Green tea, first discovered in China nearly 5000 years ago, has been linked to many health benefits including preventing coronary heart disease, stroke and certain types of cancer. Researchers in the University of Sheffield have now discovered that two compounds found in green tea, EGCG (epigallocatchin gallate) and ECG (epicatechin gallate) can help prevent osteoarthritis by blocking the enzyme that destroys cartilage. Dr David Buttle, of the University of Sheffield, who was involved in the study, said that green tea should be drunk as a prophylactic to prevent disease. Though it may not cure already damaged joints, drinking green tea over a long period might prove beneficial. The study has shown that EGCG in green tea protects cartilage destruction in test-tube models of cartilage loss that mimic what happens in the arthritic joint. Also, earlier studies have shown that EGCG reduces joint swelling and pain.
The new discovery needs further testing on human volunteers. However, Sheffield University has already taken out a patent for the use of EGCG in treating osteoarthritis. Dr. Buttle concluded that while results have not yet been confirmed on human volunteers, there is no harm in drinking green tea as it does not cause any harm.