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Diet and Nutrition

Eating Green Tea Leaves

04/30/1999

Question:

I have been made aware of green tea recently, not only brewing it but also eating the tea leaves before brewing to get the nutrition benefit. Are you aware of whether eating green tea leaves is safe.

Answer:

Green tea (also black tea and oolong tea) is certainly being studied a great deal lately, connecting its chemical properties with the potential to prevent cancer and heart disease. The research I have read primarily studied the effects of green tea in the brewed form rather than that of directly eating the leaves. Since substances such as the phytochemicals (plant chemicals) found in green tea are new to nutrition science, their functions and effects on the body are just being discovered. To be on the safe side, I`d advise against eating the tea leaves raw. One researcher felt that 3 or 4 cups of brewed tea would be protective, others may have different "guesstimates." Since the jury is still out on this subject and there is still a great deal to learn, continue to read reputable scientifically-based literature on the subject. I have provided two books that may be of interest to you below. For more information, please see the previously answered question in Netwellness on green tea and soy products.

Thank you for your question. I hope that this is helpful to you.

Recommended reading:

Herbs of Choice by Varro Tyler, PhD

Eat to Heal by Kristine Napier, MPH,RD,LD

For more information:

Go to the Diet and Nutrition health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Jane   Korsberg, MS, RD, LD Jane Korsberg, MS, RD, LD
Senior Instructor of Nutrition
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University