- - New Study Suggests a Cup of Black Tea Could Prevent COVID-19 Infection

New Study Suggests a Cup of Black Tea Could Prevent COVID-19 Infection

A study carried out by researchers at the University of Georgia suggests a cup of black tea may serve as an additional line of defense against COVID-19 by “inactivating” the virus in the mouth. The study tested five different tea varieties, each prepared with a single bag steeped for 10 minutes. Every one of the teas tested was found to reduce the virus by at least 96 percent within ten seconds of contact in the mouth. Black tea emerged as the most effective, reducing it by 99.9 percent.

COVID-19 can infect and replicate inside the mouth, passing through the throat before ultimately reaching the lungs.

“At this stage, we are not suggesting tea as a stand-alone intervention against COVID, because the virus also replicates in the nose and may have already reached the lung by the time a person tests positive,” said Malak Esseili, a virologist at the University of Georgia, who led the study. “But tea can be an additional layer of intervention that the patients and their families can easily adopt on a routine basis.”

The team tested the efficacy of tea both as a drink and as a gargle to provide an option for those who do not want to drink tea but want a highly concentrated rinse that would provide the same benefits as drinking a cup of tea.

Researchers prepared a drinkable infusion concentration using one tea bag per cup steeped for 10 minutes, with no additions such as milk or sugar. All five teas reduced the virus by at least 96% within 10 seconds in the mouth. Black tea was the most effective, reducing the virus by 99.9%. When tested as a gargle, they brewed the tea at four times the concentration of the drinkable infusion, finding that all five varieties of tea reduced the virus by 99.9% within 10 seconds when gargled.

Clinical trials are needed to understand better what effect these results may have on a patient who is ill with COVID-19, Esseili said, stressing that tea is not a replacement for medical care. Still, the initial results are both promising and exciting for those looking to supplement medical care.

Supporting this, a Japanese study from the Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine also showed that drinking matcha latte or green tea could help limit COVID-19 transmission. Scientists found that tea-based molecules, EGCG and TFDG, could bind to the virus spike protein, impeding its infectivity, and were particularly against the Omicron variant.

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