I’ve always been very allergic.
Dust and pollen makes me sneeze, have a stuffy nose, and itchy eyes.
Two common medications: aspirin and ibuprofen, make my eyes swollen. As if that wasn’t enough, I also have gluten intolerance.
I take antihistamines (which give relief to allergy symptoms) about 3 times per week.
According to the AAFA (Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America) “Any food can cause an allergic reaction, but only eight foods cause nine out of ten reactions. They are milk, soy, eggs, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish.”
Green tea allergy
I drink green tea daily and have no problems whatsoever. I had never heard about anyone being allergic to green tea. However, one day while I was at an online forum someone stated that he had a green tea allergy.
I decided to do more research and turns out that it does exist. I even found cases in Japan. Green tea allergy is quite rare, though.
The likely culprits
Two components in green tea seem to be the general cause of an allergic reaction: caffeine and tannin. The specific symptoms vary from person to person. They include nausea, stomach pain, diarrhea, rash and dizziness, among others.
Some people are unaware of the fact that green tea has caffeine. Matcha (especially koicha) has a high caffeine content, as much as a cup of coffee. Houjicha, on the other hand, is probably the Japanese green tea with the least caffeine.
Tannins are polyphenols founds in plants. Catechins are a sub-group of tannins. You’ll find tannins in products in various products such as wine, chocolate, most legumes, some types of nuts, pomegranates, most berries and tea.
Keep in mind that all teas are made with the same plant (Camellia sinensis), so that if you find that you are allergic to one type of tea, then you’re allergic to all of them! In the rare case that you are actually allergic to green tea, be aware that some products contain green tea extract.
Allergies due to a green tea product in Japan
A famous case of allergy outbreak in Japan happened with Cha no shizuku (茶のしずく, a drop of tea), a green tea soap with all-natural ingredients. Hundreds of people throughout Japan claimed to have had an allergic reaction to this soap. A few of them had to be hospitalized!
The cause was later found to be hydrolyzed wheat protein. Apparently, repeated exposure for a long time ended up triggering an allergic reaction. By the way, this compound is also found in some cosmetics in the US. If you have a gluten allergy, stay away from such products.
Additives in tea bags?
I recently drank a green tea from a tea bag, it was very cheap, but I can’t recall the brand since it was written in Chinese. 5 minutes later I had an allergic reaction to it, I felt a pain in my chest that lasted for about 10 minutes.
I drink loose leaf green tea every day and I’ve never had a problem, so I suspect that there is something else in those tea bags besides the green tea. I suggest that you drink loose leaf tea whenever possible, and only from trusted vendors.
January 2, 2014
I am one of those who are allergic to green tea. At first instance I did not know that my symptoms were caused by the tea, but then one day I drank two bags of tea, that day I had cardiac arrhythmia, it was so scary because you think that are going to die, so horrible. The other minor symptom was difficulty breathing. I told this to my sister some years ago, and today she tried a bag of green tea, she had the same symptoms that I had, she could barely breath, although she did not have cardiac arrhythmia, well this happened to me because that day I tried two bags at same time, I think she would have the same reaction if tried two bags. We are not allergic to coffee, so I think that the damned tannins are the causing things.
January 2, 2014
Sorry to hear about your alergic reaction. I have experienced something similar with one green tea bag.
Have you tried brewing loose leaf green tea? Sometimes teabags are so bad quality that they contain other things besides the tea, possibly pesticide/fertilizer residues.
January 29, 2014
That is not an allergy it is a adverse reaction.
January 29, 2014
You’re right John, thanks for clarifying. Any substance can harm you, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re allergic to it.
January 14, 2017
In response to a comment in the article about Matcha containing a high amount of caffeine–as much as coffee: Matcha is unique from other caffeine-containing drinks in that it contains L-Theanine–a molecule that binds the caffeine molecule to it. It does not produce the same effects you get from other caffeine drinks. I am very sensitive to caffeine but I can drink Matcha in the afternoon and do not experience any effect from it–no ‘highs/crashes” or jitters and no effect on my sleep. Buddhist monks were among the first to drink Matcha throughout the day to remain calm yet still be focused as they meditated..
