While completing my master’s degree, I opted to take a class focusing on cancer and cancer research. During the semester, we learned about several modalities, including Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), and how they can be used to treat many complicated ailments. Cancer is a very complicated disease of the body. Most don’t know, but cancer is a group of more than 100 different diseases. It can develop almost anywhere in the body. Cancer, in the most basic of definitions, is essentially a cell going haywire, growing uncontrollably and sucking the life out of everything around it. Cells are the basic units that make up the human body. Cells grow and divide to make new cells as the body needs them. Usually, cells die when they get too old or damaged. Then, new cells take their place. Cancer begins when genetic changes interfere with this orderly process. Cells start to grow uncontrollably. These cells may form a mass called a tumor. My personal beliefs are that our collective lifestyle choices directly affect the stress we put on our bodies, and thus our cells. Our bodies cannot keep up with the physical demands of the trauma we put it through everyday, day in and day out, and as a result, it’s the bodies’ last attempt to be able to handle everything being thrown at it. Trauma would include factors such as poor diet which let’s face it,if you live in the U.S is probably poor, and the environment, which again let’s face it, with events such as fracking still legal in this country, why the hell not? Unfortunately, this turns out to be a a self-destruct button, as our bodies turns against itself. As the disparities that face many communities, especially the African American community, grow at an astonishing rate, I wanted to be able to bring this knowledge to those who need it most, which is why I started this blog.
I learned so much about several easy to access and easy to afford methods that can easily lower your risk by cancer by leaps and bounds. Enter Green Tea. Green tea is a drink made from the dried leaves of the Asian plant Camellia sinensis. This tea is consumed widely across Asia, which happens to have the lowest cancer rates than other parts of the world. Some people believe this is because of the high intake of green tea.
You may also hear green tea called Chinese tea. The substance in green tea that researchers think is most helpful is called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). It’s clear that EGCG and other green tea antioxidants can stop cancer cells from growing, even directly kill them. They also seem to be able to prevent new blood vessels from forming within tumors that help cancer cells to grow rapidly and spread to other parts of the body. EGCG does this by interfering specifically with multiple biological mechanisms in cancer cells – and it appears to do so without affecting normal cells. EGCG is available as green tea extract which some people take as a supplement in liquid or capsules. Some people, including myself, take it because they believe it might:
- boost their immune system which might help them fight their cancer
- improve health, energy levels and well being
- get rid of toxins in the body
- give them some control over their cancer and its treatment
- treat their cancer if no other conventional treatment can
Some people think green tea might reduce their risk of getting cancer. There is some evidence from early studies to suggest that having green tea might reduce the risk of some cancers. Some laboratory studies have shown that extracts from green tea can stop cancer cells from growing. Green tea contains substances called polyphenols, and a sub group called catechins, which scientists think give it antioxidant properties. But while these lab results are encouraging, we need evidence from human studies to prove them. An overview of studies (a meta analysis) published in 2014 suggested that green tea could reduce the risk of developing mouth cancers. Another meta analysis has suggested that drinking green tea could reduce the risk of lung cancer. One study has shown a protective effect of green tea on bladder cancer development. The risk of developing cancer of the food pipe also seems to be reduced in women who drink green tea.
More recently, black tea has also been promoted as an anti cancer agent. Black tea comes from the same plant as green tea. But black tea is made from the fermented leaves of the plant. In 2012 an American study looked at giving a green tea extract called polyphenon E to 42 patients with a type of leukaemia called chronic lymphocytic leukaemia. The people in the trial were not taking any other kind of treatment. The researchers found that the number of leukaemic cells lessened in a third of the participants and their lymph nodes shrank. This is a small trial but the results are promising. We need larger trials before we know whether green tea or its extracts can help people with cancer.
All in all, someone is doing it right, and that can’t always be shown in numbers and stats.
Until next time tribe,