Recent Blog Articles


Tea: Drink to your health?

December 18, 2013

About the Author

photo of Stephanie Watson

Stephanie Watson, Executive Editor, Harvard Women's Health Watch

Stephanie Watson was the Executive Editor of the Harvard Women’s Health Watch from June 2012 to August 2014. Prior to that, she has worked as a writer and editor for several leading consumer health publications, including … See Full Bio
View all posts by Stephanie Watson


As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.

No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.


February 14, 2014

You say tea is not for everyone if you have to add additives to it but you can go drink coffee? I’m guessing that means coffee’s for everyone? Also, I don’t know about anyone else but I see people add way more sweeteners to their coffee.. I think tea is certainly better than coffee and even if you add additives it requires less sweeteners to make it sweet than coffee.. (I’m referring to teas containing camellia synthesis of course, not all teas.) I’m just saying plain tea is easier to get down than black coffee..

February 14, 2014

I always need a cup of green tea in the morning. Now I know that I’m getting healthy by drinking tea

February 12, 2014

I enjoyed your post on teas and what they do for you. Are there any more health facts on teas? If so, what are they?

Dr.Sachin Nichite
February 4, 2014

Thanks for giving out grand tips related to tea. Black tea can protect you from skin cancer diseases and green tea is better for Digestion system. We must have drunk tea at least one cup for one day.

Elaine Terman
February 2, 2014

I think you’d be hard pressed to find much testament to the health benefits of coffee, and to even suggest it might be equally healthy as tea is absurd. In comparison to the amount of positive research results on tea, coffee might offer a tiny fraction. And that’s a desperate reach to grab back those who’ve left coffee for the far healthier tea. Tea has been voluminously studied for decades, and there’s plenty of reason to make the health choice switch to tea!

Holly Zimin
January 6, 2014

Very nice article. I also think that the tea is maybe the healthiest drink on earth. I found that Black tea can protect you from skin cancer and that Rose Hip tea has a really,really big positive influence on our body + many recipes for using tea to protect our body and health.

January 5, 2014

Thank you for summarizing what you have learned about tea. However, for those of us who have read that herbal tea and especially de-caffeinated green tea have similar benefits without the caffeine it would be helpful if you would cover all the broad categories of tea alternatives.

Susan Desrosiers
January 2, 2014

Does anyone else find that drinking tea, even just a few cups a day, worsens arthritic pain? I am curious to know if it is a known side effect for some people as I am wondering if it is just in my imagination. Because I love my cup of black tea in the morning!

sumeet kaul
January 1, 2014

green tea is better for Digesion

Tiana Gustafson
December 31, 2013

Thank you so much for the awesome information about how to take better care of our bodies. I will look forward to applying the advice and also sharing it with my followers at I will be back to check out more great content. Thanks again!

Leslie Martin
December 22, 2013

I visited South Africa about 10 years ago and fell in love with Roobois tea. It supposedly has curative powers. I find it very good to relieve stress or when I have a cold.
They taught me how to make it properly down there. You have to let the tea soak in hot water for at least 20 minutes.

December 21, 2013

I do think there is sufficient materials assisting the health advantage you can possess through herbal tea, specifically with The far east. Make sure you allow me to recognize an individual problem in depth and maybe I’m able to provide acceptable reason pertaining to having herbal tea!

Roo Bookaroo
December 20, 2013

Another point that needed critical comment.
From the very start, you denigrate tea with an absurd comparison: ” To me, the flavor is reminiscent of twigs soaked in warm dishwater. ”
Besides the fact that we can feel pretty sure that you’ve never drunk such a bizarre concoction, and are serving up an invented fallacy, you start by insinuating that tea resembles “twigs”, when “twig” is in fact ” a small shoot or branch usually without its leaves.” (Merriam-Webster). Whereas tea, or at least the parts of the plant that are used for tea infusion, is not the branches, but the leaves of the plant.

Such a misrepresentation from somebody who presents herself as the “Executive Editor” of a major Harvard Health publication, is stunning. When I was a graduate student at Harvard, accuracy of language and exactitude of facts were considered paramount. “Ah, but you have to arouse the reader’s interest with a fanciful prose, or shock him out of his lethargy with outrageous speculations!” you seem to imply.

Then you continue with your fantasy descriptions. I have been a tea drinker for a long time, and have been introduced to some very expensive varieties of teas that cost up to $500/lb and even more. Never have I heard a tea connoisseur or a tea fanatic exclaiming “ooh” over his or her cup of oolong, imperial pu-erh, or superior green tea. On the contrary, such expensive teas are the occasion of learned discourses on the original plantation, the rarity of the crops, the method of collecting leaves and their treatment, fermentation, and other technical observations.
And if tea drinkers do finish their cup (which is not always the case), it is more out of politeness to a host, or genuine appreciation, or because of real thirst, than because they “cherish every drop of their chai.” In reality, they’re more likely to cherish the first drops than the last ones, that may often be abandoned in the cup or the pot.
All this flowery writing that wants to pass as “literary”, with all its imaginary descriptions and suppositions, is a real turn-off in science and health writing. It is an alarm bell to the reader to stay on one’s guard and remain skeptical of the knowledge of the writer.

