Caffeinated tea was initially consumed by humans in China more than 4,000 years ago. It has since overtaken water as one of the most consumed beverages globally.
The same shrub, Camellia sinensis, provides the leaves used to make both green and black tea. According to sources, green tea has more antioxidants because it is made from unfermented leaves.
The antioxidant content of black tea is decreased by oxidation during fermentation.
According to a number of studies, green tea decreases blood pressure, lowers the risk of heart disease, and prevents the growth of malignancies. However, the chemical process causing the impact on blood pressure has remained a mystery up until this point. Researchers from the University of California, Irvine (UCI) and the University of Copenhagen in Denmark discovered that the antioxidants in tea can relax the blood vessel muscles by opening ion channels.
In the journal Cellular Physiology & Biochemistry, they publish their findings.
Risk elements that can be avoided
The discovery may serve as a blueprint for the development of antihypertensive medications that are more potent, thereby enhancing the health of millions of people worldwide.
Controlling or reducing high blood pressure can help prevent dementia, chronic kidney disease, heart attacks, and heart failure, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
Nearly half of American adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC (Centers for Disease Control)), have hypertension. According to the estimate, the illness contributed to the deaths of close to 500,000 persons in the nation in 2018.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that there are more than 1 billion cases of hypertension worldwide.
First, the new research demonstrates that catechins, two antioxidants found in tea, activate a protein channel in the membranes of smooth muscle cells that line blood arteries. This permits potassium ions, which are positively charged, to exit the cells.
By enabling negative and positive ions to enter and exit in a controlled manner, channels in nerve and muscle cells maintain voltages across their membranes. They are “voltage-gated,” which implies that they open or close in response to variations in this voltage.
The scientists discovered that the catechins in green tea stimulate the KCNQ5 potassium ion channel.
This protein channel may be responsible for the antihypertensive effects of some plants that have been used as traditional medicines for centuries, according to earlier research by some of the same experts.
In the latest work, the researchers demonstrated that the two catechins attach to a region that monitors voltage changes using computer modeling and mutant forms of the channel protein.
The Department of Physiology & Biophysics at the UCI School of Medicine adds that this binding allows the channel to open much more easily and earlier in the cellular excitation process.
Theoretically, this should lessen the muscle cells’ excitability and reduce their propensity to contract. Instead, they need to unwind, widening the blood channel and bringing down the blood pressure.
Electrical activity in the brain:
Additionally, KCNQ5 is found in the membranes of the brain’s nerve cells, where it aids in controlling electrical activity and signal transmission.
People who suffer from the condition known as epileptic encephalopathy have a channel protein variant that does not react well to voltage fluctuations, which causes recurrent seizures.
The blood-brain barrier, which inhibits bigger molecules, including some medications, from entering the brain, can be crossed by catechins, the study’s authors note.
Theoretically, medications based on the molecules of catechin could help treat the underlying cause of epileptic encephalopathy. The researchers write that the finding that they can activate KCNQ5 may suggest a future mechanism to fix broken KCNQ5 channels to ameliorate brain excitability disorders resulting from their dysfunction.
Which teas can lower blood pressure the best?
Several varieties of tea may be able to assist you in controlling your high blood pressure. Be aware that each person will experience the effects differently.
The dried petals of the hibiscus flower are used to make hibiscus tea. It has a striking red hue and a flavor that is pleasantly acidic and somewhat sour. Anthocyanins and polyphenols included in hibiscus tea may aid in relaxing blood vessels, resulting in a decrease in systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
According to 2019 research, frequent hibiscus tea consumption is linked to small but significant blood pressure-reducing effects, making it a well-liked option as a complementary treatment for hypertension.
A green tea
The leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant are used to make the popular beverage green tea. It contains bioactive substances known as catechins, including epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which has been linked to a number of health advantages, including lowering blood pressure.
According to a 2023 research study with over 76,000 participants in Southwest China, drinking green tea is generally linked to lower systolic blood pressure, independent of how much is drank or for how long.
Olive-leaf tea has a mild, herbal flavor and is prepared from the leaves of the olive tree. This tea has ingredients like oleuropein and hydroxytyrosol, which are known to help control blood pressure by encouraging blood vessels to relax. Olive leaf tea, which is made by steeping 5 grams of dried and ground leaves in 250 milliliters of warm water and drinking two cups a day, significantly lowered participants’ systolic and diastolic blood pressure within four weeks in a 2017 study involving 31 people.
Additionally, a sizable portion of participants—limited to those with type 2 diabetes and prehypertension—attained normal blood pressure readings.
Tea with hawthorn berries
A slightly sweet and tangy flavor can be found in hawthorn berry tea, which is prepared from the berries of the hawthorn tree. Hawthorn tea, which has long been used to improve heart health, may help widen blood vessels, enhancing blood flow and assisting in lowering blood pressure. When used for at least 12 weeks by people with moderate hypertension (prehypertension or stage 1 hypertension), hawthorn formulations (tablets or liquid drops) significantly decreased blood pressure, according to a 2020 evaluation of four randomized controlled studies.
Although hawthorn tea was not expressly used in the experiments, it is important to note that many of the same advantageous chemicals found in the tea may be responsible for these results.
The dried flowers of the chamomile plant (Matricaria chamomilla or Chamaemelum nobile) are used to make chamomile tea. It is often used to encourage relaxation and relieve stress because of its moderate, calming, and soothing characteristics, which may also indirectly lower blood pressure.
It contains a number of advantageous substances that support its therapeutic qualities, including flavonoids, terpenoids, and coumarins. According to research by 2020, it has the ability to reduce inflammation, fight free radicals, protect the liver, maybe fight cancer, and control blood pressure.
How many cups of tea should you consume?
Each person will respond differently to the blood pressure-lowering effects of tea. It may also depend on the type of tea you drink, your general dietary habits, your lifestyle, and your blood pressure right now.
According to some research, routinely consuming two cups of hibiscus tea each day may eventually help lower blood pressure.
How soon does tea start to reduce blood pressure?
The kind of tea you drink, how frequently you drink it, and how you react to it are all variables that might affect how quickly tea lowers your blood pressure. Overall, small blood pressure reductions may not occur for several weeks to a few months after frequent use.
Tea’s potential negative consequences
Several negative effects of tea consumption include:
- Caffeine sensitivity: Black and green tea, in particular, contain caffeine, which in certain persons might cause jitteriness, sleep difficulties, or an accelerated heart rate.
- Constipation: Drinking too much tea on an empty stomach can result in acid reflux or digestive problems.
- Medication interactions: Some teas, like green tea, can have an impact on how well some medicines are absorbed or effective. If you are worried about drug interactions, speak to a medical practitioner.
- Teeth staining: If consumed for an extended period of time, dark beverages like black tea can stain teeth.
A delightful strategy to aid in the comprehensive management of your blood pressure is to incorporate heart-healthy teas into your daily routine. Teas do include some components that can help you relax and have a tiny, favorable impact on your blood pressure, though they should not be used as a substitute for medicine or lifestyle modifications.
Consult your doctor before beginning to regularly consume more tea. They can provide you with individualized guidance and ensure that the tea you wish to sample will not conflict with any prescription drugs you are taking.
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