Using tea to help heal radiation injury to the skin

Skin toxicity is a common side effect of the external beam radiotherapy used to treat patients suffering from solid cancers. In this report on 60 patients (ie, cancer of the head and neck or pelvic region), applying tea extracts to the irritated spots caused by the radiation speeded healing.

How’d they do that?
Two tea bags were covered with filtered water (black tea: boiling water; green tea: water at 158?F [70?C]) for five minutes. The resulting tea was then stored in the dark at -4?F (-20?C).

Tea treatment consisted of applying green or black tea extracts to affected skin regions three times daily. Green tea was more effective than black tea.

How tea helps the skin heal is complicated. If you’re interested, the abstract is here, and it links to a free PDF of the article.

12/5/06 09:35 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.