Roo Bookaroo
December 20, 2013

“To me, the flavor is reminiscent of twigs soaked in warm dishwater.”
Really? Have you ever tasted “twigs soaked in warm dishwater”?
Why use imaginary comparisons in an article intended to deliver objective, scientific facts? Only to make your prose sounds flowery and interesting?
“I’m as green as Japanese sencha”: What does that mean? Why use absurd comparisons which have no objective basis? Again, to make the prose sounds interesting?
“Not being a tea enthusiast”, but you just said that you DON’T drink tea. It is no longer a question of “enthusiasm”, as if you were a moderate drinker of ordinary tea, but simply not interested in becoming a knowledgeable connoisseur, which is what “enthusiast” seems to mean.
” I immediately wondered whether any other foods could offer the same health boost.” Is this kind of personal rumination part of an objective reporting on results of research? Why do you have to inject your own preferences, feelings, and musings, into an objective piece of reporting? Why inject your personal quirks into such an article?
“I also had to ask whether it’s possible to capitalize on tea’s healthful properties without actually drinking the stuff”. Did you really ask a researcher (Dr. Sesso)? If so, why not say it plainly? Because writing plainly may seem to you to be cheapening your prose?
“If you’re a tea drinker, continue to enjoy your Darjeeling, Earl Grey, or Lapsang souchong. If you’re not into tea, don’t use the research as a reason to change your drinking preferences.” If such recommendations do come from Dr. Sesso, why not attribute them to him directly, instead of making them sound as the product of your wisdom? This lack of direct referencing of your comments is, in my mind, a distinct weakness of your presentation, and a reason I read your prose with some skepticism.
The whole article does not come through as a solid, trustworthy piece of reporting, as your interest in embellishing it by using your own feelings and subjective opinions as the framework of your journalistic presentation obscures the real output of the researchers themselves.
The real question is: are readers, who are seriously interested in whatever comes out of the research about tea, really interested in your personal feelings about tea? Do they have any relevance to the aim of the article itself?
It is very bizarre to ask a writer who seems to hate tea — and does not drink it, and sprinkles the whole article with her subjective reactions — to report on tea research.

December 31, 2013

This has to be one of the most finely parsed exegetical comments I’ve seen of an online article! Roo would make a sharp editor if not one already…

Prof. Akbar Khan
December 19, 2013

Tea is good for digestion and digestive disorders.

Dr. Jamil Qasem
December 19, 2013

I enjoy drinking black and green tea 5 cups a day. I feel well when I drink it in sickness and while travelling.I advice others to do so.
Thanks for sharing this information.

December 19, 2013

I am a tea lover and get used 5-6 cups of tea per day.Especially I like green tea without sugar.I think that tea is the most healthy drink forever.

Andrés Moles
December 19, 2013

What about mate, a close relative of tea? In countries like Uruguay, Argentina and also in some regions of Brazil (the south)it´s a sort of national beverage.

John Zhang
December 19, 2013

I think there is enough material supporting the health benefit we can have from tea,especially in China. Please let me know you question in detail and maybe I can give you a good reason for drinking tea !

John Zhang

LongRun Tea

Hui Wen
December 19, 2013

Instead of “English” teas, you could also try Chinese or Japanese teas (like Jasmine, Pu Er, Tie Kuan Yin, Loong Jin, matcha), which have a slightly different taste & which are always drunk without milk or sugar. The Chinese also drink Chrysanthemum “tea” (actually there’s no tea at all, it’s just Chrysanthemum flowers).

carlos ramos
December 19, 2013

green tea is the best antioxidant I’ve never known! try to drink at least 1 cup per day.

December 18, 2013

Enjoyed your well rounded post on teas and the fact that some teas have additional added antioxidant levels. Using any natural product responsibly [not in excess], that has been touted for having high expectations of added health benefits is very important too. I am partial to a green tea called Japanese Matcha used for over 400 yrs, [full disclosure – I have not always been a tea drinker], known for having the highest levels of antioxidants of [all] teas. Aside from its apparent antioxidant benefits, it gives most people a feeling of well-being too, that alone is a positive for immune system purposes!

Peter Sabbagh
think matcha

Commenting has been closed for this post.

Free Healthbeat Signup

Get the latest in health news delivered to your inbox!

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Thanks for visiting. Don't miss your FREE gift.

The Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness, is yours absolutely FREE when you sign up to receive Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Sign up to get tips for living a healthy lifestyle, with ways to fight inflammation and improve cognitive health, plus the latest advances in preventative medicine, diet and exercise, pain relief, blood pressure and cholesterol management, and more.

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Get helpful tips and guidance for everything from fighting inflammation to finding the best diets for weight loss...from exercises to build a stronger core to advice on treating cataracts. PLUS, the latest news on medical advances and breakthroughs from Harvard Medical School experts.

BONUS! Sign up now and
get a FREE copy of the
Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Stay on top of latest health news from Harvard Medical School.

Plus, get a FREE copy of the Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness.