The effect of black tea on blood pressure: a systematic review with meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

PLoS One. 2014 Jul 31;9(7):e103247. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0103247. eCollection 2014.


Objective: Epidemiological evidence has linked consumption of black tea, produced from Camellia sinensis, with a reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases. However, intervention studies on the effects of tea consumption on blood pressure (BP) have reported inconsistent results. Our objective was to conduct a systematic literature review with meta-analysis of controlled human intervention studies examining the effect of tea consumption on BP.

Methods: We systematically searched Medline, Biosis, Chemical Abstracts and EMBASE databases through July 2013. For inclusion, studies had to meet the following pre-defined criteria: 1) placebo controlled design in human adults, 2) minimum of 1 week black tea consumption as the sole intervention, 3) reported effects on systolic BP (SBP) or diastolic BP (DBP) or both. A random effects model was used to calculate the pooled overall effect of black tea on BP.

Results: Eleven studies (12 intervention arms, 378 subjects, dose of 4-5 cups of tea) met our inclusion criteria. The pooled mean effect of regular tea ingestion was -1.8 mmHg (95% CI: -2.8, -0.7; P = 0.0013) for SBP and -1.3 mmHg (95% CI: -1.8, -0.8; P<0.0001) for DBP. In covariate analyses, we found that the method of tea preparation (tea extract powders versus leaf tea), baseline SBP and DBP, and the quality score of the study affected the effect size of the tea intervention (all P<0.05). No evidence of publication bias could be detected.

Conclusions: Our meta-analysis indicates that regular consumption of black tea can reduce BP. Although the effect is small, such effects could be important for cardiovascular health at population level.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Pressure*
  • Humans
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic*
  • Tea*


  • Tea

Grants and funding

Unilever R&D Vlaardingen is the funder of this review and four of the authors are employed by this company. All authors were involved in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, and preparation of the manuscript. DHJT is supported by the Netherlands Heart Foundation (2009T064).