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Ariel Offline
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Warning Issued for Popular Tea Drink. - March 23rd 2009, 04:02 PM

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Yerba mate, the South American tea gaining popularity among the health-conscious and caffeine-shy, may be linked to significantly increased rates of some cancers, according to new studies.
The earthy, bitter tea from the Ilex paraguariensis tree has been promoted for its anti-oxidants, and for providing an energy boost that employs far less caffeine than coffee.
Some studies have linked the brew to possible reductions in heart disease and cancer, reported The Los Angeles Times. In lab tests, the herb helped protect heart and liver cells against stress. In rats, it lowered blood pressure and kept fat from accumulating in blood vessels.


But scientists warned that tests in labs and on rats don't necessarily translate into the same human results.
In fact, a 1994 study found mate drinkers had a 60 percent higher chance of contracting respiratory or digestive cancers than non-mate drinkers. Two years later, another study, of 1,000 Uruguayan men, found those who drank yerba mate regularly had a 60 percent higher chance of developing lung cancer than non-tea drinkers.
Meanwhile, a health columnist for the Honolulu Advertiser, Laurie Steelsmith, notes two conflicting cancer journal studies published last year. One found that yerba mate leaves have high concentrations of a certain carcinogenic compound. But the other reported the tea's antioxidants can help protect and repair DNA, helping ward off cancer.
"As far as your health is concerned, it appears that yerba mate may be a paradoxical herb with both anti-cancer and pro-cancer effects," she wrote. She suggests avoiding the tea completely.
At New York City's Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, K. Simon Yeung noted that South Americans drink large quantities of mate.
"The more people drink, the higher the risk of cancer," he told the L.A. Times. "It's a dose-related response."
He reached a different conclusion than Steelsmith.
"People don't need to stop drinking it, but they do need to know something about it ... and drink in moderation," he said.
Read the L.A. Times and the Honolulu Advertiser for the full stories.


So Scared of drinking it now
   
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Re: Warning Issued for Popular Tea Drink. - March 24th 2009, 12:23 AM

It seems like everything is causing cancer these days. :-/


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