Can green tea help fight cancer?
In 2009, Jeannie Wildin was introduced to matcha tea by her mother-in-law’s Thai sister, Pao, as part of a Buddhist tradition. She did not know that four years later she would be drinking it again, this time for its reported health benefits.
“Pao drank it every morning before drinking or consuming anything,” Wildin said. “She told us it had all kinds of health benefits, including being rumored to help cure types of cancer.”
When Wildin’s mother was diagnosed with cancer, Wildin did some research on the tea. Her mother would not agree to drink it, but recently a friend who has cancer has given it a try.
“She’s been using the tea and no other medication every day for three months now and has seen her white count cut in half,” Wildin said.
While the medical value of tea for cancer patients has not been proved, Wildin said her friend’s doctor told her to not stop drinking it.
Wildin and her husband, Brad, have been drinking the tea every morning since then.
“You have to get it in powder form,” she said. “That way you are consuming the whole leaf. If it is consumed any other way then it does not work.
Dr. Don Hodson of Marion Family Physicians said he had heard of matcha tea but had never used it. He said it was possible the tea might hype the right part of the immune system to be effective in cancer treatment.
“I can’t disprove herbal medications because the Chinese and German have thousands of years of history of them working,” he said. “I tell my patients if you take them and feel good and it works even a little, then that’s fine.”
Hodson said people have to watch out for marketing that hypes products as something other than what they are. He encourages people to research a product before consuming it.
“If you research, you can see all kinds of data on things it helps with,” Wildin said. “I don’t openly go out and promote it, I don’t sell it. I encourage people to decide for themselves if they want to use the tea to improve their lifestyle.”
Wildin has noticed the tea had positive effects on her energy and digestion and even helped her lose some weight.
“For hundreds of years research has shown green tea is good for people,” she said. “Matcha tea is the green tea powerhouse. It’s the variety that can give people the most health benefits, if they choose to drink it.”