"The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease."
- Thomas Edison
Will that be black tea, green tea or white tea? See article below.
The lowest grade of tea is used in teabags and bricks. The
best tea is loose tea.
The tea plant absorbs
oldest teas contain the most fluoride. It is these old, low grade teas that
are used in teabags and bricks. Fluoride displaces calcium in bone and makes
Adding milk or non-dairy
creamers to tea reduces its benefits.
- Eur Heart J 07;doi:10.1093
For many of us, coffee is the favorite way to jumpstart the day. However, if you are addicted to your morning cup of joe, take this into consideration: Coffee has no medicinal purposes whatsoever! On the other hand, if you switch to tea, you might be doing yourself - and your health - a huge favor.
Coffee has just one real claim to fame - its caffeine content. Granted, caffeine is useful in alleviating asthma by helping relax the airways in the lungs. (In fact, the stimulant was used for precisely that purpose in Europe in the 1850s.) But that's about the extent of its practicality for health purposes.
By contrast, tea is known for its abilities to fight both cancer and heart disease. There are two types of teas, black and green, which are essentially the same plant, Camellia sinensis. The difference is that black tea leaves are fermented; green are not.
Teas of both varieties contain polyphenols, a class of flavonoids. These compounds function as powerful antioxidants that can protect your body from free radical stress. The most notable of these is quercetin, well known for its ability to temper allergic reactions and interrupt the oxidation of LDL, or "bad," cholesterol.
Quercetin can also be very useful in helping to fight and prevent cancer. Apples and onions are some of the other foods that contain quercetin in high amounts.
But there's another reason why drinking tea could be better for you than you thought. Much has been made of COX-2 (cyclo-oxygenase-2) inhibitors like Celebrex (celecoxib) and Vioxx (rofecoxib), which provide pain relief for arthritis and other inflammatory conditions, but did you know that natural substances like quercetin can also act as COX-2 inhibitors? And they have all of the upside with none of the downside of the drugs.
The latest findings about medications like Celebrex and Vioxx may make you think twice about their safety. Recent research has shown a possible link between synthetic COX-2 inhibitors and increased heart attack potential. Synthetic COX-2 inhibitors can also cause gastrointestinal bleeding just like convention anti-inflammatory drugs do.
This is not the case with natural COX-2 inhibitors, like the quercetin in tea. Not only do they block cancer, but they also help boost your system against heart disease - instead of possibly contributing to heart problems like their pharmaceutical cousins. Other natural substances that exhibit similar characteristics include oregano and rosemary.
If natural COX-2 inhibitors interest you, you can read in more depth about their role in cancer prevention and treatment in the January 2002 issue of my newsletter.
One thing to keep in mind is that natural substances don't work as quickly as drugs, so patience is key if you decide to go the natural route for pain relief. Generally, you'll need to drink three to four cups of tea a day for a medicinal effect. Three or more cups of green tea per day are what's consumed by the average citizen in Japan, where the overall cancer rate is much lower than here in the U.S. While that statistic may not be due to tea drinking alone, the majority of researchers believe it definitely plays a part.
If tea is not your "cup of tea," then consider taking a green tea supplement (250-300 mg/day).
These are just a few compelling reasons for taking a new look at tea, a healthy alternative that has about half the caffeine of coffee. By the way, its reduced caffeine content is another selling point, since we should all make efforts to limit our caffeine intake.
And the nice thing about tea is that you don't have to get too fancy or exotic to enjoy it. Plain old-fashioned Lipton tea will suffice, though my personal favorites include Irish Breakfast and Earl Grey.
As a rule of thumb, I allow myself two cups of tea in the morning, then that's it for the day. Even small amounts of caffeine later in the day can interfere with getting a good night's sleep because caffeine can stay in your system up to eight hours after consuming it. In the afternoon, I usually enjoy a relaxing, healthful, caffeine-free alternative - ginger tea.
So, tomorrow morning, think twice before you go to brew that pot of coffee. You'll do your body a big favor by skipping the coffee and sipping some tea instead.
