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May 12, 2014 05:50 PM EDT

Herbal Tea May Reduce Risk Of Colon Cancer

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People who drink herbal tea at least once a week may have a reduced risk of distal colon and rectal cancers, according to a recent study Counsel and Heal reported.

Researchers conducted a study analyzing the effects of hot coffee, iced coffee, herbal tea and black tea on the risk of proximal colon, distal colon and rectal cancers. The relationship between herbal tea and decreased risk of bowel cancer was their most statistically significant finding.

"Whether or not the relationship between the herbal tea and decreased risk of cancer is a 'real' effect needs to be confirmed in other studies," researcher Lin Fritschi said, according to Medical Xpress. "One of the reasons people who drink herbal tea may have a reduced risk is that overall, they have a healthier diet than those who don't. The tea might just be a marker for that, not the actual protective factor."

For the study, researchers collected data from a case-control study focused on colorectal cancer that was conducted in Western Australia from 2005 and 2007. They used a multivariable logistic regression model to analyze the data.

They concluded that drinking black tea, with or without milk, green tea, decaffeinated coffee and milk did not have any effects on colorectal cancer risk.

They found that hot coffee was linked to an increased risk of distal colon cancer. However, researchers said this finding was inconsistent with other research. The team reported that the link between drinking iced coffee and an increased risk of rectal cancer was also inconsistent with previous literature.

However, the researchers concluded that drinking herbal tea at least once a week could be beneficial for health.

"One strength of this study was the use of pathology reports for accurate determination of site-of-cancer origin in the large bowel," Fritschi said. "A further strength was the measurement of tea and coffee, which included the type, frequency and amount consumed."

The findings were recently published in PubMed.

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