Can the active compound in green tea protect you from viruses?
by Michael Nelson on Apr 09, 2020
Traditional botanical medicines have been used effectively for thousands of years to combat infectious diseases caused by viruses. Viral infections are responsible not only for acute infectious symptoms, such as fever, headache, GI symptoms, acute respiratory syndrome but also many chronic diseases such as cancer and dementia. To prevent diseases caused by viruses, the discovery of effective antiviral therapies, and vaccine development, has been at the forefront of medical research. While vaccines are offered every year as the flu season rolls around, they quickly become obsolete and ineffective due to the virus’s ability to masquerade and evade the immune system. Viral mutation can occur within hours of being infected, leaving the infected host to simply hold on and let the virus run its course. Thankfully nature has some very useful tools when it comes to natural methods for viral solutions.
EGcG to the Rescue!
Scientists have found green tea catechins (GTCs) and polyphenolic compounds from the leaves of Camellia sinensis possess unique and profound ability to protect humans from viral infections by interfering with viral replication, mutation, and entry into the host cell. The cornerstone of viral infections is the ability of the viral vectors to gain Entry, Replicate and Mutate and ultimately hijack the bodies DNA. EGCG a polyphenol found in green tea has been identified as an effective agent in combatting and supporting viral entry, replication and mutation(1). By slowing this viral assault your immune system that normally requires up to 7 days to mount an appropriate immune response can ultimately destroy the virus. EGCG has been shown to interfere with the virulence associated with viral infections due to its ability to reduce viral entry, replication and mutation. This delay in our immune response also known as the “asymptomatic phase” gives the virus time to cloak itself and evade the immune response and infect others. In recent decades, EGCG has been reported to provide various health benefits against numerous diseases including viral infections. Studies have shown that EGCG, is effective as an antiviral effects against a host of viruses including both DNA and RNA viruses. According to scientific researchers reporting in the journal Antiviral Research (2) “we have tested three isolated catechin compounds in in vitro culture of influenza viruses in MDCK cells. Among the test compounds, the EGCG and ECG were found to be potent inhibitors of influenza virus growth, and this effect was observed in all virus subtypes tested, including A/H1N1, A/H3N2 and B virus that currently afflicts human population”.
More recently Steinmann et al, reported in the British Journal of Pharmacology(3) “The green tea molecule EGCG affected the infectivity of influenza virus in cell culture and it was shown to agglutinate the viruses, preventing the virus from absorbing to MDCK cells” Again demonstrating the impact of EGCG on viral entry. In addition, in another randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, demonstrated the consumption of EGCG for 5 months had a statistically significant preventive effect on clinically defined influenza infection and was well tolerated (4)
(Matsumoto et al., 2012). “The results of these trials indicate these catechins have a protective effect against influenza virus; however, large-scale studies are needed to confirm this”.
Disclaimer: this is information is not intended to treat, cure or prevent any illness.
Please consult with your physician before using any new supplementation or treatment.
2) Antiviral effect of catechins in green tea on influenza virus, Antiviral Research 68 (2005) 66–74
3) British Journal of Pharmacology (2013) 168 1059–1073 1059
4) Matsumoto Y, Kaihatsu K, Nishino K, Ogawa M, Kato N, Yamaguchi A (2012). Antibacterial and antifungal activities of new acylated derivatives of epigallocatechin gallate. Front Microbiol 3: 53.