Until next time,
Stephen Sinatra, M.D.
| ABOUT STEPHEN SINATRA, M.D.|
Stephen Sinatra, M.D., is a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology and a Fellow of the American College of Nutrition. He is board certified in internal medicine and cardiology and certified in anti-aging medicine, clinical nutrition, and bioenergetic analysis. At his New England Heart and Longevity Center in Manchester, Conn., Dr. Sinatra integrates conventional medical treatments with complementary nutritional and psychological therapies. He shares these integrative therapies with thousands each month through his medical newsletter, The Sinatra Health Report.
Ralph W. Moss, Ph.D. Weekly CancerDecisions.com
Newsletter #131 05/01/04
HERE AT THE MOSS REPORTS
It is nice to have good news to report. In this issue I highlight the role of a common food constituent, EGCG, found in green tea, in fighting cancer. True, this is only a laboratory study, but it correlates with a great deal of data showing that people who drink tea have lower rates of various kinds of cancer than those who don't. What is especially surprising is that the mechanism by which green tea works may be the same as that behind some expensive new drugs. As usual, Mother Nature got there first.
Here at the Moss Reports we are always analyzing the latest developments in cancer research to bring you useful information. We continue our campaign to separate the wheat from the chaff and to distinguish those treatments that are truly useful from those that only appear to be so. I have prepared a series of comprehensive and up-to-date reports on 200+ different cancer diagnoses. I also offer phone consultations. To find if these may be helpful to you please visit our
website, or call our office at 800-980-1234 (814-238-3367 when calling from outside the US). We look forward to helping you.
THE POOR MAN'S AVASTIN?
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is a malignant blood disease that afflicts about 7,000 Americans per year and kills 4,500. But now scientists at the Mayo Clinic have found a way of killing CLL cells in the test tube that could potentially be developed into a treatment for CLL, and possibly other cancers, in living humans.
The agent in question is called epigallocatechin (EGCG). It is an antioxidant that is found both black and green tea, but more abundantly in the unfermented green variety.
The anticancer activity of green tea has been known for years. Scientists have identified at least one of the mechanisms by which EGCG seems to work to fight cancer: it inhibits a key "signaling pathway," called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), which is responsible for transmitting instructions at the molecular level to cancer cells, prompting them to grow and multiply.
VEGF has been much in the news lately, since it is the same signaling pathway that is targeted by two recently FDA-approved drugs Avastin and Erbitux. However, one glaring difference between green tea and Erbitux or Avastin is the price. The FDA-approved drugs are sold at US $40,000 to $50,000 per patient per year. By contrast, an ample supply of green tea can be purchased for as little as $40 to $50 per year. You might call tea "the poor man's Avastin" - although of course head-to-head comparisons of this sort are not available.
"We're continuing to look for therapeutic agents that are nontoxic to the patient but kill cancer cells," said the senior author of the study, Dr. Neil E. Kay, of the Mayo Clinic. "[T]his finding with EGCG is an excellent start. Understanding this mechanism and getting these positive early results give us a lot to work with in terms of offering patients with this disease more effective, easily tolerated therapies earlier."
We can only hope that the Mayo Clinic group will follow up on this and conduct trials comparing the efficacy of low-priced green tea with overpriced pharmaceutical products.
Previous findings from Dr. Kay's group and other scientists have suggested that VEGF is one of the factors that enable CLL cells to multiply and accumulate so prodigiously. In this new study, the researchers measured the effect of EGCG from green tea on both the level of VEGF signaling and on the survival of CLL cells. They wanted to find out if green tea components could inhibit or interfere with these survival signals in CLL cells. They found that the presence of VEGF did indeed make CLL cells more resistant to programmed cell death (apoptosis), a natural process by which the body rids itself of old or defective cells. Exactly as hoped, treatment with this green tea component enabled cancer cells to undergo apoptosis. This resulted in the annihilation of many leukemia cells.
Of course no responsible person would recommend, on the basis of this study alone, that one should avoid or abandon conventional treatment and take green tea instead. Although these findings come from one of the most prestigious medical institutions in the world they are still only test-tube studies, and as such, although they may provide a conceptual framework for future investigations, they cannot yet be extrapolated to form the basis of a new standard of treatment for full-blown CLL. However because of its relatively nontoxic nature, even Mayo Clinic experts agree that EGCG could "be tested in early stage high-risk individuals with B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia."