March 31, 2018
Yes green tea allergy is real. I thought it was just me. I’ve tested and tried lots of teas of white tea, green teas, black teas organic teas loose teas, bagged teas and have concluded this: not all teas are the same but one thing is for sure they all are grown from the same plant; perhaps different circumstances and environments but that play less a factor than one would imagine. I’ve tested organic to non organic and find my allergic reaction the same. This all seems so sad since I love to drink tea since Ive grown up drinking tea my whole life being Chinese. It all started after birthing 2 kids and nursing them the first couple months. I say now “My kids sucked the life out of me”. Sometimes when they drive me crazy they do but after kids I’ve developed allergies I never had before, maybe age or other factors i don’t know. Ok back to green tea allergy. I came to notice when we were out with family to usual tea house having dim sum as we ritually do every couple month. We ordered jasmine green tea to our table and I notice after a couple tea cups a scratchy throat feeling. First sign of a reaction for me, then it’s a lumpy throat that worsens till it’s hard to speak, breath or swallow, not good at all very scary. I now keep Benadryl handy at all times along with epi-pen which I had to instruct my small children at the time to stab mommy with it in the leg not the throat or chest if I collapse and stop breathing We can now look back and laugh but it’s seriously not funny when you feel like you’re dying and nothing will save you. So back to the green tea allergy it’s not just green tea but it’s white tea too and yes Do NOT smell it you can get a reaction to it by smell also. So the good news is that I can still drink tea it’s just I have to be careful doing so. I can drink coffee and eat chocolate since my allergy culprit is not caffeine. I’ve tested it and found I’m allergic to something in green and white tea that is not in black or herbal tea. So I’ve converted my extensive tea collection to exclude white and green teas by tossing or giving them all new homes who can enjoy them and filled my tea collection with black teas of every sort, being flavored or not they all have to be black. So what makes the difference, one might ask, and it’s the process that changes teas to black. White teas are just picked early the young tips of the same plant (camellia-sinensis ) Green teas are just air dried and black teas are heated or cooked while they are hand rolled and tossed around to dry in a giant wok over an open flame thus turning darker, blackened or toasted unlike a white or green tea. This process changes something in the same tea leaf. Maybe it’s cooking the tannins out or changing the proteins that make it fine for me. I know the health benefits from green tea are what people look for and perhaps are lost from the heating/toasting into black tea. I enjoy tea for tea not so much for my health since green and white teas can send me to the hospital not make me feel benefits. I hope this helps someone suffering from my dillemma that is unsure as I was.
April 12, 2018
I am so glad I found this site and I’m not crazy. I have allergies & asthma & drink tea. I stopped drinking green tea awhile ago because it was hard to swallow & I’d cough. Being allergic to grass, etc., I thought it would make sense if I was allergic to it. I’m actually more of a black iced tea drinker. I’ve had a couple of scary interactions with certain black teas. I reacted to Assam tea from Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. I had a bubble / lump in my throat. I couldn’t swallow. I was having trouble breathing. I tried to hiccup,cough,burp, anything and that feeling wouldn’t go away. It got worse & I even had my mom pound on my back to try to get this “air bubble” to go away. My face turned red and I was gasping for air. I was at the point of having my mom call 911. I remembered that I carry my Epi-Pens with me & they were within reach so I used it (stuck it in my thigh). Within seconds I could breathe again! I went to the ER to get checked & the dr. couldn’t find anything wrong. I had no rash, hives any of the tell-tale signs. The doctor said I did the right thing by using my Epi-pen.
I stopped drinking tea from CBTL & switched to Starbucks black tea. That tea works for me (but not the green).
My most recent incidents happened at a restaurant that has great iced tea. I got that lump in my throat/air bubble I couldn’t swallow or cough up. I just tried to hiccup, but it didn’t work. My face was red and my eyes were watering. I choked and then spit up saliva. I stopped drinking that tea and only drink Starbucks and a couple of other places that I don’t react to. It’s the most confusing & scary thing that has happened to me. It’s hard because you look up your symptoms online and it doesn’t have what happened to me as one of the signs. Only through your experiences it confirms that I’m not making it up. I’m glad you are all sharing your thoughts & incidents.
May 7, 2020
I was also facing the same, condition was worst. I had to go to doctor and he gave me some medicine stating I have anxiety and panic attack. My muscle pain was cured by the medicine. But I still get burps and difficulty in breathing sometimes its been a month. Do you know if the side affects stays for a longer period of time. I had finished 18 tea bags in a week along with hot water and every hot things.
January 4, 2020
Thank you. I have that very same reaction to Green Tea. Just one sip is enough to make my throat start itching as if I swallowed a hair ball. Two sips and my throat starts to close. I’ve never tried White Tea because I was scared I would have the same reaction. Black Teas give me no problem and I came to the same conclusion you did that there is something in the drying process that changes whatever it is in the Green Tea that I’m allergic to into something that no longer bothers me.
February 20, 2020
I have had the same reaction. After years of drinking green tea I ordered a green tea lemonade cooler at Peet’s. Itchy scratchy throat and ears minutes later. Next time I was at a friends house and it was Lipton ice tea. I figured it was Lipton so not much real tea. The reaction was worse. No more green tea and when in a tea shop in Shanghai the lady said no white tea either. I loved jasmine tea but no longer.
Black tea is just fine. Have not tried red tea. Too scared.
My sister had the same reaction also in her 40s. No other food allergies.!
August 14, 2019
I can drink coffee. Loads of it! Caffeine isn’t a problem for me.
I can drink wine, eat chocolate, the works! Tannins aren’t an issue either.
I have a non-severe anaphylactic reaction to anything with camellia sinensis. I can tell if there’s a tiny trace of extract that doesn’t even affect flavor, because my tongue immediately starts to swell up.
I can’t find data anywhere for what the allergen might be in my case.
October 21, 2019
Years ago I heard a PBS radio program and the speaker said all teas have mold, except pau d’arco (used to treat cancer, etc.). Doug Kaufmann, who has been studying mold for around 40 years advises the use of herbal teas. He says wheat, corn, etc. can have mold as they are stored in silos, with warm, moist conditions. I don’t know who’s correct, but I’m suggesting that some of the negative reactions to green tea may be mold related. I’m also thinking of the comment below where the individual related green tea to a sinus infection and was unsucessfully treated with two rounds of antibiotics. Mayo clinic publised research saying 82% of all chronic sinus infections were due to mold/fungus.
