The antibacterial drink strong enough to go after TB

If you drink green tea, you probably do it for one of two reasons…

To keep your cancer risk down or to keep your metabolism up.

These are two of green tea’s most popular perks. But green tea has a huge benefit that most people forget about…

It’s antibacterial.

Green tea goes to bat against a variety of disease-causing bacteria… including bacteria that targets your mouth (like Streptococcus mutans) and skin (like Staphylococcus aureus).

And a new study shows it may even work against a potentially deadly bacterial lung infection that’s becoming resistant to conventional antibiotics…

Powerful green tea compound targets TB

Researchers from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore just discovered that a compound in green tea called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) could stop the growth of a bacteria that causes tuberculosis.

In their study, researchers looked at 20 different compounds to see how they impacted bacterial cells from bacteria strains in the same family as M. tuberculosis, the bacteria that causes tuberculosis.

EGCG was the only compound that could block the energy supply to these bacterial cells. By blocking their energy supply, ECGC prevents these bacterial cells from completing important cell processes necessary for survival. They become unstable and eventually die. In other words? EGCG could kill the bacteria that cause tuberculosis.

Now, in case you don’t know, tuberculosis typically affects the lungs and it can make you pretty dang sick. It can even kill you. People with tuberculosis usually develop symptoms like coughing, chest pains, weakness, weight loss, fever and night sweats.

There are prescription antibiotics that can treat tuberculosis. But like a lot of bacterial diseases, tuberculosis is becoming more resistant to antibiotics. In fact, there’s a strain of the disease known as multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) that doesn’t respond to the antibiotics most often used to treat TB. Only 56 percent of people with MDR-TB are treated successfully.

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Adding green tea to your antibacterial arsenal

About 1.5 million people died from tuberculosis worldwide in 2018. That’s a lot of people… which is why this discovery about EGCG is so promising.

And like I mentioned earlier, ECGC doesn’t only act against bacteria in the tuberculosis family. It acts against Streptococcus mutans, a bacteria that causes plaque in your mouth, contributes to cavities, and leads to tooth decay.

It also acts against Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a bacteria that causes respiratory tract and bloodstream infections and is becoming more and more antibiotic-resistant. It can even work against notorious superbugs like Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Escherichia coli (E. coli).

So, next time you’re looking for a natural remedy that packs an anti-bacterial punch, don’t forget about green tea. You can drink a few glasses of green tea per day to help keep bacterial buggers at bay internally. Or you can apply cooled green tea externally as an antiseptic. Research shows it can speed up the time it takes wounds to heal.

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  1. Compound in green tea plant shows potential for fighting tuberculosis — MedicalXpress
  2. Disrupting coupling within mycobacterial F-ATP synthases subunit ε causes dysregulated energy production and cell wall biosynthesisScientific Reports
  3. 10 Proven Benefits of Green Tea — Healthline
  4. The antimicrobial possibilities of green teaFrontiers in Microbiology
  5. Tuberculosis — World Health Organization
  6. Trends in Tuberculosis, 2018 — Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  7. Effect of green tea (Camellia sinensis) extract on healing process of surgical wounds in ratInternational Journal of Surgery
  8. Bactericidal activity of green tea extracts: the importance of catechin containing nanoparticlesScientific Reports
Jenny Smiechowski

By Jenny Smiechowski

Jenny Smiechowski is a Chicago-based freelance writer who specializes in health, nutrition and the environment. Her work has appeared in online and print publications like Chicagoland Gardening magazine, Organic Lifestyle Magazine, BetterLife Magazine,, and