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Doctors Warn About Possible Dangers of Excessive Herbal Tea Consumption

A 16-year-old girl from Yemen who drank three cups of Chinese green tea per day for three months has reportedly contracted acute hepatitis. She initially complained of severe abdominal pains, nausea, dizziness and joint pains at a hospital, and thinking she had a urinary tract infection, her doctor sent her home with antibiotics.

Her condition got worse two day later and she went to the A&E department of Birmingham University Hospital where she was referred to the acute medical team. She was subsequently diagnosed of hepatitis, a swelling or inflammation of the liver caused by a virus, or exposing the liver to harmful substances.

Her diagnosis was nailed to the two boxes of Chinese green tea she ordered online, which she drank three cups per day for three months.

She said: “I had bought the green tea over the internet to lose weight. Most of the ingredients of the tea I bought were written in Chinese. I had only lost a couple of pounds but then started having horrible pains in my joints, and felt very dizzy and sick.”

Doctors who wrote in the journal BMJ Case Reports said the girl was ordered to stop drinking the tea immediately and there was a rapid and sustained recovery afterwards. They said it was possible that the addition of chemicals to the tea, perhaps to aid weight loss, or the use of pesticides on tea trees had contaminated tea.

“There is potential for pesticide-induced hepatitis to exist, especially from less regulated products ordered from developing countries over the internet,” they said.

The doctors added that infections developing as a result of excessive herbal tea drinking were a ‘rare but recurring theme,’ warning that though green tea is predominantly a very safe and healthy drink with antioxidant properties, the public should beware of possible dangers.

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“Doctors Warn About Possible Dangers of Excessive Herbal Tea Consumption”

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