You should know you're a medic: Does a cup of tea really do you the world of good?
Carmen Basu investigates the medical substance behind your granny's cure for all ills
No matter what the crisis, whether in a hospital waiting room, down the police station, or in your own house, you can guarantee that some well meaning, kindly soul will be quick to offer you a cup of tea in an attempt to make you feel better. There is an innate assumption--especially, it seems, among the English--that tea is an immediate comforter, but is this a purely psychological phenomenon or is there some concrete physiological fact behind this idea?
It has recently been discussed by scientists gathered at the Royal Society of Medicine that tea contains nature's most powerful antioxidants, substances called flavonoids. Test tube studies have shown that flavonoids--which are plant derived polyphenols--are more potent in protecting the body from the damaging effects of free radicals than other familiar antioxidants--for example, vitamins E and C. Some flavonoids are thought to be an incredible 20 times more powerful than vitamin