Numerous studies of the properties of green tea have shown that the beverage can stimulate the human immune system to fight against a variety of diseases, but new research presented this week suggests that its cousin, white tea, may have even more powerful bug-busting properties.
Presenting their research at this week's meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in New Orleans, scientists from the Department of Biology at Pace University's Dyson College of Arts & Sciences suggested that White Tea Extract (WTE) - in this case, under the Stash and Templar brands, could help retard the growth of a number of bacteria.
"Past studies have shown that green tea stimulates the immune system to fight disease," said Milton Schiffenbauer, primary author of the research. "Our research shows White Tea Extract can actually destroy in vitro the organisms that cause disease. Study after study with tea extract proves that it has many healing properties. This is not an old wives tale, it's a fact."
Dr Schiffenbauer said that WTE could have preventative applications in retarding growth of bacteria that cause Staphylococcus infections, Streptococcus infections, pneumonia and dental caries.
White tea was more effective than green tea at inactivating bacterial viruses, he said. For example, the addition of WTE to various toothpastes, including Aim, Aquafresh, Colgate, Crest and Orajel, enhanced the anti-microbial effect of these oral agents.
Studies have also indicated that WTE has an anti-fungal effect on Penicillium chrysogenum and Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the researchers said. In the presence of WTE, Penicillium spores and Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast cells were totally inactivated.