Tea Catechins

A catechin molecule

A catechin molecule

Mistaken as tannins previously, tea catechins are a group of phytochemicals existing naturally in the leaves of the tea plant, Camellia sinensis. They are vital in the health contributive nature of tea.

The most studied of the tea catechins is one that is named epigallocatechin 3-galate, better known as EGCG ( or EGCG3 ). It has huge roles in various activities in the body when fighting against ageing, inflammation, circulatory diseases, cancer, etc. It is present in most abundance in the younger leaves of the tea plant.

Tea catechins are not very stable substances. They can change chemically when exposed to excessive heat, light, or other substances. In the production processing for black tea, for example, large proportion of tea catechins are oxidized to become other forms of tea polyphenols.

Together with some other substances in the natural tealeaves and also in the processed tealeaves, they belong to a group of substances referred to as tea polyphenols. Tea polyphenols are popularly marketed as a health supplement. Tea polyphenols in turn belong to a group of natural health contributive substances found in food — flavonoids. Examples of other flavonoids include quercetin in fruits and veggies, anthocyanidins in grapes, and kaempferol in onions etc. There are other groups of health contributing substances in tea and food that are not flavonoids.

The term tea catechins or simply referred to as catechins in this site, appears in the following articles:

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