To say that tea can help fight against terrorism is perhaps not completely accurate. But over the course of the years there have been several studies that have found that tea can be of some use in fighting against one of the more unpleasant manifestations of terrorism – chemical and biological weapons.

British Tea Favourites (Photo source: The English Tea Store)

British Tea Favourites (Photo source: The English Tea Store)

Most recently, scientists at Cardiff University’s School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, in Wales, found that a compound in tea could be helpful in fighting against a chemical/biological weapon known as ricin. A highly toxic derivative of the castor bean plant, ricin has been considered for use in warfare as far back as World War I and has been involved in a number of attempted terrorist attacks in more recent times.

The compound known as epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG, is the component in tea that researchers claim is able to negate the ill effects of ricin. EGCG is also thought to be of some use in killing certain other microorganisms and inactivating other toxins. EGCG, as readers of the health articles that frequently appear in these pages, is one of the most frequently cited compounds in studies about tea’s health benefits. For more on this latest piece of research, look here.

Several years ago, some of the same Welsh researchers worked with a group from the University of Maryland and found that tea had the ability to inhibit the activity of anthrax, a biological weapon that was the cause of no small amount of concern in the weeks and months following the 9/11 attacks of 2001.

The research tea studied the effects of black tea, and specifically the blended English Breakfast tea variety, on anthrax. They found that it could be of use in inhibiting the effects of the biological weapon, as long as it wasn’t consumed with milk, which tended to inhibit those beneficial effects. Full results of the study don’t appear to be available online at present and so it’s not clear exactly why only black tea was recommended for fighting against anthrax. For more background on this study, look here.

Disclaimer: This is not intended as medical advice. Please consult your physician for your particular needs.

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