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Green tea is effective in fighting COVID-19 subvariants

by Tania Griffin

The extensive health benefits of green tea have been enjoyed by cultures across the globe since the 8th century, and it appears this herbal beverage is now tackling modern illnesses. Researchers have found that green tea may help in the fight against COVID-19, as the tea inactivates the virus.

Scientists from the Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine in Japan recently published a study in Scientific Reports which found that chemicals in green tea, black tea and matcha (powdered green tea) are effective in inactivating the Omicron subvariant of COVID-19. They discovered that chemicals in these teas will bind to the spike protein of the COVID virus, preventing it from infecting cells.

This is great news for South Africans where Omicron – which was first discovered in South Africa in September 2021 – remains the dominant COVID-19 variant, according to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases. Omicron was reported to have infected 100% of COVID cases from July to September this year.

While the virus is less threatening to most, it is still incredibly dangerous to a section of the population, as reported in Bloomberg. In the United States, COVID-19 was the third biggest killer in 2022 behind heart disease and cancer. In addition, the World Health Organization notes that “current evidence suggests approximately 10%–20% of people experience a variety of mid- and long-term effects after they recover from their initial illness”.

“In the almost four years since OVID first arrived, we’ve been through a number of waves, with the global health emergency finally ending earlier this year,” comments Candice Sessions, Tetley marketing manager. “We have all learnt to live with COVID and carry on with our lives, but the reality is that many South Africans are still being affected, with long-COVID symptoms a real concern.

“This research indicates green tea gives us another line of defence – and considering its affordability and versatility, it’s a great way to protect ourselves and our families ahead of the festive season.”

Green tea, like South Africa’s favourite Tetley Green Tea, can be enjoyed as a hot or cold beverage, or even included as a health-enhancing ingredient in recipes.

In addition to green tea’s COVID-fighting properties, it is associated with several other health benefits including the prevention of cancer and cardiovascular diseases, as well as anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antioxidative properties.

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