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June 2014

Drinking Black Tea Linked to Lower Cholesterol

Drinking black tea might lower cholesterol, according to a recent study.

Black tea is made from the dried leaves of Camellia sinensis, a shrub native to southeastern Asia. Green tea, black tea, and oolong tea all come from the same plant. Black tea is a traditional beverage in Britain. The quality of tea depends on the age of the tea leaves. There is conflicting evidence for the use of black tea in preventing heart disease and cancer.

In a recent study, researchers conducted a comprehensive literature search to identify studies evaluating the effects of black tea on low-density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad”) cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL or “good”) cholesterol, and total cholesterol. Ten studies evaluating 411 participants were ultimately identified for inclusion.

The researchers found that drinking black tea significantly lowered LDL cholesterol, but not total cholesterol or HDL cholesterol. Furthermore, the LDL cholesterol-lowering effect was greater in people who had a higher heart disease risk.

The authors concluded that drinking black tea lowers LDL cholesterol, without effecting HDL and may be beneficial for people with an increased risk for heart disease.

In addition to black tea, research also suggests that green tea may lower cholesterol; however, studies in people with high cholesterol are limited. Further study in people with this condition is needed before a firm conclusion can be made.

For more information about black tea, please visit Natural Standard’s Foods, Herbs & Supplements Database.


  1. Natural Standard: The Authority on Integrative Medicine.
  2.  Zhao Y, Asimi S, Wu K, et al. Black tea consumption and serum cholesterol concentration: Systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Clinical Nutrition. 16 June 2014. 10.1016/j.clnu.2014.06.003

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