancreatic cancer. Male participants, who drank the equivalent of 4.5 servings of tea per day, had an 18 percent decrease in colon cancer risk and 28 percent decreased risk of rectal cancer. Female participants, who drank 3 servings of tea per day, were observed to have a decreased risk of colon and rectal cancer by 33 percent and 43 percent, respectively. Risk of pancreatic cancer was also reduced in both men and women by 37 percent and 47 percent, respectively.
  • Researchers in Taiwan discovered a link between EGCG and cancer risk reduction. The researchers found that the Green Tea polyphenol inhibited proliferation of the cancer cells by inducing cell death and blocking cell cycle progression.

Prostrate Cancer

  • Researchers at the University of Wisconsin, Madison reviewed the existing literature about tea as a preventative measure for prostate cancer among men. Based on epidemiological, in vitro and in vivo studies, the researchers suggest that tea—especially Green Tea—may be a good public health recommendation that may help prevent prostate cancer.

Skin Cancer

  • According to a study conducted by the University of Arizona, participants who drank iced Black Tea and citrus peel had a 42 percent reduced risk of skin cancer.
  • Hot Black Tea consumption is associated with a significantly lower risk of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), a form of skin cancer; tea concentration (strength), brewing time and temperature all influence the potential protective effects of hot Black Tea on SCC.
  • Green Tea polyphenols have cancer prevention potential, especially in the case of solar UV-induced cancer.
  • Research suggests that compounds in Green Tea may protect skin from ultraviolet (UV) radiation-induced damage when applied topically.

Oral Cancers

  • Researchers examined the effects of tea and curcumin, a spice and food-coloring agent, on oral cancer in hamsters. Hamsters were treated with a topical cancer-causing solution inside the cheek three times a week for six weeks. Two days after the last treatment of the solution, the hamsters were given Green Tea as drinking fluid or curcumin applied topically three times per week, the combination of Green Tea and curcumin treatment, or no treatment for 18 weeks. At the end of this period, the scientists observed that the combination of tea and curcumin significantly decreased the number of visible tumors and tumor volume. Furthermore, tea alone and in combination with curcumin increased cancer cell death (apoptosis)

Lung Cancer

  • In a recent review of observational studies on tea consumption, flavonoid intake, and lung cancer risk, evidence suggests beneficial associations for green and black tea, especially among never-smokers. The review notes that studies reporting increased risk with high tea intake are older and later published data have not confirmed these concerns. Tea catechins were evaluated for their effects on cell proliferation, apoptosis and associated gene expression in highly metastatic human lung cancer cells. A significant reduction in cell proliferation after exposure to tea catechins was noted. It is suggested that tea compounds can influence genetic alteration to reduce the grown and survival of human lung cancer cells.

Ovarian Cancer

  • A case-control study conducted in China, which employed 254 patients with histologically confirmed epithelial ovarian cancer and 652 control subjects, determined tea consumption based on a validated questionnaire and found that, after accounting for demographic, lifestyle and familial factors, ovarian cancer risk declined with increasing frequency and duration of overall tea consumption
  • A population-based study involving over 61,000 Swedish women aged 40-76 found that drinking Black Tea was associated with a reduced risk of ovarian cancer. The study found that women who drank the most tea—green or black—were least likely to develop ovarian cancer over the 15-year study follow-up. Women who drank two or more cups of tea daily experienced a 46 percent reduction in risk compared to women who reported not drinking tea. Even small amounts of tea (less than one cup per day) reduced risk by 18 percent, while one cup per day reduced risk by 24 percent. Although previous studies evaluating the effects of tea consumption and ovarian cancer found inconsistent results, the researchers noted that the large size of this study and long-term follow-up provides compelling evidence that tea drinking may indeed offer protection against this type of cancer.

Breast Cancer

  • Japanese researchers at Saitoma Cancer Centre Research Institute have found that in heavy consumers of green tea, cancer spread to lymph nodes was less frequent. Women with less aggressive breast cancer who drank more than 5 cups of green tea a day were 50% less likely to have a recurrence than women drinking less than 4 cups daily. Green tea appears to improve prognosis and survival by suppressing spread and growth of breast cancer.


  • Newly published research reports that tea polyphenols, particularly (–)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate, are bioavailable to the brain and can act via antioxidant, iron-chelation, signal transduction modulation, and other mechanisms to effect neuroprotective and/or neurorescue action, with potential implications for age-related dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
  • A prospective cohort study of nearly 30,000 Finnish adults aged 25 to 74 years old, who were followed for 13 years, found that tea drinking was associated with a reduced risk of Parkinson’s disease. Among tea drinkers, those who reported drinking three or more cups of tea per day were 69% less likely to develop Parkinson’s disease compared to those who reported not drinking tea.


  • Clinical trials conducted by the University of Geneva and the University of Birmingham indicate that green tea raises metabolic rates, speeds up fat oxidation and improves insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance. In addition to caffeine, green tea contains catechin polyphenols that facilitate the burning of calories. Green Tea extract was found to significantly increase 24-hour energy expenditure and fat oxidation in healthy men. After three months of consumption of Green Tea extract by moderately obese patients, body weight decreased by 4.6 percent and waist circumference decreased by 4.48 percent.
  • Japanese researchers found that in a 12-week, double-blind and placebo-controlled study, greet tea catechins led to a reduction in body fat, blood pressure and LDL cholesterol compared to the control group. The authors suggest that Green Tea catechins may help prevent obesity and reduce risk for cardiovascular disease.


The Polyphenols in tea have been shown to help increase the white blood cell count, which is responsible for fighting infection. The high vitamin C content found primarily in Green Tea also helps to strengthen the immune system.

  • According to the researcher’s a substance in tea, L-theanine, which primes the immune system in fighting infection, bacteria, viruses and fungi. A subsequent human clinical trial showed that certain immune cells of participants who drank five cups of Black Tea a day for two to four weeks secreted up to four times more interferon, an important part of the body’s immune defense, than at baseline. Consumption of the same amount of coffee for the same duration had no effect on interferon levels. According to the authors, this study suggests that drinking Black Tea provides the body’s immune system with natural resistance to microbial infection.


Tea also contributes to oral health. The flavonoids in tea may inhibit the plaque-forming ability of oral bacteria and the fluoride in tea may support healthy tooth enamel.

  • A recent study conducted at the New York University Dental Centre examined the effects of Black Tea extract on dental caries formation in hamsters. Compared to those who were fed water with their food, hamsters, which were fed water with Black Tea, extract developed up to 63.7 percent fewer dental caries


In addition to valuable antioxidant properties and contributing to our daily fluid intake target of 2.5 liters, tea contains many vitamins, minerals and amino acids that includes

  • Vitamins: C, K, B12, B6 and E
  • Minerals: Trace amounts of potassium, manganese, magnesium, calcium
  • Amino Acids: Tea is a strong source of amino acids including L-theanine.


Although the benefits of tea are numerous, it is important to note that tea does contain minimal doses of caffeine (almost the same as a bar of plain chocolate) that can be beneficial to a regular tea drinker’s health, it is best to use caution and limit intake to less than 200mg (about 4 cups) a day for caffeine sensitive individuals and pregnant women. During pregnancy, caffeine may inhibit iron absorption and increase the load on the liver that is already busy processing various pregnancy hormones.

For Pregnant and caffeine sensitive individual, we recommend the Do-it-yourself Decaf

  • Caffeine is the first substance released into the water during steeping (this occurs within the first 25 seconds). To decaffeinate your tea, steep the leaves or bag for 30 seconds, dump the water, then refill your cup with hot water and steep again. Most of the caffeine will be removed.


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