Tea, next to water is the cheapest beverage humans consume. Drinking the beverage tea has been considered a healthpromoting habit since ancient times. The modern medicinal research is providing a scientific basis for this belief. The evidence supporting the health benefits of tea drinking grows stronger with each new study that is published in the scientific literature. Tea plant Camellia sinensis has been cultivated for thousands of years and its leaves have been used for medicinal purposes. Tea is used as a popular beverage worldwide and its ingredients are now finding medicinal benefits. Encouraging data showing cancer-preventive effects of green tea from cell-culture, animal and human studies have emerged. Evidence is accumulating that black tea may have similar beneficial effects. Tea consumption has also been shown to be useful for prevention of many debilitating human diseases that include maintenance of cardiovascular and metabolic health. Various studies suggest that polyphenolic compounds present in green and black tea are associated with beneficial effects in prevention of cardiovascular diseases, particularly of atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease. In addition, anti-aging, antidiabetic and many other health beneficial effects associated with tea consumption are described. Evidence is accumulating that catechins and theaflavins, which are the main polyphenolic compounds of green and black tea, respectively, are responsible for most of the physiological effects of tea. This article describes the evidences from clinical and epidemiological studies in the prevention of chronic diseases like cancer and cardiovascular diseases and general health promotion associated with tea consumption.
Keywords: Tea polyphenols, cancer prevention, cardiovascular diseases, health effects.