Green tea safety
There are several things to know about the safety of green tea.
Tea from Camellia sinensis (green, black, oolong, white) is listed as GRAS, generally recognized as safe. This is partly based on a record of human usage lasting for millenia.
Worldwide, at least 2 out of every 3 people will drink at least one cup of tea every day. As far as we know, no one has reported a death from this daily habit in the last 5000 years.
In addition, historical reports of green tea safety and usage document famous people drinking up to 40 cups daily for years. For example, at the time of the American Revolution, Americans were using about 10 pounds of tea annually per capita (no problems except for taxes).
That would amount to more than 5 cups of green tea daily for every man, woman, and child on the continent.
Current research on health (including green tea safety) can track people who enjoy drinking 5-10 cups daily without harm.
In fact, the majority of this research shows health benefits like disease risk reduction, while some studies do not find any impact on a specific condition.
Temperature studies have found that global areas where people drink scalding beverages, including tea and coffee, have more esophageal cancer solely due to the boiling temperature, not the type of beverage.
There are always variations among individuals. For example, a few people working intensely in tea factories have shown allergies to fine particles of tea dust in the air (not drinking it).
Others may find some tea selections have more caffeine than they want.
People with health conditions must consult with their doctor about their diet.
This includes, but is not limited to, patients on kidney dialysis, terminal cases, and some prescription drug usage, such as blood thinners, statins, beta-blockers, cholesterol-lowering drugs, or others.
Some doctors may recommend avoiding tea, or other habits, during treatment or before surgery.
Others may encourage selected patients to adopt lifestyle changes like daily green tea and carefully stop prescription drugs. This can only be decided between the physician and the patient.
As this body of research grows, more studies are being done on tea-drug interactions. Check back with tea news for these studies as they are published.
Concentrated green tea extracts in liquid or supplement forms have been reviewed for safety. While there is no question about the long-term safety of drinking green tea, the concentrated extracts have been associated with a small number of rare liver failure reports.
The U. S. Pharmacopeia reviewed these reports over the last several years.
As of their February 5, 2009 meeting (posted April 10, 2009), they classified the safety level of USP powdered decaffeinated green tea extract as Class A-admitted into the Compendia without the need for a labeling caution/warning statement.
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This page last updated by Sharon Jones.
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