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Brain up with tea: new study shows how tea improves brain function

Posted date:
29th May '15

Both black and green tea are linked with improved cognitive function according to a new study, just published.1

Commenting on the new research, Dr Tim Bond from the Tea Advisory Panel notes: “Tea has been associated with many mental health benefits such as improved mental attention, clarity of mind and relaxation.2 These features can be measured in terms of brain activity using an electroencephalogram (EEG). In this study, an EEG was used to measure brain activity following black and green consumption.

“Healthy volunteers participated in this study and were given a drink of black or green tea. Three types of brain wave activities - alpha, beta and theta were all found to increase within one hour of drinking a cup of black or green tea.

“There was a highly significant increase in theta waves within 30 minutes to one hour of drinking green tea suggesting that green tea in particular has an important effect on cognitive function. Recent studies have demonstrated an association between increased theta activity and improved cognitive performance (verbal memory, attention, and executive function).3,4

“Individual variation in brain waves was apparent in the study which may be due to genetic differences between the participants.”

In summary Dr Bond from TAP adds: “Overall this study showed an effect of black and green tea on brain wave activity indicating the mechanism by which tea consumption could improve cognitive function. The findings from this study adds yet more evidence to that from earlier studies that have shown that tea consumption contributes to improved cognitive function.”

Chamomile tea protects against thyroid cancer

Chamomile tea protects against thyroid cancer according to a new study published in the European Journal of Public Health.5

Commenting on this other study news, herbalist Dr Chris Etheridge from TAP notes: “This was a study among 113 Greek patients with thyroid cancer, 286 patients with benign thyroid diseases and 138 healthy controls. All were interviewed with a pre-structured questionnaire in person by trained interviewers to find out about their tea and coffee consumption and a wide range of other health and demographic factors. 

“The researchers found that greater chamomile tea consumption was associated with lower and benign and malignant thyroid diseases. The finding was highly significant. Consumption of chamomile tea two to six times a week reduced the risk of thyroid cancer by 70 per cent and benign thyroid disease by 84 per cent. The duration of consumption of chamomile tea was also inversely associated with the thyroid diseases. Thirty years of consumption significantly reduced the risk of thyroid cancer and benign thyroid diseases development by almost 80%.

“The reasons for the protective effect of Chamomile tea in cancer are likely to be due to their anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer activity, mainly due to the polyphenols, flavonoids and catechins that this infusion contains.

“Several studies have evaluated the effects of black and green tea on various cancers6 but this is the first study to show that a herbal tea can reduce the risk of developing thyroid cancer. Given the similarity in the groups of ingredients across several types of tea (eg, flavonoids and catechins), these findings contribute to the evidence base that reflects a potential benefit for tea consumption in reducing the risk of cancer.”

In summary, Dr Carrie Ruxton from TAP notes; “Tea is very popular beverage in the UK and these latest findings together with many other published studies continue to suggest that Britain’s’ favorite beverage is good for our health including our heart and vascular system too.”

- ENDS -

The Tea Advisory Panel: The Tea Advisory Panel is supported by an unrestricted educational grant from the UK TEA & INFUSIONS ASSOCIATION, the trade association for the UK tea industry. The Panel has been created to provide media with impartial information regarding the health benefits of tea. Panel members include nutritionists; dieticians and doctors.

For further information please contact:
Nicky Smith: nicky.smith@nexuspr.com/ 0207 052 8850
Isla Haslam: isla.haslam@nexuspr.com / 0207528880
Chanelle Kearey: chanelle.kearey@nexuspr.com / 02070528854


1 Edward J. Okello; Awatf M. Abadi; Saad A. Abadi. Effects of green and black tea consumption on brain wave activities in healthy volunteers as measured by a simplified Electroencephalogram (EEG): A feasibility study. Nutritional Neuroscience 2015.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1179/1476830515Y.0000000008.

2 Bryan J. Psychological effects of dietary components of tea: caffeine and L-theanine. Nutr Rev 2008;66:82–90.

3 Park SK, Jung IC, Lee WK, Lee YS, Park HK, Go HJ, et al. A combination of green tea extract and L-theanine improves memory and attention in subjects with mild cognitive impairment: a double-blind placebo-controlled study. J Med Food 2011;14:334–43

4 Finnigan S, Robertson IH. Resting EEG theta power correlates with cognitive performance in healthy older adults. Psychophysiology 2011;48:1083–7.

5 Elena Riza, Athena Linos, Athanassios Petralias et al. The effect of Greek herbal tea consumption on thyroid cancer: a case-control study. European Journal of Public Health. Published on line April 4, 2015.

6 Lambert JD. Does tea prevent cancer? Evidence from laboratory and human intervention studies. Am J Clin Nutr 2013;98:1667S–75.

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