Pharmacological effects of green tea on the gastrointestinal system
Author: Marcel W.L. Koo and Chi H. Cho
Green tea is rich in polyphenolic compounds, with catechins as its major component. Studies have shown that catechins possess diverse pharmacological properties that include anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic, anti-arteriosclerotic and anti-bacterial effects. In the gastrointestinal tract, green tea was found to activate intracellular antioxidants, inhibit procarcinogen formation, suppress angiogenesis and cancer cell proliferation. Studies on the preventive effect of green tea in esophageal cancer have produced inconsistent results; however, inverse relationships of tea consumption with cancers of the stomach and colon have been widely reported. Green tea is effective to prevent dental caries and reduce cholesterols and lipids absorption in the gastrointestinal tract, thus benefits subjects with cardiovascular disorders. As tea catechins are well absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract and they interact synergistically in their disease-modifying actions, thus drinking unfractionated green tea is the most simple and beneficial way to prevent gastrointestinal disorders.