Medicinal benefits of green tea: Part I. Review of noncancer health benefits

J Altern Complement Med. 2005 Jun;11(3):521-8. doi: 10.1089/acm.2005.11.521.


Tea, in the form of green or black tea, is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world. Extracts of tea leaves also are sold as dietary supplements. However, with the increasing interest in the health properties of tea and a significant rise in scientific investigation, this review covers recent findings on the medicinal properties and noncancer health benefits of both green and black tea. In Part II, a review of anticancer properties of green tea extracts is presented. Green tea contains a unique set of catechins that possess biological activity in antioxidant, anti-angiogenesis, and antiproliferative assays potentially relevant to the prevention and treatment of various forms of cancer. Although there has been much focus on the biological properties of the major tea catechin epigallocatechin gallate (EGCg) and its antitumor properties, tea offers other health benefits; some due to the presence of other important constituents. Characteristics unrelated to the antioxidant properties of green and black teas may be responsible for tea's anticancer activity and improvement in cardiac health and atherosclerosis. Theanine in green tea may play a role in reducing stress. Oxidized catechins (theaflavins in black tea) may reduce cholesterol levels in blood. Synergistic properties of green tea extracts with other sources of polyphenolic constituents are increasingly recognized as being potentially important to the medicinal benefits of black and green teas. Furthermore, due to presumed antioxidant and antiaging properties, tea is now finding its way into topical preparations. Each of these aspects is surveyed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / chemistry
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Arthritis / prevention & control
  • Bone Density / drug effects
  • Catechin / analogs & derivatives
  • Catechin / pharmacology*
  • Drug Synergism
  • Free Radical Scavengers / chemistry
  • Free Radical Scavengers / pharmacology*
  • Heart Diseases / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Neuroprotective Agents / chemistry
  • Neuroprotective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Stress, Psychological / prevention & control
  • Tea / chemistry*
  • Weight Loss / drug effects


  • Antioxidants
  • Free Radical Scavengers
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Plant Extracts
  • Tea
  • Catechin
  • epigallocatechin gallate