Green Tea May Lessen Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Anti-inflammatory phytochemical in green tea shows promise in blocking the effects of RA.

Researchers have found an affordable approach for reducing rheumatoid arthritis symptoms using a molecule found in green tea.

Rheumatoid arthritis causes painful swelling that can progress into bone erosion, joint deformity, tissue damage, and cartilage damage. Currently, the drugs available to patients have high costs, are immunosuppressive, and at times are not recommended for long-term use.

Researchers at Washington State University looked at a phytochemical that has anti-inflammatory properties called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG).

How Does Green Tea Block Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms?

The results of the study, published in Arthritis and Rheumatology, showed that EGCG found in green tea shows promise for treating rheumatoid arthritis because it is able to block the effects of the disease without affecting other cellular functions.

These findings were confirmed during a 10-day treatment regimen that used a pre-clinical animal model of human rheumatoid arthritis, where it was observed that ankle swelling had greatly reduced.

"This study has opened the field of research into using EGCG for targeting TAK1 -- an important signaling protein -- through which proinflammatory cytokines transmit their signals to cause inflammation and tissue destruction in rheumatoid arthritis," said lead researcher Salah-uddin Ahmed.

The team of researchers at Washington State University have been studying rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases since 2014.