Tea may fight viruses, researchers suggest

May 22, 2001 in Nutrition Topics in the News

Tea may fight viruses, researchers suggest

In preliminary studies in the lab, a wide variety of commercial teas appear to either inactivate or kill viruses, researchers from Pace University in New York report.

Researchers tested the activity of several regular and iced green or black teas from manufacturers such as Nestea, Snapple, Arizona and Bigelow on animal tissues infected with viruses. The viruses included herpes simplex 1 and 2 and the virus T1, which infects the Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacterium.

In the case of herpes virus, iced tea or regular tea was found to destroy or inactivate the virus within a few minutes. The mechanism by which a compound or compounds in tea might interfere with viral survival remains unclear. The researchers found that very little tea was needed to wipe out viruses.

Black tea appeared to have a somewhat more potent antiviral effect than did green tea, the report noted.

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