Black tea extracts show promise as both topical and orally-active inhibitors of inflammation, according to research from Rutgers university to be presented at the Worldnutra conference in Las Vegas at the end of September.
In a study on mice, Dr Chi-Tang Ho and colleagues from Rutgers' Department of Food Science found that theaflavins, naturally-occurring constituents of black tea, inhibited inflammation caused by a 'topical pro-inflammatory agent'.
Black tea extracts and beverages could therefore be used to keep inflammation at bay, said Ho.
When animals were given the mixture of pure theaflavins orally the inflammation was reduced by almost 70 per cent. Ho said that "the magnitude of the anti-inflammatory results were surprising but complements our earlier work with theaflavins".
The team said it also found a synergistic effect with an anti-inflammatory drug, sulindac, marketed by Merck as Clinoril.
The results will be presented at the fourth annual Worldnutra exhibition, an international conference on nutraceuticals and functional foods and beverages.
Seminars at the exhibition will include 'Can health care costs be reduced by functional foods and dietary supplements?', by Ian Newton, Roche Vitamins, USA; 'Qualified health claims and the implications for functional foods/nutraceuticals', from Peter Barton Hutt, partner Covington & Burling, USA; 'Status report on medicinal plants, herbal products and botanicals', by Mark Blumenthal founder and executive director, American Botanical Council, USA; and 'Functional beverages: An industry overview…catching the wave of health and wellness', from Donald Wilkes, president/CEO, Blue Pacific Flavors and Fragrances, and Wilkes and Associates, USA.
Registration information is available at www.worldnutra.com.