Excessive intake will increase the likelihood of adverse effects due to the caffeine content and therefore is not recommended for people with hypertension, cardiac arrhythmias, severe liver disease, anxiety disorders or insomnia.
® PREGNANCY USE
Usual dietary intakes appear safe; however, excessive use is not recommended due to the caffeine content of green tea.
PRACTICE POINTS/PATIENT COUNSELLING
• Green tea is made from the same plant as black tea, but it contains greater amounts of polyphenols and generally less caffeine.
• Green tea has been found to have significant antioxidant activity and protect against sunburn when applied topically.
• It has antibacterial activity and is used in oral preparations to reduce plaque and improve gingival health.
• Several in vitro and animal studies have shown anticarcinogenic activity for a range of cancers and some epidemiological evidence further suggests cancer protective effects may occur; however, further research is required.
• Epidemiological evidence suggests green tea may reduce cardiovascular disease.
• Preliminary evidence from animal studies has shown that it increases thermogen-esis, decreases appetite, reduces inflammation in colitis, reduces glucose levels in diabetes and may be useful in renal failure.
• It is not known whether use will promote weight loss in humans as research results are inconsistent.
ANSWERS TO PATIENTS' FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What will this herb do for me?
Green tea has strong antioxidant effects and some population studies suggest that regular consumption may reduce the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease. Early research has found it may be useful for sunburn protection, reducing dental plaque formation, colitis, diabetes, renal disease and as an antiseptic. However, further research is required. When will it start to work?
This will depend on the reason it is being used. Preventative health benefits are likely to take several years of regular daily tea consumption. Effects on oral health care appear to develop more quickly, within 2 weeks. Are there any safety issues?
Research suggests that green tea is a safe substance when used in usual dietary doses, but excessive consumption may produce side-effects, chiefly because of the caffeine content.
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