Everyone wants to prioritise cognitive function, and adopting preventive measures through dietary choices is not only straightforward but also delicious. So can tea contribute to the wellbeing of your brain? …
Delving into the cognitive advantages of green tea, as spotlighted on Radio 4’s Just One Thing ‘Drink Green Tea’ with Michael Mosley talking to our colleague Dr Ed Okello, scientific inquiry underscores that it’s the holistic composition of the chemicals in green tea, beyond its prominent EGCG constituent, that can contribute significantly to overall human well-being
Its potential therapeutic applications in this context extend from supporting memory and Alzheimer’s disease, to the treatment of conditions like diabetes, oral cancer and dermatitis. And ongoing research even delves into its impact against coronavirus diseases.
As a result, green tea emerges as a promising contender in healthcare and in preventive medicine including contributing to brain health. Regularly drinking green tea will benefit your brain. Yet, it’s not the sole player in this arena; other plants with well-documented cognitive benefits warrant attention.
Green tea (Camellia sinensis), an unoxidised tea
preserving the innate properties of fresh leaves, ranks as the world’s second most consumed beverage after water.
The major ingredient of green tea, catechin (“cat-e-chin”), in green tea, epigallocatechin-3-gallate (known as EGCG), constitutes 50–80% of catechins of a brewed cup. A single cup contains around 100–300mg of EGCG and it demonstrates high absorption into the body, with a maximum plasma concentration exceeding 1μg/mL.
Epidemiological investigations (that study trends) in Japan have proposed a potential enhancement in cognitive function associated with green tea consumption. And a recent double-blind, randomized, controlled study assessed the influence of 336mg of decaffeinated green tea catechins on cognitive function (both immediately after a single dose and following 12 weeks of daily intake) in adults aged 50 to 69, suggesting that the daily consumption of green tea catechins may confer beneficial effects on working memory.
However it’s green tea’s diverse pharmacologically active components, including polyphenols, alkaloids, amino acids, polysaccharides, and volatile compounds, that showcase it’s versatile pharmacological activities – like antioxidant, anticancer, hypoglycaemic, antibacterial, antiviral, and neuroprotective effects, and are indicative of its overall brain health effects.
A wealth of studies corroborate the cognitive-enhancing
properties of these brain plants, encompassing actions such as elevating acetylcholine levels (the primary signal for memory and attention) and intricate interactions of constituents like Labiatae monoterpenoids. Key compounds, including rosmarinic acid, display promise against Alzheimer’s
pathology by targeting factors like amyloid accumulation, DNA fragmentation, caspase-3 activation, and tau protein hyperphosphorylation.
Other potential mechanisms, including anti-inflammatory,
antioxidative, oestrogenic, glucose and cholesterol lowering, blood flow increasing, antibacterial, antiviral and other neuroprotective effects, may also be at play.
While individual plant extracts showcase positive effects on
memory, the unique combination of plants in our Memory Tincture has been shown in a controlled trial to increase word recall by over 50% in under 63 year olds. But, despite its popularity and the positive feedback from people who drink it, our Memory Tea remains an uncharted territory in clinical studies. A forthcoming pilot study aims to address this research gap.
This implies that a holistic and preventive approach to complex diseases like Alzheimer’s may indeed find support in tea consumption.
While we refrain from making a categorical statement about tea being the ultimate solution, it’s evident that alongside healthy lifestyle choices, the reintegration of medicinal plants into our diet as a preventive measure is crucial to us. Diverse diets that include medicinal plants is brain science and echoes the forgotten ancient wisdom of figures like Hippocrates, who emphasised the role of nutrition in medicine over 2,000 years ago.
Stay tuned for the outcomes of our latest Memory Tincture study and our upcoming Memory Tea Study – where we aim to illuminate the noteworthy effects of our scientifically chosen and tasty medicinal tea on focus and memory.
This research not only promises valuable insights for future investigations but also advocates for a proactive stance on brain health.