Cup that cheers may be a counter to next terror strike

March 16th, 2008 - 3:13 pm ICT by admin  


New York, March 16 (IANS) It may well and truly be the cup that cheers - especially if you are under terrorist attack. A cup of the humble tea - with or without sugar, but minus milk - is an effective antidote to anthrax that, in powder form, terrorised the US post-9/11, according to a new study.

Researchers at Cardiff University and the University of Maryland have found that special components in tea - called polyphenols - can considerably inhibit the activity of Bacillus anthracis - anthrax’s scientific name, Sciencedaily reported.

Findings of the study have been published in the latest issue of the journal Microbiologist.

A very serious and rapidly progressing form of the disease occurs when bacterial spores are inhaled making anthrax a potent threat when used as a biological warfare agent.

Les Baillie, who led the study, said: “Our research sought to determine if tea was more effective than a commercially available American medium roast coffee at killing anthrax. We found that special components in tea such as polyphenols have the ability to inhibit the activity of anthrax quite considerably.”

The study provides further evidence of the wide range of beneficial physiological and pharmalogical effects of this common household item.

The research also shows that the addition of whole milk to a standard cup of tea completely killed its antibacterial activity against anthrax.

Said Baillie: “I would suggest that in the event that we are faced with a potential bio-terror attack, individuals may want to forgo their dash of milk at least until the situation is under control.

“What’s more, given the ability of tea to bring solace and steady the mind, and to inactivate Bacillus anthracis and its toxin, perhaps the Boston Tea Party was not such a good idea after all.”

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