Oral hypoglycaemic, antihyperglycaemic and antidiabetic activities of Sri Lankan Broken Orange Pekoe Fannings (BOPF) grade black tea (Camellia sinensis L.) in rats

J Ethnopharmacol. 2011 May 17;135(2):278-86. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2011.02.035. Epub 2011 Mar 17.


ETHNOPHARMCOLOGICAL RELEVANCE: Sri Lankan traditional practitioners recommend the consumption of black tea infusion (BTI) made from Camellia sinensis L. plant for regulation of glycaemia. However, they do not specify the grade of tea and their origin (i.e., agroclimatic elevation) and as such many prediabetics and milddiabetics use BOPF grade tea.

Aim of the study: This study examines the blood glucose lowering potential of Sri Lankan BOPF grade tea and its potency with respect to agroclimatic elevations.

Materials and methods: Unblended orthodox BOPF grade tea samples were collected from high-, mid- and low-grown agroclimatic elevations in Sri Lanka. Different concentrations of warm BTI (60, 120 and 480 mg/ml), tolbutamide (reference drug: 22.5mg/kg body weight) and water (control) were orally administered to different groups of rats, and hypoglycaemic and antihyperglycaemic activities were assessed. Antidiabetic activity was determined using streptozotocin induced diabetic rats. Mechanisms of blood glucose lowering actions were investigated using several standards techniques.

Results: BTI exhibited significant (P<0.05), dose-dependent and marked hypoglycaemic and antihyperglycaemic activities with quick onset. These effects did not differ with respect to agroclimatic elevation, although there were differences in the content of phyto-constituents. BTI also showed marked and quick antidiabetic activity. BTI inhibited intestinal glucose absorption and impaired α-glucosidase and α-amylase activities. BTI possessed insulinomimetic action, ability to improve insulin sensitivity and in vivo antioxidant activity. Notably, BTI was nontoxic.

Conclusions: BTI of Sri Lankan BOPF grade tea has oral hypoglycaemic, antihyperglycaemic and antidiabetic actions which are mediated via multiple mechanisms. This study also indicates that, BOPF grade tea of any agroclimatic elevations in Sri Lanka could be used in the regulation of glycaemia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / drug therapy*
  • Hypoglycemia / blood
  • Hypoglycemia / drug therapy*
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Tea / chemistry*


  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Tea