A teenager was shocked when she found that the severe inflammation of the liver she developed was because of the green tea she had been drinking to lose weight.
The 16-year-old girl went to her GP with dizziness, nausea, stomach and joint pains.
The doctor thinking it was urinary tract infection advised antibiotics.
But her symptoms turned worse, so she went to the A&E department of a Birmingham hospital.
A teenager was shocked when she found that the severe inflammation of the liver she developed was because of the green tea she had been drinking to lose weight (file photo)
At this point, her skin and the whites of her eyes had turned yellow, a clear sign that she was suffering from jaundice.
Doctors believed she needed critical attention, since he was suffering from hepatitis, a swelling or inflammation of the liver.
The girl, originally from Yemen, denied drinking alcohol or taking any over-the-counter medicines such as paracetamol, or illegal drugs. So those reasons were ruled out.
However, later she admitted to ordering Chinese green tea over the internet, having been told it could aid weight loss.
Doctors immediately ordered her to stop drinking it, and after treatment with fluids and drugs through a drip, the swelling in her liver went down.
An investigation was conducted, that revealed an ingredient in the tea called Camellia sinensis – a shrub whose leaves and buds are used to make drink – was found to have caused the girl’s illness.
Experts opine that green tea has been linked to liver damage in the past, and there are dozens of cases in medical literature documenting people becoming ill after ingesting tea leaf powder, tea infusions and tea extracts, including in diet pills.
In a few cases due to severe liver failure patients had to undergo a transplant.
The 16-year-old said she will ‘never buy any online tea again or any weight loss pills’.
Experts believe that pesticides used on the tea trees are to blame.
‘There’s potential for pesticide-induced hepatitis to exist, especially from less regulated products ordered from developing countries over the internet,’ they said.
They concluded: ‘The use of herbal remedies is under-reported, the breadth of use is under-recognised by clinicians.