From the archive, originally posted by: [ spectre ]
Bioterror defense — tea anthrax antidote / March 14, 2008
CARDIFF , Wales, March 14 (UPI) — Welsh and U.S. researchers say
black tea — without milk — may be an antidote to the Bacillus
anthracis — anthrax.
Scientists led by Les Baillie of the Welsh School of Pharmacy at
Cardiff University and Theresa Gallagher, Biodefence Institute,
Medical Biotechnology Center of the University of Maryland
Biotechnology Institute in Baltimore, have found that the widely
available English Breakfast tea has the potential to inhibit the
activity of anthrax.
The study, published in Microbiologist, also found the addition of
whole milk to a standard cup of tea completely inhibited its
antibacterial activity against anthrax.
email : bailliel [at] cf [dot] ac [dot] uk
email : gallaght [at] umbi [dot] umd [dot] edu
Is a cup of tea really the answer to everything – even anthrax? / 13 March 2008
A new study by an international team of researchers from Cardiff
University and University of Maryland has revealed how a cup of black
tea could be the next line of defence in the threat of bio-terrorism.
According to the team of scientists led by Professor Les Baillie from
Welsh School of Pharmacy at Cardiff University and Doctor Theresa
Gallagher, Biodefense Institute, part of the Medical Biotechnology
Centre of the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute in
Baltimore, the humble cup of tea could well be an antidote to Bacillus
anthracis -more commonly know as anthrax.
As a nation, the British currently drink 165 million cups of tea, and
the healing benefits of the nation’s favourite beverage have long been
But now the team has found that the widely-available English Breakfast
tea has the potential to inhibit the activity of anthrax, as long as
it is black tea.
Anthrax – a potentially fatal human disease – is caused by the
bacterium Bacillus anthracis. 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.
Published in the March issue of the Society for Applied Microbiology’s
journal Microbiologist, Professor Baillie said: “Our research sought
to determine if English Breakfast 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
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 inhibited its antibacterial activity against
Professor Baillie continued: “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
“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.”
Professor Les Baillie is Professor of Microbiology at Welsh School of
Pharmacy. He is also Associate Professor, Director Biodefense
Initiative, Medical Biotechnology Centre, University of Maryland
Biotechnology Institute in Baltimore, and Adjunct Professor in the
Microbiology and Immunology Department, University of Maryland at