May 22, 2023
That is interesting. I am allergic to green tea so did my dad and uncle. W Weill break out in hives. We are fine with coffee, black tea , red tea and wines. however, I occasionally would will have hives after consuming lots of mushrooms. So your theory about mold is intriguing.
January 8, 2020
I’m allergic to green tea, and only green tea. Never had problems with regular tea, wine, coffee, chocolate. When exsposed to green tea my throat swells and I break out in itch hives. Surprisingly enough green tea is in almost everything including mattresses. *Sigh* One day the green tea fad will disappear.
February 8, 2014
I am allergic to matcha. I had some in a starbucks drink, and it gave me a horrible rash in my face and across my chest, so now I avoid green tea in drinks and in skin products.
March 31, 2018
I’m allergic to Starbucks green tea Frappuccino too. I brave my reaction to it once in a while with bottle of Benadryl in hand. Living on the edge right ? Lol
February 23, 2014
Mee too allergy to tea tree bags and body shower/ facial care product.i experienced break out on nose and chest and stomach cramp,.
March 3, 2014
Seems that I am allergic to green tea too. My skin broke out in hives since a month ago and realized just today that it is after I start drinking the green tea that the itching becomes unbearable. Never imagined that green tea was the cause of the hives.
April 18, 2016
I am very interested in the type of rash you had, Rox, because I have been a green tea drinker and drink green tea in the bottles throughout the day. I developed a strange rash in the last month, have adjusted my diet, my cosmetics, soaps, lotions, etc. I have yet to eliminate my green tea but started to suspect that maybe, I have built up a toxic level of green tea. Not sure what I’m talking about but the rash is uncomfortable.
May 2, 2016
Yes Rox please let us know. I have the same theory. The only thing I can think of that is causing me to itch is the green tea. I have always been drinking tea but not specifically green tea up until almost a yr now I have increased my green tea intake. The other products I use are the same and have not had any kind of itching. As days pass, I notice more itchy areas of my body and thinking of stopping my intake and see if itching will stop. Thanks so much.
August 26, 2019
My situation is almost the same with yours!!!
All of my life I never had eczema until I drank lots of green tea (organic) everyday recently and took green tea extract sometimes.
It is very sad to find my issue is due to green tea. Because green tea and green tea extract supplements have benefits for my other healthy issues…..What a pity.
January 14, 2020
Wow, I have been experiencing a dreadful rash and also small ‘hive-like’ red lumps on my arms, legs and buttocks. Tonight I thought ‘perhaps it’s the matcha tea powder‘. I was given some for Christmas three weeks ago and my rash has been really bad since then. I don’t have any issues with my throat, just an annoying rash. Today was the best it’s been for ages, but tonight I drank some matcha tea before bed and now I’m awake at 1am scratching myself silly!! Perhaps it is the green tea powder….
March 15, 2014
I’m not so sure I agree that “if you find that you are allergic to one type of tea, then you’re allergic to all of them!” My wife has been drinking green tea for months now, various brands. She’s been drinking Tulsi brand with pleasure… it’s organic and she loves it. She just tried another brand, Gunpowder Green Tea, also organic… and she’s got hives on the chest, face, arms, and now she’s started getting really itchy. I hope that’s the extent of the reaction… she’s not done yet. This is what brought me to this webpage.
Of course, while the Gunpowder Green is the only thing we can think of that she did differently today, we’re not 100% sure it was the tea that did it for her. Seems likely though. Could be a difference in the process of preparing the tea that separates one brand of green tea from another (though I know nothing about that process!).
It should be noted that this Gunpowder Green tea is loose in a glass jar, leaves and stems.
March 15, 2014
Hello Scott, thanks for your comment.
Yes, it could be something else besides the tea leaves, maybe they degraded and have fungus on them?
Anyway, I recommend that you buy from a brand that you have no problems with. Don’t trust a product just because it has an organic label, there are many ways that the system is cheated.
March 15, 2014
I totally agree. Their idea of organic could have nothing to do with my idea of it. And it could be organic but somehow treated with other natural things that effected my wife but not me. I’m gonna try some tomorrow cuz it was good, strong stuff.
March 27, 2014
I figured out I was allergic to green tea when I was about 8 maybe 9 or 10 something like that. My mom had bought a soap that contained green tea in it and I think the soap was new and after my mom had helped me get washed in the shower since I was young and didn’t know how to clean myself at the time. after I got out of the shower a few minutes went by and I broke out in a rash. we didn’t know what it was from at first so my mom checked the ingredients in the soap and we realized it was green tea. then yesterday at school I had one of those flavored fizzy ice drink things and I had like 4 sips of it and I felt like my throat was gonna close up. my teacher let me get some water and like 2 hours later I started to feel a little better. ends up there was green tea extract in the drink when I checked the bottle. I gave the drink to one of my best friends since I couldn’t drink it. the rest of my family has no problem with it, but we did recently find out my mom cant have caffeine so yah. maybe I got it from her I don’t do well with coffee it makes my stomach hurt and I get really bloated and gassy.
