Green Tea

What is green tea?

Green tea is a type of tea made from the leaves of Camellia sinensis.  It is not fermented like black and oolong teas.  Instead, it is steamed at high temperatures, which prevents oxidation by inactivating certain oxidizing enzymes.  As a result, green tea is high in polyphenols, such as flavanols (which include catechins), flavandiols, flavonoids and phenolic acids.  Catechins seem to be responsible for many of the benefits of green tea.


Where is green tea found?

Green tea can be found in any grocery store tea section. Both caffeinated and decaffeinated varieties are available.  It is also sold as an oral supplement and topical extract ointment.


What are the benefits of green tea?

Intake of green tea is used to improve cognitive performance and mental alertness.  It is also used to treat prevent/treat certain cancers, hyperlipidemia, Parkinson’s disease, and hypotension. It may be effective as an aid in weight loss, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension.  When used topically, green tea is used to treat genital warts. Additionally, the bags can be used to wash and soothe sunburn and as a compress for a headache or tired eyes.


Are there interactions between green tea and medications?

Because of the caffeine in green tea, one should be cautious and consult a doctor when taking amphetamines, cocaine, ephedrine, mexiletine, terbinafine (lamisil), adenosine, anticoagulant drugs, beta-andrenergic agonists, boronic acid-based proteaseome inhibititors, bortezomib (velcade), cimetidine (tagamet), clozapine (clozaril), dipyridamole (persantine), lithium, hepatotoxic drugs, fluvoxamine (luvox), fluconazole (diflucan), and estrogens.


Green tea appears to reduce the absorption of iron from foods.  Also, milk added to green tea has been shown to enhance some of the cardiovascular benefits of green tea.



Are there side effects of green tea?

Some possible (but rare) side effects may be nausea, vomiting, abdominal bloating and pain, flatulence, diarrhea, dizziness, insomnia, fatigue, and restlessness.

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