Green tea may block symptoms of RA, such as inflammation, joint pain and tissue damage.
That’s according to study from US researchers, the Blackmores Institute reports.
“Existing drugs for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are expensive, immunosuppressive and sometimes unsuitable for long-term use,” says lead researcher on the project, Salah-uddin Ahmed from Washington State University in Spokane.
His team evaluated a phytochemical called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), which is a molecule with anti-inflammatory properties found in green tea. Its study suggests that EGCG has high potential as a treatment for RA because of how effectively the molecule blocks the effects of the disease without blocking other cellular functions.
“This study has opened the field of research into using EGCG for targeting TAK1 – an important signaling protein – through which proinflammatory cytokines transmit their signals to cause inflammation and tissue destruction in rheumatoid arthritis,” says Ahmed.
The data, published in Arthritis and Rheumatology, confirmed the researchers’ findings in a pre-clinical animal model of human rheumatoid arthritis, where they observed that ankle swelling in animals given EGCG in a 10-day treatment plan was markedly reduced.
Ahmed has focused his research on studies related to rheumatoid arthritis for the past 15 years.
The WSU team has been studying RA and other inflammatory diseases at the WSU College of Pharmacy in Spokane since 2014. They joined with researchers from the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research in Hajipur, India, for this project.