April 4, 2014
this is Shilpa here from past one year I m suffering from berathing problem I was check with doctor also they told no problem now I m thinking it’s food allergy how I can I find out with this allergy is this food only from past 2 years I having green tea but I have problem with this from past 1 year pls help me on this
April 6, 2014
I’m not a doctor, so I can’t really help you. But from my experience, maybe you should check to see if you have acid reflux. Sometimes it gives the feeling of breathlessness, it happened to me.
May 7, 2020
Same with me Ricardo, I am not a green tea person never able to take more then 1 or 2. But I started having 5 to 6 green tea bag in a day along with hot water, hot milk, hot coffee everything. With in a week my condition got worst, I went to doctor and he said its all anxiety. He gave me medicine I was fine then all of a sudden I am experiencing the breathlessness and keep getting burps . Do you think its acid reflux?
June 29, 2015
The best thing to do is get an allergy test. Google York Labs or Lorisian for allergy testing.
I had one done and found out I was intolerant to a lot of things that I needed to eliminate from my diet. I also get an adverse reaction to green tea, with shortness of breath and difficulty breathing, so I have had to stop green tea, although I am ok with ordinary tea. Get an allergy test done from York labs.
April 23, 2014
John, Not breathing is not just an adverse reaction. It sounds like such a bad allergic reaction that you and your sister were having an asthma attack (or possibly mild anaphylaxis). I am allergic to various environmental things and if I am around too much of them at once then I will get an asthma attack.
June 30, 2014
I used to drink green tea all the time,until I had my last baby 8 years ago. I cannot drink it at all anymore! I do not have allergy reactions at all but if I drink green tea even the smallest amount, the next day I feel like I have very bad arthritis!!! My joints and my spine hurt for a couple days. I have tried MANYdifferent brands with the same reaction.
July 22, 2014
Has anyone ever heard of an adverse or allergic reaction after smelling loose teas? My daughter’s throat became itchy, swollen, and had trouble swallowing withing ten minutes of smelling several loose teas (green, black, and herbal varieties) in a large east coast grocery chain.
I took her to a local ER where she was given a steroid shot and Benadryl. We could not pinpoint which tea could have caused the reaction, but she has consumed green and black teas (hot and cold) in the past with no problem. Any insight you could share would be most helpful–thanks in advance!
July 23, 2014
You can definitely have an allergic reaction just by smelling something, such as a flower.
Some teas are scented, so maybe your daughter should stick to non-scented, non-flavored teas just in case.
July 23, 2014
Thanks Ricardo, that makes sense. She is going to be very careful in the future for sure!
August 4, 2014
I have just started drinking green tea, I brought some lipton green gunpowder and enjoyed it (teabag) went to a real tea shop and brought oolong. here is the think
My throat feels a little itchy like the start of a sore throat, so I stopped, ive only had 2 bags and 1 cup of oolong. the itch was before the oolong tho so im a bit worried to continue. I have recently been sick tho so I will give it a few days and when i am well will try again, and report my findings back to you. My only allergy is asthma and most likely Hypochondria lol !
August 4, 2014
Hi Ryan, thanks for the comment.
Try a loose leaf green tea instead of the teabag, that way you can know for sure if the reaction was caused by the green tea.
September 18, 2014
I drank chinese green tea ,had hives all over my body,did not know what caused it .i went to the docter she gave me something to help,but had no idea what caused it.I drenk the green tea after ten days,same thing happed,now i know that was caused by the green tea
September 22, 2014
me too.. im just wondering, ive always love to drink green tea HOt?cold.. sad that im allergic to it since 2012..
November 26, 2014
I have been a tea drinker for years, mostly Green Teas. About 6 weeks ago I developed a bad cough that has continued to linger. It was diagnosed as a Sinus infection and treated with antibiotics. The 1st round seemed to clear my cough for a few days (over the weekend) the following week it started back up while still on the medication. I was then prescribed a second antibiotic and pretty much the same thing, it went away over the weekend and returned the beginning of the work week. It just dawned on me today that about 6 weeks ago I picked up a new brand of Green Tea, “Uncle Lee’s Organic Green Tea”, that I have been drinking only at work. I’m not 100% certain but it makes sense that this could be causing my cough! I will refrain from drinking that tea and see what happens.
November 26, 2014
Thanks for the comment. Hope that you get better soon.
February 17, 2017
Bingo! I googled this subject because I start coughing each time I start drinking Uncle Lee’s Green Tea. I cannot blame my cough on this green tea brand since I have had this cough for quite some time. However, my symptoms have been quieting down lately but seem to flare up every time I juice up on Uncle Lee. Even though Uncle Lee’s Tea is a top suspect, there is no conclusive evidence. Not that Uncle Lee’s is cheap, but would a more expensive brand be less likely to pose problems?
August 17, 2020
I switched to the same brand Uncle Lee’s and became very sick after a few days of 4 cups a day. tachycardia, iradic blood pressure, diarrhea, took almost 3 weeks for symptoms to subside. Upon research it is one of the worst tea brands due to high levels of pesticides, over 20 of them showed in a test including a very dangerous one.
December 20, 2014
Hi, I’ve just been given a box of gunpowder green tea, but it’s 8months out of date, do you think it’s still safe to try? I’m really unsure, if it was anything else I know I wouldn’t, any advise please
December 20, 2014
If it is correctly stored, you can drink a green tea until up to a year. After that it’s still safe to try but a big part of the flavor and aroma is lost.
