A teenager from England experienced issues with nausea, dizziness, and body aches, thus after visiting the doctor she was prescribed some antibiotics to treat urinary tract infection. She took 2 doses of the medications, but felt more ill, so she rushed to the emergency room at a local hospital. Her skin and the whites of her eyes turned yellow, a clear indication that she suffered from jaundice. Her condition was considered serious at this point and was in need of critical attention. She was believed to have hepatitis because her liver was inflamed and swollen. Thus, they were puzzled what might have caused this condition, so they investigated the circumstances that led to her seeking medical attention. She told them quite a shocking thing.
According to the 16-year-old girl, she did not travel abroad recently, nor had taken any illegal prescription drugs, and hadn’t consumed alcohol. Moreover, she had never had a blood transfusion. After more questions, the doctors found out that she had ordered 2 boxes of green tea from China and she had been drinking 3 cups of it daily.
The reason why she bought it was that she believed it will help her in weight loss and appetite control. She was not able to read or understand the directions as they were written in Chinese, thus did not have the slightest idea what she was drinking.
There was a sample obtained from the tea and then tested. When the results were done she was told to immediately stop drinking it. According to the tests, the tea contained Camellia sinesis, a type of evergreen shrub whose leaves and leaf buds are used in making different tea types, including green tea. The ingredients was the main cause which lead to the teen’s condition and has been connected to liver damage and hepatitis in women who use green tea supplements and extracts.
Patients in some cases suffered from severe liver damage and were left needing transplants, causing even death. There is a high possibility that other chemicals have been added to add stronger weight loss effects.
The case of this teen as written in the journal BMJ Case Reports by the doctors stating that there is a potential for pesticide-induced hepatitis exist, especially from less regulated products ordered from developing countries over the internet. Consumers can’t be positive about the quality as well as the integrity of any tea, thus they order from abroad. They are urged to be wary and very careful about doing so and should also avoid it all-together.
Luckily, the girl recovered quickly and 2 months after stopping the consumption of green tea her liver started to function normally again. Her case has been used by doctors to highlight that excessive consumption of green tea may lead to liver disease and a lot of its varieties that often promise weight loss can contain harmful substances, including pesticides.
If you are drinking green tea, make sure that the brand is known to you and limit the intake to a safe amount.