Monday, May 16, 2011

Green Tea is medicine!

Green tea (Camellia sinensis) is one of the most widely studied plants for medicinal use. Phytotherapy students at PRC recently reviewed available research on peer reviewed medical databases (such at PubMed and others). We discussed our findings and have summarized them here. Please contact us or comment if you are interested in viewing the references for related studies.
NOTE: This review includes human and in vitro studies of Camellia sinensis and in some cases studeies are limited to small sample extracted constituents. It is not intended to conclude curative actions for the disorders listed. We are providing information for research interest only, and will provide further info on resources if requested.

Potential Actions: 
antioxidant, chemoprotective, anti-carcinogenic, anti-mutagenic, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-rheumatic, chrondoprotective, UV protective, radioprotective, anti-inflammatory, osteoprotective, hypoglycemic.

Medicinal uses supported by preliminary studies:
  • reduce cancer risk and progression (including ovarian, prostate  lung, gastrointestinal, breast, skin, leukemia, bladder.
  •  protect from UV radiation (internal and external use), and from radiation therapy side effects.
  • prevention of cardiovascular disease,  including coronary artery disease, and prevention of hypertension.
  • improve vascular function and reduce low-density-lipoprotein oxidation.
  • decreasing cartilage destruction in Rheumatoid Arthrtis, Osteoarthritis, periodontal disease.
  • decrease risk of osteoporosis and related fractures by regulating bone metabolism, particularly when associated with exercise.
Metabolic / Diabetes:
  • increasing satiety.
  • obesity and over eating.
  • decreases / management of blood sugar.
  • decrease sebum production to treat acne.
  • eye damage and ocular inflammation.
  • decrease risk of death from pneumonia.
  • hemochromatosis.
  • modulation of immune response in autoimmunity.
  • prevent or slow cognitive dysfunction/degradation.
  • chelating heavy metals.

    -may be inappropriate for patients with insomnia who are sensitive to caffeine; caution should be for patients with heart conditions due to risk of tachycardia; limit of 1-2 cups per cay during pregnancy and lactation.

    -over consumption may cause problems due to caffeine content, sensitive people may experience nervousness, sleep disorders, vomiting, headache, epigastric pain, tachycardia; aluminium content may cause accumulation especially problematic for patients with renal disorders; disruption of iron bioavailablity is a concern for anaemic patients; diuretic effect should be monitor and dosage limited accordingly.


  1. Medical herbs have been used since the beginning of time. In fact, many of the prescription drugs on the market today are derived from plant products. Herbal products are also known as dietary supplements, alternative therapies, complementary medicine, and homeopathic or holistic healthcare.

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  2. You don't say whether these are in vitro, in vivo, in animal or human studies, whether they are trials controlled or not. Whether the effects are statistically significant or prospectively inferred. Without that context it sounds like you've got the cure for cancer, obesity, heart disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis etc. which you haven't. Since stress is inplicated in most all disease the most relevant points you make are in the contraindications and cautions viz caffeine. Traditionally herbalists would consider this an overt nervous system stimulant. These anti-oxidant effects are found in many plants especially fresh fruit ang veg. Green tea is not really a panacea.

  3. Thanks for your comments James. Your point about the study types is understood and this is why we have offered to share references to those interested in further research. We are certainly not trying to present Camellia sinensis as a panacea as there is no such thing. Please allow us to clarify that our intention is to share information with herbal professionals and students and this article is offered as a review of research and not meant to conclude any "curative" actions. We can see that the format of the post may seem misleading and we appreciate the feedback. We have made some changes to the post and our blog to avoid having members of public misinterpret the information provided here.

  4. I also wanted to add, just for the sake of discussion, that part of our reason for pursuing this review was to evaluate the relevancy of scientific reasearch in herbal medicine. It seems there is value in both traditional and modern scientific herbal knowledge. I am inclined to view medicines as whole plants, not constituents; and to view relevant information that pertains to people, not petri dishes. However, sometimes other study models offer insights along the way to further understanding about health. Ultimately it is up to the individual herbalist / person to apply knowledge to the specific case. Each person is unique and changing in each moment, so medicine is dynamic and no conclusion applies to every situation.

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