Black tea polyphenols: a mechanistic treatise

Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2014;54(8):1002-11. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2011.623198.


Dietary interventions are among the emerging trends to curtail physiological malfunctioning like cancer, diabetes, cardiac complications, etc. The essence of phytonutrients has developed the concept of nutraceuticals at the junction of diet health linkages. In this context, theaflavin & thearubigins are the oxidized derivatives of black tea catechins during fermentation having nutraceutical potential owing to esterification of hydroxyl ring with digallate esters. Theaflavin may influence activation of transcription factors such as NFnB or AP-1 that ultimately hinder the formation of nitric oxide expression gene. Likewise, black tea contains a unique amino acid theanine acts as neurotransmitter owing to its ability to cross the blood-brain barrier. Moreover, it boasts immunity by enhancing the disease-fighting ability of gamma delta T cells. Theaflavin & thearubigins act as safeguard against oxidative stress thereby effective in the cardiac functioning. The mechanistic approach of these antioxidants is likely to be associated with inhibition of redox sensitive transcription factors & pro-oxidant enzymes such as xanthine oxidase or nitric oxide synthase. However, their involvement in antioxidative enzyme induction as in glutathione-S-transferases is also well documented. They act as curative agent against numerous pathological disorders by disrupting the electron chain thus inhibiting the progression of certain ailments. Black tea polyphenols established themselves as strong antioxidants due to their standard one-electron potential, and their vitality is dependent on the concentration of polyphenols and pH for their inclusive execution. Present review is an attempt to enrich the readers regarding the health promoting aspects of black tea polyphenols. Concomitantly, it needs core attention of researchers for the exploitations of black tea flavanols as an important dietary constituent for the vulnerable segment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants
  • Biflavonoids
  • Camellia sinensis / chemistry
  • Catechin / analogs & derivatives
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Fermentation
  • Flavonoids*
  • Glutamates
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Immunity
  • Nutrition Policy
  • Phytotherapy
  • Polyphenols
  • Tea / chemistry*


  • Antioxidants
  • Biflavonoids
  • Flavonoids
  • Glutamates
  • Polyphenols
  • Tea
  • thearubigin
  • theaflavin
  • theanine
  • Catechin