In a separate article, which appeared in October, 2003, EGCG taken in the form of a capsule, and also applied as an ointment, showed remarkable activity against the human papilloma virus (HPV) in women who were infected with sores or growths in the cervix. Fifty-one Korean women with precancerous cervical lesions (some of which were quite severe) were placed in four treatment groups. An ointment containing a different green tea derivative, called poly E, was applied to the lesions of 27 patients twice per week. In addition, patients received a 200 milligram (mg) capsule of poly E or of EGCG orally every day for eight to 12 weeks. They were then compared to 39 untreated patients who served as the control group in this clinical trial.
Here are some of the results of that study:
--20 out of 27 patients (74 percent) who received poly E ointment therapy showed a beneficial response;
--Six out of eight patients who received poly E ointment plus poly E capsule therapy (75 percent) also showed a beneficial response;
--Three out of six patients (50 percent) under poly E capsule therapy showed a response.
--Six out of 10 patients (60 percent) who received EGCG capsule therapy showed a response.
--Overall, a 69 percent response rate (35/51) was noted for treatment with green tea extracts, as compared with just a 10 percent response rate (4/39) in untreated controls. The difference was statistically significant.
The authors conclude that "green tea extracts in the form of ointment and capsules are effective for treating cervical lesions, suggesting that green tea extracts can be a potential therapy regimen for patients with HPV infected cervical lesions."
Could tea or its constituents be used to fight cancer in humans? Research moves ever so slowly in that direction. It is now over 15 years since Dr. Hirota Fujiki, a chemist at Japan's Saitama Cancer Center Research Institute, first analyzed green tea and isolated EGCG as the main source of its apparent anticancer activity. He presented his findings to the Fourth Chemical Congress of North America in New York. Some may remember the excitement when this was written up favorably in the New York Times (March 14, 1991).
How goes the research? At www.clinicaltrials.gov, a comprehensive database of trials that include nearly 2,500 entries on cancer, there is mention of only one clinical trial of green tea. For the record, this trial is titled "Polyphenon E (green tea extract) and low-dose aspirin in preventing cancer in women at high risk for developing breast cancer." This trial is being carried out at the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center of UCLA in Los Angeles. Some of the patients in the trial will receive green tea extract, some will receive aspirin and others yet will receive an inert placebo "sugar pill." The study will continue collecting data for ten years - a time period during which an estimated five million or more Americans will die of cancer. I have not found any other American clinical trials relating to green tea. In Canada there is a trial of green tea as a preventative in former smokers with lung dysplasia. (The principal investigator is Stephen Lam MD of the British Columbia Cancer Agency 2003.) There may be a few others, but they represent a minuscule proportion of expenditure in the faltering war on cancer.
This failure to move full-steam-ahead to develop such a promising treatment might seem inexplicable to those who are new to the cancer field. But it does not surprise those of us who have long studied the institutional structure of drug development, especially in the United States. The Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development, Boston, has estimated that the cost of developing a new pharmaceutical drug now averages US $802 million. This astronomical cost rules out all but the major pharmaceutical companies, with their big budgets and stringent profit requirements. Regardless of whom you blame for this appalling situation, it is clear that no one will invest in new drugs if they cannot be assured not only of recouping their initial investment, but also of making a substantial profit. Patented drugs, such as Iressa, Erbitux and Avastin, fit that profile. Unpatented green tea does not. It therefore remains in the realm of "unproven therapy," beyond the pale of orthodox procedures. Until something fundamental changes we medical consumers will have to extrapolate from the scanty data that a few dedicated scientists continue to uncover, all the while enjoying what author Thomas Garvey called in 1658 "that Excellent and by All Physicians approved China drink."
I myself favor organic and decaffeinated teas.
--Ralph W. Moss, PhD
Ahn WS, Yoo J, Huh SW, Kim CK, Lee JM, Namkoong SE, Bae SM, Lee IP. Protective effects of green tea extracts (polyphenon E and EGCG) on human cervical lesions. Eur J Cancer Prev. 2003 Oct;12(5):383-90.