Just make sure that it isn’t spoiled and you’ll be ok.
January 7, 2015
I’ve been asthmatic for many years but after a mild cold in November the symptoms worsened and I found I was getting very little help from the inhaler. After trying to eliminate airborne irritants with no success I began eliminating foods and discovered that the green tea I had been drinking for years without experiencing asthma symptoms was the cause. Switching to rooibos tea has helped but I miss the green tea. I am puzzled by the reaction to green tea and am hoping that it is related to the lingering effects of the cold and only temporary.
February 28, 2015
I am pretty sure I am allergic to all tea. Even the tinest sip and it’s like instant flu (maybe a bit worst ) for me and then I’ll be sick for days after.
May 12, 2015
I have discovered a green tea allergy. I was taking several supplements and would break out into hives. Over the course of a year I did control tests and finally discovered the green tea extract pills were causing the problem. Some of the other supplements had green tea which is why it was difficult to isolate and discover, especially since I never suspected the green tea. It was the last supplement for me to test. Since that time I have had different drinks with green tea in them and immediately I get hives. Sometimes my throat swells shut and I have to go to an emergency room. It definite suck cause I liked green tea. I found this site cause I’ve recently developed an allergy to several medicines and I’m thinking it is an inactive bonding agent in the generics that is causing it. Thought I would throw in my experience since reading this.
May 12, 2015
Thanks for your comment John.
At least you found the source of your allergy 🙂
May 16, 2015
I’ve just started one week ago drinking green tea and I began have skin rashes. I tought it was a detergent….air…but I’m more convinced it’s the tea! I had no idea someone could be allergic to tea! Its somethin natural. So yeah….my rashes are intense….itches every moment and it calms down hours after…
I will stop drinking tea and see how i will feel.
May 16, 2015
Japanese Matcha tea has some problems as when I drink it I ache all over …..stopped …..gone are the aches……..It is possible that radiation lurks somewhere in this green tea…….
October 19, 2015
I began drinking Japanese Green Tea (Matcha) powder a few months ago. Recently, I have noticed rashing all over my body (trunk, knees, ankles, elbows), etc. I’m wondering if my reaction is due to the consumption of too much. How much is too much? I make my Matcha by the pitcher-full and drink it religiously throughout the day and night. I love this stuff. It’s excellent for weight loss, too! I hate to stop drinking it, since the benefits are wonderful. How much of the Matcha is required for its benefits?
October 19, 2015
Sorry to hear that Yvette.
You can get matcha’s benefits just by drinking one cup a day.
October 29, 2015
I also just started drinking the matcha tea this week. Love it however today I accidentally put more in my cup than normal, but I drank it anyway within an hour my hands became red and itchy. Hours later after work I noticed red botches on my neck and chest it felt a bit itchy so I scratched now I am seeing hives and redness in different areas of my body. Is there a chance I made it too strong and it caused a blood pressure issue. Everyday before I didn’t have any issues. Please advise. Thanks
October 30, 2015
You could have had a caffeine overdose, it can be one of the symptoms.
For a normal matcha bowl, use one teaspoon (2 grams) of matcha.
February 16, 2016
Hi I’ve been drinking green tea and I’m fine but i put it on my eyes for bags and dark circles and woke up the next morning worse would it have been an allergic reaction from the tea bags tannin please advise as had the problem already just that seemed to make it worse and not better as indicated on a web site thanks Sonya
February 16, 2016
If you’re fine with drinking it, then the problem might be with the teabag itself.
I advise you to try using tea made with loose leaf, then using a small towel or the like on your eyes and see if it works.
March 6, 2016
I used to drink green tea frappiccinos from Starbucks all the time. Then I began noticing my ankles swelled up after I drank it. I didn’t want to believe it, so I when a few weeks without drinking any- no swelling. I drank it again and they swelled up again. …. Funny thing is with in months of this happening I began having the same reactions to spinach. I told my doctor and she doesn’t see a correlation. I seem to be fine with drinking other teas, wine, even port. Any thoughts?
March 6, 2016
It’s very odd that spinach is also involved, I don’t know why that would happen.
Have you tried changing tea for coffee? It coffee has the same effect, caffeine could be part of the problem.
March 7, 2016
Ya Ricardo, I drink coffee everyday. No problem. I don’t think it’s the caffeine.
If you think of anything more, please let me know. It’s very annoying no having any idea as to why it happens.
March 7, 2016
In that case it could be catechins, although you would also feel them in red wine and cocoa. Another option is chlorophyll.
March 13, 2016
It took a few times consuming green tea to make the connection that I was having a very severe reaction to it. Within an hour, I become very light headed and my blood pressure drops. I feel very close to passing out. So while I don’t get the traditional reactions, I hope to never experience this again and avoid green tea at all costs. The first time was bottled green tea, the second was from a dispenser.
