Catechins can help to prevent certain types of cancer and are known to have properties that are antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and anti-haemorrhagic (prevents bleeding from small blood vessels). Catechins have also been shown to help prevent the breakdown of collagen fibres and help with
Catechins compose approximately 25% of the weight of dried tea leaves and are known as green tea phenols. Epigallocatechin known as epigallocatechin 3 gallate, is the ester of epigallocatechin and gallic acid, and is a type of catechin found in tea. It is the most powerful antioxidant known and has been proven to be extremely effective in fighting bladder, brain, cervical, oesophageal, oral, prostate and stomach cancers.
Epigallocatechin also reduces iron-accumulation in instances of neurodegenerative diseases like dementia, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. It can also activate the body’s defence system against TNF alpha-proteins and TGF beta-proteins which are involved in systemic inflammation, help protect against some autoimmune diseases, including Sjögren's syndrome and is beneficial in the treatment of periapical periodontitis.
Epicatechin can elevate levels of nitric oxide in the blood, which helps relax the blood vessels and improves blood flow.
The health benefits of catechins are so striking that it may rival penicillin in terms of importance to public health and some scientists believe that it should be considered a vitamin.
Among the Kuna people of Panama, who can drink up to 40 cups of cocoa per week, rates of cancer, diabetes, heart disease and strokes are less than 10%. The Kuna also live longer than other Panama inhabitants and do not develop dementia or high blood pressure.
NOTE: Unfortunately, flavonoids, such as epicatechin, are removed by many commercial cocoa producers because they tend to have a bitter taste.