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Posted November 4, 2015

Green Tea from Tea Bags Linked to Acute Hepatitis

According to a case report published on September 23, 2015 (Lugg, BMJ Case Rep 2015), a 16-year old girl in England developed acute hepatitis in connection with the consumption of green tea. The girl ordered a Chinese brewable green tea online (100 tea bags per box) and had been drinking 3 cups per day for approximately 3 months when she developed symptoms of acute hepatitis, including jaundice, joint pain, dizziness and nausea, and was admitted to the hospital. She was treated, stopped drinking the green tea, and was released from the hospital when her symptoms resolved. Other potential causes of hepatitis were ruled out.

The exact green tea product is not identified in the report, although the girl noted that most of the ingredients listed on the box of tea bags were written in Chinese. She drank the tea hoping to lose weight.

As noted in the Green Tea Review, supplements containing green tea extract are known to be one of the most common supplements linked with liver toxicity and injury, however this appears to be one of the first reports of hepatitis associated with a brewable green tea. A small number of cases of liver toxicity have been reported with drinking green tea "infusions."

For more about liver toxicity and injury associated with green tea, and our tests of products, see the Green Tea Supplements, Drinks, Brewable Teas, and Matcha Review.