March 23, 2016
I believe that I may be allergic aswell, I have been slowly increasing my green tea intake as a healthier alternative to coffee, I started getting chest pains and dull aches, but they would appear in different parts of my torso, th next ache would be lower and to the right of my rib cage, then the pain would be nea my shoulder blade, but it always felt uncomfortable and like what I would imagine would be a heart attack. I would only drink tea at work, and after a while, I started getting hives and severe itching, I had to go to the doctor, ho basically subscribed antihistamine, which works. I’m now on day 2 of no green tea, and the aches have subsided, there are some very very mild aches but nothing severe like when j was consuming green tea…I am very dissapointed as I wanted to reap the rewards of drinking green tea
January 27, 2018
I have the same symtoms I never drank tea because I didn’t care for the flavor but I have been having issues with gerd so I stopped drinking coke. But I still wanted caffeine and I don’t like coffee either. So I decided to try and get a taste for green tea and about an hour after drinking and it’s happened with all brands because I’ve been trying everything to find one I like. I get pain in my upper right abdomin like a squeezing then it shifts and feels like a kidney ache when your dehydrated and then over to the bottom left abdomin and sometimes in the upper middle. I’m otherwise healthy but started to get worried because these are all vital organ areas.Each time this happens it lasts for 8+ hrs. I almost decided to go to the ER but I had no tenderness when pressing and the pain kind of went away when I did so I started tracing back all the stuff I changed in my diet since the pain started and green tea is the only thing different.
March 28, 2016
Taken green tea before with no side effects, (only moderate because I am on high dose of Warfarin) although rooibos tea made me sick within minutes after drinking it – severe stomach aches and vomiting. This morning I had a real bad experience after consuming a cup of green tea (bag) after not having it for a few weeks. Experienced bad stomach pain, vomiting with chest pain/arrhythmia and severe dizziness. The pain was so bad that I sweat and had difficulty with breathing. Thought I’m having a heart attack. Search the internet to make sure if it is possible to get such an adverse reaction to green tea. Would not take it again. Ever!
April 11, 2016
My reaction to green tea was over time…I’m okay if I have it during the day, but if I have it before bed, I wake up with hayfever-like symptoms…Sneezing, watery eyes, itching in the throat and sinus congestion. I know it’s not havyfever because these symptoms appeared out of the blue in the dead of winter some years ago, and after deduction and eliminating certain things out of my nightly routine, it was finally realized that green tea (particularly Gen Mai Cha) was the culprit. I stopped drinking the tea, and the symptoms vanished.
May 10, 2016
Hi, I am a tea lover! I drink several types of loose tea almost every day. But just a taste of any variety of Green Tea produces such severe gastrointestinal reactions and within 5-15 minutes that I avoid it completely. I have been exposed many times over the years not knowing green tea was in the mix.And it is not a nice experience.
I was told it was definitely an allergic reaction, and an allergy that is not as uncommon as it once was. But the other teas never bother me.
At first I doubted it, but after such severe symptoms I avoid it. Which is unfortunate, as I really like the taste. It just doesn’t like me.
May 11, 2016
I haven’t had a reaction to tea until I had a green tea and ginseng mixed tea. Hives and quickened heart rate would hit at night even though I had the tea in the morning. After 3 days, I stopped drinking the tea and the symptoms left.
June 15, 2016
Today I tried green tea for the first and last time.
Itchy eyes followed by a migraine.
I am salicylate sensitive but hadnt had anything else before the green tea. Back to english breakfast tea for me!
July 11, 2016
During the summer I drink a glass of any brand of ice tea per day. About a month ago I started drinking 2-3 glasses of Tradewinds (black tea) per day. A couple of weeks later, a rash developed on my arms and chest. The rash is gone after abstaining for 2 weeks. While this is not a controlled scientific experiment, I will no longer buy that brand and will not consume more than a glass of any brand per day.
August 11, 2016
Has anyone ever had swollen tongue, sore papillae after drinking Matcha. I have drank Matcha Tea for maybe 2 months now off and on. I suspect it to be the culprit only because the reaction lasts for several days, but lessons each day I don’t drink (scale 1-10 for pain) #3-4. The within few hours after drinking again, pain is a #10. I’m talking can’t eat, chew, barely talk, my tongue gets so sore!!!
April 30, 2021
For years I’ve been drinking 1 to 2 cups of green tea a day, some of which is matcha. About a month ago, I started on a weight loss program and increased my green tea to 2 to 4 cups a day, at least one of which is matcha. 1 week ago my skin started itching, mostly on my back and abdomen. My skin is also a bit red. At first I thought it was bug bites, then perhaps a reaction to my supplements but now I’m thinking it might be the green tea. I very unhappy about this but I’m going to quit drinking tea to see if it goes away. It was a gradual onset. I also have developed restless leg syndrome at night even though I don’t drink caffeinated drinks at night and have developed a cancor sore on my tongue. This is so disappointing since I love the benefits and taste of green tea.
