Looking to improve her health with green tea, a teen's heavy consumption of the antioxidant-rich brew did the opposite, in one regard, and caused her to developed acute hepatitis.
The 16-year-old had complained to her general practitioner about stomach and joint pain, along with dizziness and nausea. She had been heavily consuming green tea in the previous three months before bringing her newly developed symptoms to her doctor.
The teen bought the green tea online in an effort to lose weight, she said.
"Most of the ingredients of the tea I bought were written in Chinese," she said. "I had only lost a couple of pounds but then started having horrible pains in my joints, and felt very dizzy and sick."
Her doctor prescribed her amoxicillin, which is used to treat bacterial infections, according to the case report that was published in the British Medical Journal. She only took two doses of the antibiotic before she had to be rushed to the hospital via ambulance.
At that point, she was advised that she was suffering from jaundice, which causes the skin to yellow. The presence of jaundice signifies the presence of a serious, underlying disease.
"She denied ingestion of alcohol, taking any 'over-the-counter' medications such as paracetamol, or illicit drug use," states the case report. "There was no recent travel history or previous blood transfusions."
From there, she was referred to the hospital's acute medical team. Medical professionals soon discovered the source of the jaundice was inflammation of the liver, which was determined to have been caused by hepatitis.
"Only following specific questioning did she reveal that she had, in the preceding three months, regularly consumed internet ordered Chinese green tea, which contained Camellia sinensis," the case report says. "After ceasing green tea consumption, there was a rapid and sustained recovery of her hepatitis."
Green tea, for the most part, is a "very safe and healthy drink" that has antioxidants in it, stated the researchers to examine the young Yemeni girl's bizarre case. It's the additives that can cause serious health problems, particularly in cases they introduce additional substances in an effort to promote weight loss.
According to the report, pesticides, which are known to contaminate green tea infusions, may also be widely used during the growing of tea trees.
"There is potential for pesticide-induced hepatitis to exist, especially from less regulated products ordered from developing countries over the internet," the report says.