Hong Kong Med J 2001;7:369-74 | Number 4, December 2001
SEMINAR PAPERS—COMPLEMENTARY MEDICINE
The medicinal action of androgens and green tea epigallocatechin gallate
Tang Center for Herbal Medicine Research, Ben May Institute for Cancer Research and Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, US
Unorthodox (non-traditional or alternative) medicinal practices have been expanding very rapidly in western countries. Modern physicians, scientists, and non-traditional medicine practitioners now must join forces to promote evidence-based medicine to benefit patients. Green tea extracts are among the most widely used ancient medicinal agents, while androgens are probably the oldest drugs used in a purified form in traditional Chinese medicine. It is now clear that a specific green tea catechin, (-)epigallocatechin-3-gallate, can modulate the production and biological actions of androgens and other hormones. Modulation of androgenic activity and administration of (-)epigallocatechin-3-gallate may be useful for the treatment of various hormone-related abnormalities, such as benign prostatic hyperplasia, baldness, and acne, as well as androgen-dependent and - independent prostate cancers. (-)Epigallocatechin-3-gallate has also been shown to modulate appetite and control obesity in animals.
Key words: Catechin; Medicine, Chinese traditional; Obesity; Prostatic neoplasms; Testosterone 5-alpha-reductase
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