Fight Colds and Flu with Green Tea

| 10/21/2011 4:41:48 PM

Rachel SchwartzRachel Schwartz is a Natural Home & Garden editorial intern. She attends the University of Kansas where she studies Journalism and writes columns about environmental and organic health for the campus newspaper, The University Daily Kansan. She is passionate about reducing her carbon footprint and filling her body with the best possible foods.   

 It’s that awkward time of year when the weather doesn’t want to stay the same for long. Just as soon as it’s getting warmer, it turns around and bites you with some cold. For me, and lots of others I know, these abrupt weather changes can cause sickness. Along with this, until it freezes over, allergies run rampant and affect many people. And then when it gets cold, all sorts of illnesses such as colds and the flu will be jumping from person to person.

Yes, this sounds depressing and pessimistic, but it’s not meant to get you all upset and worried about getting sick. No, my point is that there is something you can do to help! And it doesn’t involve taking more pills with weird chemicals. No, it involves drinking a warm, soothing liquid that goes great with honey: green tea.

Green tea teapot 

In a study by the University of Florida, participants were followed around for three months as they carried on with their lives. One group took green tea capsules and the other group took the placebo. The results were astounding (not to sound cliché, I just think they were). The participants in the green tea group had 32 percent fewer afflicted with cold or flu symptoms and, of those who got those symptoms, 58 percent fewer had to receive treatment as compared with participants who took the placebo.

Green tea has these awesome effects because it contains antioxidants called catechins, which strengthen your immune system and fight away those viruses and the flu. Green tea also contains an alkaloid called theophylline, which helps open your airways. (No, that doesn’t mean you have to go out for a walk the second you can breathe again. What it does mean is that you can actually talk without running out of breath because your nose is blocked.)