Green & White Tea

Green and white tea have been consumed and praised for their health properties for thousands of years worldwide. Originating in China and India,  tea has only recently gained popularity in the United States. Tea is the most consumed beverage on earth behind water. Hailed as the healthiest beverage on the planet, green and white tea are packed with nutrients and antioxidants that have potent effects on the body.

All non-herbal teas are processed from the dried leaves of Camellia sinensis. However, unlike black tea, green and white tea are made from unoxidized leaves. Green and white tea are the least processed forms of tea, therefore they contain the most antioxidants and valuable polyphenols.

Tea Classes:

  • White Tea: Brewed from immature tea leaves with high concentration of catechins. Some evidence suggests addition of lemon to brewed white tea optimizes anti-oxidant capacity.
  • Green Tea: Brewed from more mature leaves compared to white tea. Green tea contains high concentration of catechins and most studies suggest that green tea has highest anti-oxidative potential of all teas.
  • Oolong Tea: Brewed from more mature leaves compared to green tea, but less than black tea. In general, catechin content less than green and white with less anti-oxidant potential.
  • Black tea: Most mature leaves with least catechin content. However, black tea contains a high concentration of a special catechin derivative with robust anti-oxidant activity referred to as theaflavins.


4 Musculoskeletal Benefits of  Green & White Tea

1.  Green & White Tea Supports Joint Health

Free radical damage and an overly exuberant immune response to joint injury are risk factors for unhealthy joints. Tea may both help neutralize free radicals and help promote a healthy immune response to joint injury.

Green and white tea are rich in polyphenols. By some estimates, green tea contains up to 40%  polyphenols by dry weight. Polyphenols, due to their chemical structure, are potent antioxidants. Some scientific data suggests one of the main polyphenols in tea, epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), possesses 25 to 100 times more antioxidant capacity when compared to Vitamin C and Vitamin E. Additionally, green tea may curb the function of a specialized protein called nuclear factor kappa beta. Nuclear factor kappa beta is involved in the activation of genes. Sometimes the genes that are activated by nuclear factor kappa beta promote unhealthy inflammation. Some research suggests that green tea active ingredients hinder nuclear factor kappa beta and in turn reduce the expression of genes that promote unhealthy inflammation.


Iranian researchers investigated the effect of a concentrated green tea extract on individuals with unhealthy knees. After 4 weeks of green tea extract administration, participants reported improved knee health and function. (Hashempur et al. Clinical Nutrition xxx (2016) 1e6)

2.  Green & White Tea Supports Bone Health

Scientific inquiry suggests that the active ingredients in tea, specifically polyphenol derivatives like epigallocatechin­-3-gallate, reduce the activity of bone resorbing cells called osteoclasts. The exact mechanism is unknown; however, possible mechanisms include induction of osteoclast cell death and inhibition of osteoclast formation. Additionally, some research has demonstrated that green tea extract is associated with healthy bone mineralization.

 Chinese researchers evaluated the relationship between green tea consumption and bone mineral density. Analysis of over 12000 individuals demonstrated that green tea consumption was associated with increased bone mineral density in the low back, hip, and thigh bone. (Zhao-Fei Zhang, MD∗, Jun-Long Yang, MM, Huan-Chang Jiang, MM, Zheng Lai, MM, Feng Wu, MM, Zhi-Xiang Liu, MD Updated association of tea consumption and bone mineral density A meta-analysis. Medicine (2017) 96:12(e6437).

3.  Green & White Tea Promote Muscle Health

Active ingredients in green tea support muscle health through various pathways. Green tea has been shown to reduce oxidative stress and oxidative stress is a driving force behind muscle aging. Additionally, some research suggests green tea reduces muscle mass loss after a prolonged period of disuse. Moreover, green tea boosts a healthy inflammatory response to injury. Furthermore, some investigation implies green tea may support muscle stem cell proliferation and differentiation. Finally, green tea may disrupt the cellular signals that promote muscle cell death.


West Virginia researchers looked at the effect of green tea extract on muscle in rats. The author’s demonstrated after a period of inactivity the treatment group had less muscle wasting and an increased number of muscle stem cells compared to the non treatment group.(Alway et al. Green tea extract attenuates muscle loss and improves muscle function during disuse, but fails to improve muscle recovery following unloading in aged rats. J Appl Physiol (1985). 2015 Feb 1; 118(3): 319–330.)

4.  Green & White Tea Promote Tendon Health

Healthy tendons need collagen to function properly. In fact, tendons are  90% collagen by dry weight. Collagen confers on tendons the proper amount of strength that is needed to transfer the force generated by muscle to bones. Some research suggests that active ingredients in green tea help collagen resist the action of an enzyme called collagenase. Collagenase breaks down collagen into smaller pieces; sabotaging its normal function. Additionally, unhealthy inflammation can contribute to chronic tendon damage. Some research suggests green tea promotes a healthy immune response to injury.


Brazilian scientists showed that rats with Achilles tendinitis that were treated with green tea extract exhibited an increased production of collagen proteins and decreased expression of tissue destroying enzymes referred to as matrix metallopreoteinases. (VIEIRA et al. Green Tea and Glycine Modulate the Activity of Metalloproteinases and Collagen in the Tendinitis of the Myotendinous Junction of the Achilles Tendon THE ANATOMICAL RECORD 299:918–928 (2016)

Other Health Benefits:

  • Promotes Heart Health
  • Supports Healthy Blood Pressure
  • Promotes Healthy Blood Sugar
  • Supports Healthy Cholesteral
  • Promotes Brain Health

Excellent Sources:

Camellia sinesis plant:

  • White Tea
  • Green Tea
  • Oolong Tea
  • Black Tea





Tea is generally considered to be nontoxic. Moderate green tea consumption may potentiate the therapeutic effects of anti-coagulation medication and two cardiovascular medications: simvastatin (Zocor) and nadolol (Corgrad).

Drinking more than 5 cups of green tea per day may give you these side effects:

  • If you have diarrhea, too much green tea may aggravate it.
  • Anxiety disorders such as headaches, jittery, upset stomach
  • Green tea may worsen symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Green tea may increase the risk of bleeding
  • Too much green tea may trigger irregular heartbeat.
  • May raise blood pressure in people already suffering from hypertension
  • Pregnant women or breastfeeding moms should abstain from drinking too much green tea, as caffeine may travel pass the placenta and harm the fetus.

Green tea extract in excessive amounts has been associated with: liver toxicity, gastrointestinal distress, agitation, restlessness, insomnia, dizziness, and confusion.


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 Lucas J. Bader MD

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