Tea is not only a tasty drink but it may also help to protect against the common cold. Here are three teas to stock up on this winter.
The cold and flu season is rapidly approaching. It’s time to strengthen the immune system to ward off the myriad of cold viruses that will surely lurk on public surfaces wherever you go. While there’s no cure for the pesky common cold, there is preliminary evidence that some of the foods and spices you eat can bolster the immune system to fight off the common cold virus. The same is true of what you drink. One of the most compelling examples of this is tea. When it comes to the prevention and treatment of colds, this simple drink may be an invaluable ally. Using tea for colds is not a new idea, having been given for hundreds of years to relieve various maladies. In recent years, there’s been growing scientific evidence to support the use of teas to treat colds. Here are some teas to consider the next time you get a cold:
Green tea has been in the spotlight recently for its potential role in disease prevention. The active ingredient in green tea appears to be naturally existing catechins, the most potent being EGCG. These catechins may also be effective in warding off the common cold virus. A study published in the journal Antiviral Research in 1995 showed that two of the catechins in green tea, EGCG and ECG are strong inhibitors of the influenza virus. This demonstrates the antiviral potential of green tea catechins. Several other studies have also demonstrated the antiviral capabilities of green tea. Unfortunately, no one knows the exact quantity of green tea catechins needed to ward off colds but adding a few cups to your daily diet might just be a cheap insurance policy this winter.
If there’s a tea that’s better than green tea for preventing the common cold, it may be white tea. An article published in Science Daily in 2004 discussed research conducted at Pace University using white tea extract. This study showed that an extract of white tea exhibited even stronger antibacterial and antiviral properties than did green tea. White tea extract also appeared to have antifungal properties, suggesting that it could be a potent ally in the prevention of infections of all types.
A study conducted at London’s Imperial College and published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry showed that drinking chamomile tea may be effective in fighting the common cold. Not only did it show the ability to reduce generalized inflammation but the essential oils found in the tea also had antimicrobial properties. While further controlled studies are still needed before chamomile tea could be recommended as a cold preventative, sipping chamomile tea is thought to have other health benefits such as promoting relaxation and good digestive health.
Tea for colds just may be good medicine for the upcoming cold and flu season. As you prepare for it, don’t forget to stock up on tea.