Still popularly known as swine flu here in the UK, the novel pandemic H1N1 influenza makes you feel really ill even if you experience the "mild" form. 

On a BBC radio 5 program in the first week of July, controversy arose over a recommendation to drink lots of fluids and to avoid tea… because it dehydrates. Many listeners called in to refute this, and the programme heard from a UK expert whose work had refuted this fallacy completely 1. Yes, the caffeine in the tea will dehydrate you, but there is not enough caffeine in your average cup of tea to outweigh all that fluid you drink along with it. You also have the added bonus of flavanoids, which have protective effects for some heart disease and cancers, fluoride for teeth and components with antiviral activity.

So I have searched the Global Health database to pull out some useful information for you on the protective effects of tea flavanoids 2-5 and tea antiviral activity 6-7.


  1. Black tea – helpful or harmful? A review of the evidence. Gardner, E. J. et al. Eur.J. Clinical Nutrition (2007) 61, 3–18.
  2. Construction of a flavonoid database for assessing intake in a population-based sample of women on Long Island, New York. Fink, B. N. et al Nutrition and Cancer (2006) 56 1 57-66
  3. Chemoprevention of human prostate cancer by oral administration of green tea catechins: a translational research story. Bettuzzi, S & Rizzi, F. Bulletin of University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine Cluj-Napoca. Agriculture (2008) 65, 1, p.29. FULLTEXT available to Global Health subscribers   
  4. Protective effect of green tea against prostate cancer: a case-control study in Southeast China.
    Jian Le et al. International Journal of Cancer (2004) 108, 1, 130-135
  5. Possible protective effect of green tea intake on risk of adult leukaemia. Zhang, M. et al. British Journal of Cancer (2008) 98, 168–170. (Full abstract available to Global Health subscribers)
  6. Antibacterial and antiviral effects of tea – from influenza to SARS. Book chapter. Jain, N. K et al in Protective effects of tea on human health, 2006. Editor: Leung PingChung
  7. Gargling with tea catechin extracts for the prevention of influenza infection in elderly nursing home residents: a prospective clinical study.Yamada, H. et al. J. Alternative and Complementary Medicine (2006)12, 7, 669-672.


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