Drinking herbal tea, as little as once a week, may have a reduced risk of colon cancer, new research suggests.
The study, led by Curtin University researchers, compared the potential benefits of hot coffee, iced coffee, herbal tea, and black tea in combating proximal colon, distal colon, and rectal cancers, Medical Xpress
Lead researcher Lin Fritschi said the analysis found a strong association between herbal tea drinkers and reduced risk of bowel cancer — a statistically significant finding that warrants further investigation.
"Whether or not the relationship between the herbal tea and decreased risk of cancer is a 'real' effect needs to be confirmed in other studies," Fritschi said. "One of the reasons people who drink herbal tea may have a reduced risk is that overall, they have a healthier diet than those who don't. The tea might just be a marker for that, not the actual protective factor."
Fritschi noted there are many different types of herbal tea, so future research should examine whether there are greater benefits to drinking certain varieties.
"A better way to study it would be in a cohort study in which detailed information on tea consumption is obtained and people are followed for many decades," she said.
The Curtin University study compared the experiences of 854 coffee and tea drinkers with another 948 non-drinkers in Western Australia between 2005 and 2007.
The results indicated herbal tea was associated with lower colorectal cancer risk, but the consumption of black tea (with or without milk), green tea, decaffeinated coffee, and milk did not have any benefit.
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