May 25, 2004 -- When it comes to tea, white may be the new "in" color. A new study shows white tea beats green at fighting germs and may help prevent common infections.
Researchers found an extract derived from white tea inactivated and slowed the growth of bacteria that cause streptococcous (strep) infections, pneumonia, and cavities in teeth.
"Past studies have shown that green tea stimulates the immune system to fight disease," says researcher Milton Schiffenbauer, PhD, a microbiologist and professor Pace University, in a news release. "Our research shows white tea extract can actually destroy in vitro the organisms that cause disease."
Schiffenbauer presented the study this week at the 104th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in New Orleans.
White Tea Kills Germs
In laboratory tests, researchers compared the effects of white and green tea extracts at inactivating viruses and preventing the growth of bacteria.
The study showed that the white tea extract was significantly more effective than the green at fighting germs.
In addition, the study showed adding white tea extract to conventional toothpastes enhanced their ability to kill germs and may help prevent cavities.
Researchers say the findings show that white tea extract may have antiviral and antifungal effects and may be used in the future to develop treatments to help prevent disease.