September 11, 2016
Hello. Thought I’d share my rare case of true green tea allergy (which may have begun as an adverse reaction). I have a confirmed allergy to green tea, which had a sudden onset about 8 months ago. Before this I drank gallons of green tea for years and years, all brands and origins. Then suddenly this year, I purchased a new loose tea (jasmine green tea) from David’s Tea. What ensued was an immediate allergic reaction / adverse reaction within minutes of drinking. Began with intense itchy throat, lips, eyes. Then lips began to tingle and swell. Next eyes swelled up like balloons… Face beet red and itchy inside and out. Breathing and heart luckily minimally effected, and the effects seemed to be limited to face / throat region. Stupidly, about a week later, had another cup of the same tea, being in denial that tea could have done this. Exact reaction, only much worse. After that I discarded the remaining Jasmine Green from David’s Tea and have never been back there. I even through out the mug for fear it was tainted glass! Since I assumed I had a bad / tainted batch of tea from David’s only, I thought it might be safe to try different, completely unrelated, green teas. I tried two organic green teas from different makes, and one bagged green tea by Tetley. The same reactions occurred each and every time within minutes. I even had a mild reaction from an iced green tea at Starbucks! The most recent reaction occurred today, as it had been months since my last cup of green tea and thought maybe I would try once more… Nope. I’m typing this with one eye swollen shut and one very itchy throat. Going to look pretty in the am 😉 So that’s a total of six attempts to drink green tea from whence this began and six definite reactions. There’s zero doubt. It exists. Ps I have no reactions to other forms of caffeine and no reactions to other tannins ie wine etc. I cannot attest to other varieties of tea as I have only ever liked green tea, so no idea if I would react to white, black etc. Just so strange to drink something hahitually for decades and suddenly have it turn on you, or rather you to it! Just thought I’d put that out there. Thanks!
September 11, 2016
Thanks for sharing your story. I hope that you can still enjoy other types of tea, or at least tisanes.
October 30, 2016
Amy, my story is very similar to your. Thank you for posting this. It helps me a lot.
I experience flu-like headache that comes and goes, and flu-like body aches, and nasal sensations that come and go. I just tried some white tea having only a few sips. The onset of these symptoms came about in just 10-15 minutes. I poured the rest of the cup out. So no white tea, matcha, or green tea for me.
It seems I do ok with black tea. I think there is something in the fermentation process that gets rid of some allergen. I recently discover pu-erh tea. And that seems to do ok with me. I am going to stick with that for now.
I hope this allergy goes away because I would really like to enjoy green tea again as I did for a long time.
October 30, 2016
Hey, for some reason, today, I developed on new theory on why I may be having this sudden allergy to green tea.
Antibiotics. They are basically a nuclear bomb for your gut flora. And disruption of gut flora this can cause allergies. I am going to look into pro-biotics and see if I can work on restoring what antibiotics may have killed out over the last year.
I wonder if any else who has green tea allergies has used antibiotics in the last year.
November 7, 2017
Omg. Yess!!! You’re def on to something. I drank green tea my whole life and now after a course of long antibiotics I’m developing all sorts of allergies.
My hair allergy test came back – allergic to green tea ( Camellia sinensis plant )
The body itching is so severe it lasts for hours and it’s unbearable.
I bet it has to do something with leaky gut due to antibiotics.
October 20, 2016
I am allergic to green tea, I’ve tried different brands as long as it’s called green tea.
My nose gets congested, I struggle to breath, I lose the sense of smell, rash in my body.
But any other tea I don’t get any reaction. The manufacturer’s must note these side effects.
October 22, 2016
Hello friends. I’m new at this site. I read your comments and I sympatized with all of you. I’m very allergic to green tea, and Im familiar with many of the symptoms you described. I don’t know if you are aware that green tea has the highest content of nickel. Some of us that had become desensitized to nickel have worse reaction to it. Nickel is found in soil, water and air. The longer the food is in contact with the soil the worst make you feel when you ingest it. Peas, beans, broccoli, spinach (older leaves more than baby spinach), oats, wheat, and many more. Also chocolate, tea some more than others. If you dont feell good after drinking green tea or after eating a large amount of products high in nickel I strongly suggest you that you ask your doctor to give you a nickel patch test. I hope I’m wrong and what you all are experiencing is nothing to do with nickel allergy. Best luck to all.
November 29, 2016
I didn’t read all the comments. I love jasmine tea but can’t drink it. My lips itch and swell. No runny nose or upset stomach, just the lips. I tried 3 different brands, don’t remember if they were green tea or not. But I don’t care for green tea. Can’t find any other hot tea I like. I miss it.
April 3, 2017
I never knew there is such a thing as tea allergy, but as Ricardo mentioned, we are better off finding trustful brands of non-chemically treated loose leaves and sticking to it. Those brands are hard to come by, it’s always word of mouth and one must be really into it to find such exquisite growers and conscious merchants. It is sad to see such a wonderful drink spoiled by chemicals, fertilizers, “organic” strange stuff on it and so on. I do hope more Japanese growers will go back to natural, non-treated cultivations, though it must be a pain in the … to care for the plants by hand. Such devotion deserves though our incentive in becoming faithful customers. Dear Richard, keep up the good work!
May 16, 2017
I have been drinking green tea and matcha tea powder for the last year. I have both matcha green tea bags from one company and the loose matcha powder that I bought in bulk (1 pound) from another company. When I drink the matcha green tea made with the tea bag I have no issues, but when I drink tea made with a scoop of the matcha powder I get a really itchy throat afterwards. I do not remember that happening the first six months I was drinking it. It has just started happening recently. Is it possible the bulk matcha has gotten moldy or something? It is in a 1 pound plastic bag with zipper seal and I keep it in the kitchen on the counter. The tea bags are kept on the kitchen counter too, but they are in a tin with an airtight lid. Not sure if I should throw the matcha powder out and buy a new batch or just stick with tea bags and spend a little more so that I don’t have as much on hand at any given time.
