A new study has shown that a compound commonly found in green tea can be used to fight inflammation and reverse tissue damage triggered by rheumatoid arthritis.
Led by scientists from Washington University, and headed by lead study author Sala-Uddin Ahmed, it has been found that a specific compound known as epigallocatechin-3 gallate (EGCG) within scientific and chemistry circles reduces inflammation in arthritis sufferers. This compound was discovered to be extremely abundant in green tea by the researchers. The study author stated that current drugs treating rhuematoid arthritis are often expensive. This research seems to indicate a potential natural alternative to pharmaceutical medicines.
The way it works is this: EGCG is believed to block arthritis at the cellular level by interacting and binding with pro-inflammatory molecules. By binding to these molecules, their function becomes inhibited, and thus their pro-inflammatory actions are reduced. It has also been found that this process takes place without hindering other cellular function, meaning that EGCG could be free of the side effects commonly associated with more conventional medicines.
The findings within the study were confirmed when the researches tested EGCG in animals, whereby the animals were suffering from ankle swelling. Upon administration of the EGCG over a 10 day period, there was a marked reduction in this swelling.
Rheumatoid arthritis involves inflammation of joints that causes swelling and extensive pain within the joint, along with redness and a hot sensation. Commonly affected areas include knees, the hands and wrists, along with stiffness, general fatigue and joint pain throughout the body. The disease is believed to effect over 1% of all Americans and is more common in women than men. It occurs most frequently in middle age. Whilst the cause of this disease is unknown, some experts believe that smoking and genetic predispositions are the most likely causes.
The research does look promising. Hopefully human clinical trials will soon be conducted to confirm these findings. Until then, it might not hurt to test if green tea may help in reducing swelling if you do suffer from arthritis. Even if no effect is noticed, research nevertheless suggested numerous other health benefits of green tea.
Reference: Science Daily