Canadian clinical trial:
Lee YK, Bone ND, Strege AK, Jelinek DF, Kay NE. VEGF receptor phosphorylation is modulated by a green tea component, epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) in B cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Blood. 2004 Mar 2 [Epub ahead of print]
Tufts Centers for the Study of Drug Development:
Warden BA, Smith LS, Beecher GR, Balentine DA, Clevidence BA. Catechins are bioavailable in men and women drinking black tea throughout the day. J Nutr. 2001 Jun;131(6):1731-7.
The news and other items in this newsletter are intended for informational purposes only. Nothing in this newsletter is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice.
Bottom Line's Daily Health News
Good News in the Fight Against Ovarian Cancer
Although ovarian cancer is relatively rare -- striking one woman
out of 108 -- it is fatal for more than half of the women who do
develop it because detection in early stages is so difficult.
Anything that might help a woman stack the deck against this cancer
is clearly important information, but there has been little of it to
date. Now a Swedish study suggests that something as simple as
having a cup or two of tea each day might lower risk.
The study, from the Institute of Environmental Medicine at the
Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, enrolled 61,057 women, ages 40 to
76, who responded to a food-frequency questionnaire and who were
then followed for an average of 15.1 years. During that time 301
women were diagnosed with ovarian cancer. When the researchers
evaluated data concerning food and drink consumption, they
discovered that the women who drank two or more cups of tea per day
had a 46% lower risk of ovarian cancer than the women who drank no
tea. Women who drank one cup per day had a 24% lowered risk and
women who drank considerably less, from three cups a month to five
or six per week, lowered risk by 18%. While previous laboratory
research has associated tea drinking with reduced cancer risk, this
was one of the few studies that investigated tea consumption and
ovarian cancer risk in a population of women.
A logical question, however, is if tea drinkers in particular
have other healthful habits that might factor into the decreased
cancer risk. I put that question to Susanna Larsson, MSc, who was a
chief researcher on the study. She says that they controlled for
such variables, including the amount of fruits and vegetables the
women ate and their alcohol consumption. The study did not cover
exercise or smoking habits, she says, because neither of these has
been associated with ovarian cancer. Larsson is qui ck to add that
more research is in order to confirm their findings, but she points
out that tea is a rich source of polylphenols, and these may reduce
cancer risk because of their strong antioxidant properties.
The majority of women in the study -- 68% --- were in fact tea
drinkers, Larsson says, and most of them drank black, not green tea.
This study gives afternoon tea time a whole new meaning.
Bottom Line's Daily Health News
Good News in the Fight Against Ovarian Cancer
- Susanna Larsson, MSc,
division of nutritional epidemiology, Institute of Environmental
Medicine, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.
This week in the Health Sciences Institute e-Alert
THIS WEEK IN THE HSI FORUM
Green or White? That is the question.
HSI member Delaney posted this request for responses on the Forum this week: "I recently read that out of all the teas, white tea is the healthiest to drink, even better than green tea. Has anyone out there ever drank it or have anything to say about it? I had never even heard of white tea. Does it taste like regular tea?"
We just recently mentioned white tea in the October HSI Members Alert. Made from buds of green tea leaves, this Chinese delicacy contains high concentrations of polyphenols, the group of chemicals responsible for green tea's antioxidant, anti-tumor properties. In fact, the Linus Pauling Institute found white tea to be two to five times more effective than green tea in preventing cell mutations, probably because white tea requires less processing. Nevertheless, white tea is not abundantly produced, so expect to pay a higher price than you would for green tea.
I've never tried white tea myself, but I understand that it's quite good and very smooth. So are there any white tea connoisseurs out there? If so, please go to the HSI Forum on our web site (www.hsibaltimore.com) and give us the lowdown on white.
Meanwhile - who knew there was such a passion for coconut oil? Last week I shared a few comments from the coconut oil topic thread, and since then more than 20 additional comments have streamed in - some of them singing the praises of the coconut, and some others not so sure about it. And plenty of side topics have emerged, with a member named Guy recommending rice bran oil for stir-frying, while Gerardo gives a good explanation about why margarine is truly awful stuff (three words: trans fatty acids).
