A water-soluble extract of a traditional Chinese black tea (Pu-Ehr) has been shown to precipitate mixed bile salt micelles in foods. In addition, long-term ingestion of this black tea extract (BTE) significantly reduces blood cholesterol levels in rats. We investigated the effects of BTE tablets (a formula designed to enhance compliance) as a dietary supplement in a 3-month double-blind randomized group comparison study in borderline hypercholesterolemic human subjects (n = 47). All subjects ingested BTE tablets (333 mg) or placebo 3 times daily before meals for 3 months. In the BTE-treated group, the initial mean blood total (6.14 +/- 0.14 mol/L) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (4.32 +/- 0.14 mol/L) levels decreased with time and were significantly (P < .01) lower (total cholesterol, 5.62 +/- 0.11; LDL cholesterol, 3.81 +/- 0.13 mol/L) after 3 months of ingestion. Furthermore, the mean body weights (P < .05) and triacylglycerol levels (P < .01) were also significantly reduced after 3 months of BTE intake compared with the baseline levels. Significant improvements in the mean LDL cholesterol, body weight, and triacylglycerol values were not accompanied with undesirable changes in other biochemical parameters measured in the subjects. None of the subjects complained of any adverse effects (eg, abdominal distension). The results indicate that BTE intake elicited a significant antihypercholesterolemic effect and might be useful for improving blood cholesterol levels in subjects at risk for heart disease or obesity.