Green tea consumption has a long tradition in Asian countries--especially China. The epidemiologically and experimentally observed anticarcinogenic and antiinflammatory effects of green tea have led to the implementation of green tea extracts in multiple therapeutic applications - both in dermatological and cosmeceutical preparations. The most abundant evidence exists for the anticarcinogenic and chemopreventive effect of green tea or its major constituent epigallocatechin-3-gallate. Almost equally evident is the effect in infectious diseases such as cutaneous viral infections. For external genital warts, a topical ointment with green tea extracts was licensed in the USA in 2010, and recently also in Europe. Experimental evidence pinpointing the block of central signal transduction factors in inflammatory mechanisms has led to the evaluation of catechins in inflammatory disorders such as atopic dermatitis. The belief of green tea as a "wonder weapon" against diseases dates back thousands of years. According to a Chinese legend, ancient Emperor Shen Nung noted a delightful aroma after some leaves of a nearby tree had fallen into boiling water. He immediately proclaimed the new "drink" as "heaven-sent", starting the belief - persisting until today - of green tea as a medication from nature against many different diseases. This review summarizes biological effects and clinical implications of green tea.
© 2015 Deutsche Dermatologische Gesellschaft (DDG). Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.