Other topics getting attention on the Forum this week include lymph adema, purpura, cataracts, cod liver oil, ADHD, and the beginning of a thread on graviola - the botanical HSI first brought to members' attention nearly two years ago that's renowned to fight cancer. If you have questions about any of
these topics, or an experience with any of them that might offer valuable insight to others, log on and go to the HSI Forum to join in the discussions.
Monday, December 2, 2002
The new Homeland Security Act is designed to protect Americans from terrorist activities. So why was a provision added to the act that will protect a pharmaceutical giant from litigation concerning vaccines for children? Whatever you've heard about this topic from mainstream news sources, you may have easily missed the deeper behind-the-scenes manipulations that will effectively brush aside dozens of lawsuits, all to the advantage of Eli Lilly - the company that contributed more to recent political campaigns than any other drug manufacturer.
Wednesday, December 4, 2002
MOST VALUABLE MINERAL
An invaluable, cancer-fighting mineral recently received further validation of its remarkable health benefits from a study that reveals the mechanism that may make it effective against a common type of cancer. We'll take a close look at the study, as well as other evidence that supports the theory that the antioxidant qualities of this common mineral may also fight autoimmune disorders, help increase insulin efficiency, and stop viruses from mutating and becoming more potent.
Thursday, December 5, 2002
CHECKING THE OIL
How do you resolve the omega-3 dilemma? That is; you can easily increase your omega-3 intake by adding fish to your diet, but the fish that contain the greatest concentrations of omega-3 also contain high levels of mercury. We'll tell you about an omega-3-rich botanical oil with a modest reputation in spite of the fact that it has been shown to provide health benefits to the cardiovascular system while also boosting the immune response against cancer and helping to protect the brain from neuron damage.
Copyright (c)1997-2002 by www.hsibaltimore.com, L.L.C.
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To learn more about the Health Sciences Institute, call (508)
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Health Sciences Institute e-Alert
May 22, 2003
If I reported to you on every article and study I come across that concerns one of the many health benefits of drinking tea, we could change the name of the e-Alert to the tea- Alert. Today, however, I have a new tea study to tell you about that appears to be a genuinely important breakthrough, as well as great news for daily tea drinkers.
Usually when I tell you about something good that tea does for us, the plant compound called flavanoids gets the credit. But for this e-Alert, flavanoids will give up the spotlight to another healthy tea component: an amino acid called L- theanine.
The current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences carries a study from Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital in which researchers isolated L-theanine from black tea. (L-theanine is also found in green and oolong tea.)
The researchers hypothesized this brief biology lesson: When L-theanine enters the liver, it's converted to a molecule called ethylamine that helps facilitate the work of gamma-delta T cells. These cells promote the secretion of interferon - an important compound that helps the body fight an assortment of infections: viral, parasitic, fungal, and bacteria. The key word in this paragraph (as we'll see in a moment) is "interferon."
Using a group of 21 subjects, researchers took blood samples from all, then had 10 of them drink five cups of coffee each day for four weeks, while 11 drank five cups of black tea each day for the same period. At the end of the test period more blood was drawn from each subject. All of the blood samples were then exposed to E-coli bacteria. In response to the bacteria, the blood cells from the tea drinkers secreted five times the amount of interferon as blood samples taken from the same subjects before the test period. The amount of interferon secreted by the blood samples of the coffee drinkers was the same, both before and after the test.
Larger trials are needed to thoroughly confirm these results, but the Harvard researchers believe that their study offers a reliable indication that a daily intake of five cups of tea each day can significantly help the immune system fight infection.
This new research is a welcome addition to what we already know about L-theanine. In an HSI Members Alert that we sent you in January 2002 we described L-theanine as a
neurologically active amino acid capable of inducing chemical changes in the brain that leave a person feeling alert but relaxed.
Japanese research using human subjects has revealed that L-theanine crosses the blood-brain barrier and induces several distinct chemical changes in the brain that can reduce feelings of stress. Approximately 30 minutes after it's ingested, L-theanine stimulates production of alpha waves, which can create a feeling of being both alert and deeply relaxed. L-Theanine also stimulates production of gamma aminobutryic acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter that limits nerve cell activity in those areas of the brain associated with anxiety.
