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Black tea, made from the camellia sinensis plant (the same as green tea), contains powerful antioxidants, which keep your cells in good health.

What are its health benefits?

Consuming black tea regularly may:

  • Assist in the reduction of blood clotting and inflammation
  • Assist in the prevention of type 2 diabetes
  • Assist in the prevention of tooth decay
  • Assist in the management of Parkinson’s disease

It may also assist in the alleviation of:

  • The symptoms associated with osteoporosis
  • An upset stomach
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Headaches
  • The symptoms associated with kidney stones

Black tea is rich in caffeine. It can therefore help boost your mental alertness and concentration. Even “decaffeinated” black tea contains some caffeine.

Due to the polyphenols and antioxidants in black tea, there is some evidence that it may reduce certain cancer risks, including colorectal, stomach, lung, ovarian and breast cancer.

Some people drink black tea for weight loss, but there is no scientific evidence to support its effectiveness.

Black tea comes in the form of tea leaves, tea bags, black tea powder, or black tea supplements. Black tea oil is available in anti-ageing skin products.

Recommended dietary allowance (RDA)

Drinking 200 to 300mg of caffeine daily is reportedly safe for most people. That is roughly between four to 10 cups daily. Drink your tea between meals. If you are at risk of an iron deficiency wait at least one hour after eating before having a cup.

Black tea supplements may interfere with other medicines and supplements, while some medicines can cause caffeine to remain in your body longer than usual. So first talk to your Clicks pharmacist about whether you should be taking them and the correct dosage if so. 

Possible side effects

While black tea risks are mild, its caffeine content can disrupt the central nervous system, making some people jumpy and excitable.

Possible black tea side effects may include:

  • Upset stomach or heartburn from stomach acid
  • Diuretic effect (causing increased passing of urine)
  • Diarrhoea
  • Caffeine can aggravate gastrointestinal conditions

Black tea tannins may cause nausea and vomiting, as well as compromise the absorption of nonheme iron, the type of iron found in plant-based foods. Combining black tea with other types of caffeine can also be very dangerous.

If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, rather moderate your intake of black tea to a maximum of two to three cups a day.

Ensure you discuss dietary supplementation with your Clicks pharmacist to avoid the potential for side effects and adverse interactions with medications.

The accuracy of this information was checked and approved by Clicks' pharmacist Waheed Abdurahman in August 2015