Intended for healthcare professionals

Mixed Messages

Medical myths

BMJ 2007; 335 doi: (Published 20 December 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;335:1288

Is tea good for you?

There's a lot of folklore and literature about the health benefits of tea. This is
unfortunate, because tea is toxic and addictive. I advise against all tea,
including herbal, black, oolong, and green. Herbal tea is not really tea, but a
brew of herbs, which supposedly are beneficial, but actually are quite toxic.
Black, oolong, and green tea all come from the same plant. Black tea has more
caffeine; green tea has more antioxidants; and oolong tea is intermediate
between black tea and green tea. The current antioxidant fad is based on a
distortion of biochemistry. We need some antioxidants, but not an
overabundance. We get more than enough antioxidants from fresh fruits and
vegetables, without resorting to a toxic, bitter, addictive beverage like tea.

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

31 January 2008
Hugh Mann
Eagle Rock, MO 65641 USA