At the Laboratory of Nutritional Biochemistry at the University of Shizuoka in Japan, researchers found that L-theanine also "significantly increased" tryptophan, an amino acid that is the basis of serotonin. As most HSI members I'm sure will know, serotonin is a mood-altering brain chemical, essential in creating a feeling of well-being and relaxation, and may help alleviate symptoms of clinical depression.
Don't go there
But amazingly, after fighting infection, reducing anxiety and relieving depression, L-theanine is still not done providing health benefits.
In another study conducted at the University of Shizuoka (this one in the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences), researchers found that L-theanine may increase the capabilities of a mainstream anticancer drug called Doxorubicin (DOX), which is used to treat tumors. Doctors found that adding L-theanine to the treatment boosted the potency of DOX by preventing the drug from flowing out of the tumor cells. This allowed DOX to be active longer and potentially destroy more cancer cells. This study was conducted with lab animals, so more research is needed, but it provides a very promising indication that the full benefits of L-theanine are still being uncovered.
The authors of the Harvard study on the immune system strengths of L-theanine said they hope their research might lead to the development of a L-theanine based pharmaceutical. And if they're determined to go down that road, I'm sure we can't stop them. But in the meantime, they've already given away their secret: five cups of tea daily may provide immeasurable benefits throughout your body.
I'll pass on the drugs, thanks, but I think I would like another cup of tea.
..and another thing
Over on the HSI Forum a member named Rob posted this question in response to last Monday's e-Alert about blood pressure ("Lowering The High Bar" 5/19/03):
"Someone mentioned that the difference between your systolic and diastolic measurements were more critical to predicting a heart attack than the BP reading alone. They went on to say that if the difference is 65 or more, you're in for a heart attack. There are times when this difference for me is above 65 (73 was the worst). Should I get my will in order? Actually, Jenny, I was hoping you'd be able to get one of your experts to comment on this and save me from worrying myself into ulcers."
Between systolic and diastolic, your systolic pressure (the first number in the blood pressure reading) is generally considered the more important indicator of heart health - especially for those age 50 or older. As for the importance of the difference between the two pressures, I asked HSI Panelist Allan Spreen, M.D., to explain and here's how he answered Rob's question:
"What you're talking about is called 'pulse pressure,' or the differential between the high reading and the low one. Nothing guarantees that you'll have (or not have) a heart attack. Many heart attacks occur with low serum levels of cholesterol, for example, so don't head into ulcer state yet! Also, the powers-that-be are now telling us that any pressure above 120/80 up to 140/90 is 'pre-hypertension' and they're even suggesting that we get started early on drug therapies, which sounds suspiciously like an attempt to bail out the drug companies to me.
"However, physiologically a high pulse pressure may indicate that the blood vessels are not as 'elastic' as they might be, implying that they are not in peak condition (healthy, elastic arteries stretch to handle pressure changes and therefore lower the 'tops' and 'bottoms' of big peaks). Therefore, you do want to respect pulse pressures hitting 75, not by worrying yourself into ulcers but by getting educated on actual ways to treat the situation.
"Get a serum homocysteine level and a C-reactive protein, then talk with your doc. Those are the most sensitive tests, and can give a good baseline of where you are as you take steps to improve. Then, if they indicate a problem, get started on what can fix 'em...folic acid, vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12, maybe some magnesium, vitamin C (gram doses), and a good multi withOUT iron, for a start. Then, go to www.acam.org and learn about IV chelation.
"That way you'll have a proactive avenue of attack against a defeatable enemy, instead of sitting home swallowing antacids and worrying yourself to death!"
If Dr. Spreen has helped save Rob from both a heart attack AND an ulcer, I'd say that's a pretty good day's work.
To Your Good Health,
Health Sciences Institute
"Antigens in Tea-Beverage Prime Human T Cells In Vitro and In Vivo for Memory and Nonmemory Antibacterial Cytokine Responses" Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, V. 100, No. 10, 6009-6014, 5/13/03, pnas.org
"A Cup of Tea May Be Germs' New Enemy - Study Finds Tea Sharpens Body's Defense Against Infection" Associated Press, 4/22/03, edition.cnn.com
"Tea is Good for You" Health 24, 5/15/03, health24.co.za
Copyright (c)1997-2003 by www.hsibaltimore.com, L.L.C.
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