Is There Anything Like Too Much Green Tea?

May 23, 2011

I’m big time addicted to green tea. I drink at least two “Venti” green tea first thing with my breakfast; then one during the morning, one after lunch, another one at mid-afternoon and after dinner I usually have decaffeinated green tea.
"Pouring" all this green tea into my body (besides forcing me to make numerous stops at the restrooms during the day) got me thinking: “Is it possible that I'm abusing it?"

It's known fact that green tea is considered one of the healthiest thing in the world.
It is reputed to be helpful to fight: cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, high cholesterol levels, cardiovascular disease, infection, impaired immune function, and so on.
The magic of green tea comes from its high content of catechin polyphenols, particularly epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). EGCG is a powerful anti-oxidant. Besides inhibiting the growth of cancer cells, it kills cancer cells without harming healthy tissue. It has also been effective in lowering LDL cholesterol levels, and inhibiting the abnormal formation of blood clots. The latter takes on added importance when you consider that thrombosis (the formation of abnormal blood clots) is the leading cause of heart attacks and stroke.
However, are there any side effect coming from consuming green tea? To put it differently, is there anything like too much green tea?
I did some research and found that the answer is: NO.
There are of course some side effects deriving from green tea caffeine content, but besides that it’s safe to drink green in large quantities.
When it comes to green tea extract supplements, one should take into consideration the implications that a really high quantity of one substance can cause.
Are there any documented side effects of excessive green tea consumption?
In some people, green tea can cause stomach upset and constipation. Also, green tea extracts have been reported to cause liver problems in few cases.
It has been claimed that too much green tea — more than five cups per day— can be unsafe because of the caffeine.
These side effects can range from mild to serious and include headache, nervousness, sleep problems, vomiting, diarrhea, irritability, irregular heartbeat, tremor, heartburn, dizziness, ringing in the ears, convulsions, and confusion.

Let’s not forget that green tea contains 15-40 milligrams of caffeine per cup which is very low if compared to the average cup of black tea at 40-80 milligrams, instant coffee at 50-100 milligrams per cup, drip coffee at 100-200 milligrams per cup, espresso at 100 milligrams for only two ounces (that’s 400 mgs. for the same 8 ounces), soft drinks currently vary from 0 to 80 milligrams per 8 ounces, new energy/sports drinks average 80 milligrams every 8 oz.
So what are we really talking about? I mean, it seems to me that we are trying to find a mole in a product that it’s almost perfect.
Coffee drinkers should be careful with caffeine content not green tea drinkers.
Finally there’s some evidence (however limited) that green tea seems to reduce the absorption of iron from food and may interact with some medications (but again the interaction is caused solely by caffeine nothing else).
After all this research my call is: I'll keep drinking green tea in large quantities, no matter what.


  1. I am a huge green tea drinker as well and have wondered on numerous occasions if it was ok to drink that much. Lately I have been making raspberry leave and nettle tea and mixing it up a bit. I really liked your article now I feel at ease. I haven't heard of the brand you talk about but will have to look it up. Thanks for giving so much great info: )

  2. Hey Jaime,

    Thanks for you comment. Just remember to watch out for the caffeine, that's the only "side effect" of green tea.
    The tea with raspberry leave sounds amazing, will try it soon!


  3. Great to know!!!
    I quit coffee quite some time ago, and since then, I live on this stuff!
    Always wondered how much was "too much" green tea ( I drink decaf)
    I also make a tea with cinnamon bark, ginger root, black pepper, licorice root, burdock & dandelion root + gardenia flower. ( it tastes great and my stomach/body loves it very much!!!).

    Thanks for the info.

    1. Hi Mariel,
      If caffeine doesn't bother you too much you should drink some regular green tea. In the decaffeination process many of the tea's precious nutrients get lost. In fact most of the time decaf is blend tea with green tea extract added. If you can manage to make yourself some raw green tea it would be the best.
      BTW I'm big fan of tea made with cinnamon bark. If you have a secret recipe feel free to post it, would love that!

  4. Hey Mike,
    Thanks for the insight on the decaf/caf.
    I don't necessarily have a "secret recipe" for the tea I make...I had been looking for spices/leaves that aid with digestion and while doing so found out that all the spices/leaves I mentioned in my previous post are pretty fantastic for the digestive sx., so I went and bought a little bit of everything in the market and began my "tea experiment". I'd be more than happy to share "the process" of making this "digestive nirvana" tea, but the quantity of the ingredients varies depending on how intense you want the tea to taste.

  5. Great to know that there is no such thing as "too much green tea".
    I live in Japan and my water intake is mostly green tea the whole day (except the eventual cup of coffee or the weekly soda).
    Here, cold green tea is sold in 2.5L plastic bottles just like mineral water, at the same price. And if you buy it in 1L 'milk cartons', it's even cheaper. also, mineral water is kind of dull, and because it's basically flavorless, it's very easy to spot any unpleasant taste in it; you must find the brand you like.
    With green tea, on the other hand, you cause pretty much any water because it's taste gets 'masked' by that of the tea.

  6. I drink decaf green tea

  7. *Message for Tokers only!! If you need to flush out your system for that drug test you didn't think was coming for a long time in LESS then 3 days... One gallon of this green tea stuff combined with an hour of excessive (Just find a way to sweat) every day (Day 1, 2 and 3) You will completely succeed... Green tea has saved my career about 4 times now ;)

  8. Thank you for this! I just kicked my 20 year Pepsi addiction with green tea (Im talking 7-8 cans a day!) I drink about 6 cups of tea per day and worried I may be over doing it. Lot's of energy during the day, I'm sleeping better and my insides have never felt so great!!
    Great blog- New follower!

  9. Anything we are addicted to, in the long run creates panic. Whether it be alcohol, smoking, coffee, sugar, processed food, gluten, dairy, and even green tea and more! All these cravings steps up to addiction because we start loving the comfort zone. Our bodies metabolic neurotransmitters are aligned with the stimulant in these marketed products. And our immune system synchronizes with it. The more i have, the more i feel better! So the quantity keeps on increasing i.e. addiction follows! If we are inwardly aware and start searching for balance, i think we will get the answer!