Green Tea and Endometriosis

The Wonders of Green Tea

Green tea, the most widely consumed beverage in the world, is well-known for its myriad health benefits. Green tea and black tea both come from the same plant, but green tea retains more of its original plant substances because it is processed less than black tea. Green tea contains high levels of polyphenols, which are known to be strong antioxidants, anticarcinogenics, antitumorigenic and antibiotics.

Researchers have now found that one of the polyphenols, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCg) is over 200 times more powerful than Vitamin E in fighting free radicals. EGCg has been shown to restrict the formation of new blood vessels (angiogenesis). Angiogenesis plays a significant role in the growth and survival of endometriosis. It is also a normal process in growth and development and wound healing.

The Process of Endometriosis

Endometriosis occurs when implants of the endometrium, which is the lining of the uterus, find their way outside of the uterus and adhere to other organs and places within the pelvic structure. Although the endometrium is outside of the uterus, it still responds the way it would if it were inside the womb, meaning that when the menstrual cycle begins, the tissue builds up and thickens, then bleeds as it would when it is being sloughed out of the uterus. The blood creates inflammation and ultimately scarring within the pelvic cavity. The adhesions create intense pain and discomfort as well as infertility.

Using the Properties of Green Tea to Fight Endometriosis

In order for the implants to survive outside of the womb, they need to develop new blood vessels (angiogenesis) in order to take advantage of the blood supply that is available in nearby tissues. The EGCg found in green tea is known to be a very powerful anti-angiogenic, so researchers at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, lead by Dr. Hui Xu, researched the viability of green tea as a treatment for endometriosis.

Endometrial implants from women were transplanted into laboratory mice that were randomly injected with EGCg, vitamin E or saline for a period of two weeks. The saline group did develop new blood vessels and the vitamin E group had no significant differences. However, the group injected with EGCg was found to have much less angiogenesis and the blood vessels that did develop were much smaller and less dense.

The conclusion of the research was that EGCg significantly inhibits the development of experimental endometriosis as a result of its anti-angiogenic effects. Along with being a diet aid, an anti-aging remedy and an anticarcinogen, green tea can also be considered a possible treatment for endometriosis.