I’m disturbed and angry about the last 2 findings of the FDA regarding the health benefits of tea. Why didn’t I see anyone coming to the defense of tea? Where were the worlds Tea Associations and Councils? Shouldn’t someone have spoken out on Larry King Live or Oprah or the New York TImes? Prior to the FDA report, it was actually hard to find a health related magazine that didn’t have an article or 2 about the health benefits of tea. It felt like everyone just curled up and waited for the storm to pass, passively letting the FDA’s announcement fill the headlines with sensationalist comments about tea. For those actually reading the report, here’s their bottom line; “Daily consumption of at least 5 fluid ounces (150 mL) of green tea as a source of catechins may reduce a number of risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease. FDA has determined that the evidence is supportive, but not conclusive, for this claim.” If one only read the head lines, you got a very different picture. My partner was at a local party and an attorney, who was aware of our intentions to develop T Ching, actually approached him with a sympathetic pat on the back. “Too bad about the FDA ruling. There goes your shot at developing a site educating people about the health benefits of tea.” I don’t think so!

I’ve come to the conclusion that this is a political issue, not unlike many that other natural food products seem to encounter with our FDA. The FDA appears to be much more comfortable with pharmaceutical companies that are identifying and synthesizing natural compounds rather than the natural compounds themselves (not to mention their huge lobbying dollars). AARP, in their consevative publication, actually came out with an article about the FDA which I think warrents a further look. “The hazy relationship between the FDA’s advisory committees, ….. and the companies the agency regulates is just one issue raising concerns about the effectiveness of the FDA”… “The agency almost always follows the advice of advisory panels, whose members are usually drawn from prominent medical institutions outside the FDA. Critics say most of the outside advisory panels include scientists with ties to the firms whose products are under agency review.” If you read the article, you’ll see that it’s not just critics who think this. The evidence is impossible to refute.

I’ve asked Dr. Jack Bukowski, a noted Harvard physician and researcher, whose been studying the immune benefits of tea, to share his observations and feelings about the FDA’s refusal to acknowledge the significant health benefits of tea. Look for his post on tuesday.