1. Health & Lifestyle

Kangra Tea to boost immunity against COVID-19

Hitul Awasthi
Hitul Awasthi

The majestic Dhauladhar mountain range and tea gardens adds to the beauty of Kangra valley in Himachal Pradesh. The climate, characteristic terrain and soil conditions makes this valley a suitable place of tea cultivation. Kangra tea is special and has been registered as a Geographical Indication (GI) due to it’s unique characteristics.

Recently, it was found that the phytochemicals present in Kangra tea, can be more effective in blocking SARC-Cov-2 than anti-HIV drugs. 

Dr Sanjay Kumar, Director, IHBT (Institute of Himalayan Bioresource Technology), Palampur discussed the benefits of Kangra tea for society and industry, medicinal properties of the tea for human health and the technologies developed and transferred by the IHBT for combating COVID-19 during a webinar organised at the institute on the occasion of International Tea Day.

“Using computer-based models, scientists screened 65 bio-active chemicals, called polyphenols, which could bind to a specific viral protein more efficiently than commercially available anti-HIV drugs approved for treating COVID-19 patients. These chemicals might block the activity of the viral protein that helps the virus to thrive inside human cells,” said Dr Kumar.

According to a communication released by the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) is considering replacing hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) with anti-HIV drugs to improve immunity and possibly reduce viral replication. However, Kangra tea could prove to be a more effective weapon against the disease, says a well-known expert.

Fresh tea leaves are rich in flavanols - a group of phenolic compounds known as catechins. Flavanols shows antibacterial activity against many bacterial pathogens. These are natural antioxidants that help prevent cell damage and have anti-cancer properties.

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