Safety Studies on Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG) Preparations. Part 2: Dermal, Acute and Short-Term Toxicity Studies

Food Chem Toxicol. 2006 May;44(5):636-50. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2005.11.003. Epub 2006 Jan 4.


Green tea extract and its principal active ingredient, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), are gaining attention and increased usage due to their healthful properties. Despite the increasing demand for these products, few studies have examined their safety. The toxicity of purified green tea extracts containing high concentrations of EGCG have been evaluated in a series of studies in order to define the safety of Teavigo, a high-concentration EGCG extract produced by the same novel method. Topical EGCG preparations caused minor dermal irritation in rats and guinea pigs, but not rabbits, and was a moderate dermal sensitizing agent in the guinea pig maximization test. A rabbit eye irritation test produced a strong enough response to not warrant any further testing in this assay. An oral dose delivering 2000 mg EGCG preparation/kg was lethal to rats; whereas, a dose of 200 mg EGCG/kg induced no toxicity. The dietary administration of EGCG preparation to rats for 13 weeks was not toxic at doses up to 500 mg/kg/day. Similarly, no adverse effects were noted when 500 mg EGCG preparation/kg/day was administered to pre-fed dogs in divided doses. This dose caused morbidity when administered to fasted dogs as a single bolus dose, although this model was considered an unrealistic comparison to the human condition. From these studies a no-observed adverse effect level of 500 mg EGCG preparation/kg/day was established.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Administration, Topical
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / isolation & purification
  • Antioxidants / pharmacokinetics
  • Antioxidants / toxicity*
  • Area Under Curve
  • Camellia sinensis / chemistry*
  • Catechin / analogs & derivatives*
  • Catechin / isolation & purification
  • Catechin / pharmacokinetics
  • Catechin / toxicity
  • Dermatitis, Allergic Contact* / etiology
  • Dermatitis, Allergic Contact* / immunology
  • Dogs
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Eye / drug effects
  • Fasting
  • Female
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Male
  • No-Observed-Adverse-Effect Level
  • Rabbits
  • Random Allocation
  • Rats
  • Sex Factors
  • Skin Absorption / drug effects
  • Species Specificity
  • Toxicity Tests, Acute


  • Antioxidants
  • Catechin
  • epigallocatechin gallate