Green Tea Boosts Effectiveness

For years we have understood green tea's antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal abilities and it has been lauded as a natural antibiotic. Researchers have now determined that drinking green tea while taking prescription antibiotics significantly enhances their effectiveness. A substance called EGCG, which can be extracted from both green and white tea, takes the healing power of prescription antibiotics up a notch. (The difference between green tea and white tea is that white tea is picked as a younger plant than green tea and has a higher content of beneficial agents.)

A study conducted at Alexandria University in Egypt confirmed green tea is a powerful partner to antibiotics and improves their ability to mitigate drug-resistant bacteria, including the "superbugs." The researchers tested green tea in combination with antibiotics against 28 different organisms and found that green tea increased the effects of the drug, tripling it in some cases.

The reason the Egyptians decided to conduct the study is that green tea is widely consumed in Egypt and they wanted to know if it had any effects, positive or negative, on antibiotic effectiveness. In almost every case they studied, green tea consumption decreased the resistance of the bacteria. In their final report the Egyptian research team reported that the study's results show "that we should consider more seriously the natural products we consume in everyday life to see whether they contain compounds that could help in the battle against drug-resistant bacteria."

A study conducted by the US Department of Agriculture yielded similar results. The effects of 11 catechins, which are antioxidants in green tea, exhibited bacteria-killing activities, even at low levels. In some cases, green tea alone demonstrated more antibiotic properties than some widely prescribed drugs such as tetracycline and vancomycin.

Green tea is also lauded for its immune-boosting properties and is linked to a decreased risk for serious health issues, including cancer and heart disease. Some researchers believe it can lower the risk for Alzheimer's disease because it helps reduce plaque deposits in the brain. Many people use it as a weight control aid since it promotes fat oxidation.

In order to capture the catechins and flavonoids from tea, you should drink it freshly brewed. Green tea is delicious hot and also makes a refreshing iced drink on a hot summer day. Green tea is available as a nutritional supplement for people who are not inclined to drink several cups per day. The supplements are available in tablet, liquid and powdered form and can be purchased online and at natural health stores.

Although prescription antibiotics are not always the best choice, there are some cases where they are required to deal with serious illnesses or injuries where infections persist. If it becomes necessary for you to take prescription antibiotics consider adding green tea to your bacteria-fighting arsenal.

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