May 17, 2017
I guess you can try with matcha from a different brand, just buy a small quantity and see if the result is the same.
Tea bags are less concentrated than matcha, so that may be why. I would also suggest a high quality loose leaf green tea instead of the tea bags, it will be healthier and taste better.
January 12, 2018
This is interesting because my 3 year old daughter woke up with a red puffy face yesterday, it followed the neckline of her shirt as well, looked like she was sunburned. The only thing she had that was different was some detangle spray for her hair that contains green tea. She was so excited to use it with her new brush the night before that she kept spraying it in her hair and brushing. She sprayed a LOT, so I’m thinking that it was caused it. I would have never guessed!
January 16, 2018
I have been experiencing very itchy hives for about the last three months. They are mostly on my arms, hands, and legs. I had no idea why these started. I have been searching for answers. I had an allergy test done. It concluded that I am allergic to tree nuts, corn, some molds, and dust. I was told to use Zyrtec twice a day. That didn’t work very well. I still kept getting hives also, my eyes got so red, inflamed and dried out. I had to see the doctor for that.
I have kept searching for something better. I have stumbled onto this site and am reading about allergy to green tea. That is one thing I have been drinking every day for dawn to dusk. I had never thought about being allergic to it. I really like it. However, I plan to go off it immediately and see if it helps with the hives. I will be so very thankful if it helps.
March 3, 2018
I just discovered the Matcha Green Tea Soymilk Latte and Starbucks a few days ago and love them! This is the first time I’ve ever had any sort of green tea. Well yesterday I had one red spot come out on my cheek but I didn’t think anything of it. All of a sudden today after getting the latte again today the whole other side of my face from my temple to my jaw has bright reds spots! This is the only thing that I can think of that is new in my life. I am on an antibiotic but since I’ve had this antibiotic before and the reaction is just on my face I don’t think the antibiotic is the problem. It’s really strange and I’m trying not to freak out!
March 24, 2018
I’m allergic to green tea & green tea extract. I sneezed when I had green tea and then yesterday I bought vitamins pills that had a pill of green tea extract. Today I’m sneezing uncontrollably. I have stayed away from green tea for years now. And now I’ve confirmed my allergy due to consuming one pill of green tea extract that I had this morning. It’s not just the tea bag contents for me.
June 20, 2018
I am someone that is allergic to green tea,I have been for over 10 years. I first had a reaction when I was about 19 and i tried a diet pill with green tea. I break out in hives all over my face,and my ears swell up and get red and itchy. I just have not heard of many others that are allergic to green tea. Weirdly enough,i am not allergic to any other tea’s. I drink tea daily. I also enjoy coffee in winter and have not had any reactions to coffee. I stay away from anything that says matcha. But i was curious, does green coffee do the same thing as green tea?
August 29, 2018
Every day I feel a tight like band sensation around my neck! I have difficulty swallowing and I finally pinpointed that I recently started taking Mega Green Tea Extract in supplement form. I googled it and found this site! Thank you for all of your comments. I will cease taking it immediately and do believe these scary symptoms will stop.
December 28, 2018
I have had a chronic cough for about a year now. Had many tests that were all negative. Antibiotics did nothing. The only thing that worked was a 2 week course of steroids.
I started drinking green iced tea from various stores and wonder if this could be the reason for my cough. I have many allergies.
Is there a test for green tea?
February 17, 2019
I’m allergic to Green tea extract topically. Lotions, shampoos, anything with it even body wax during hair removal. I typically get a massive rash for a week after a couple uses. I wonder if I could be allergic to teas as well. I did have a reaction to drinking hot tea when I was younger. My eyes swelled shut but since then I can drink tea and I’m fine. Could i have a reaction that I don’t notice?
February 25, 2019
Hello. I am also experiencing possible allergic side affects. I get a terrible migraine 5-15 minutes after consuming. I’ve tested this several times. It happens every single time. My question is can I use extract on my skin or do you think I will have the same reaction?
March 1, 2019
I have been suspecting allergy to camellia sinensis teas (note that black, green and white teas all come from the same plant). After about an hour or 2 after drinking tea I get horrible feeling. Shortness of breath, extreme fatigue, discomfort in stomach, thyroid gland gets very irritated, because of these severe symptoms I can barely do anything other than sit down or lay in pain. This happens very often but not always. But I will keep an eye on this.
I’m still not 100% sure if I’m allergic to tea (camellia sinensis) or not.
July 26, 2019
I seem to have random allegies to the tea bags themselves. Ive done a ton of experimenting..and yes it was painful lol. And the ONLY thing in common was the bag itself. Its a strange allergy but miserable. It starts with a really big drawn out sneeze then sweating and vomiting. Anybody ever experienced this??
July 29, 2019
I am so glad I found this website. I mistakenly bought a pack of Green Tea rather than the usual decaffeinated Green Tea. I am caffeine sensitive, but not so bad that I cannot have the odd cup of Americano, and I love Ceylon tea in the morning. I had one drink of Green Tea yesterday and very shortly afterwards could not breathe properly, my heart was racing and I felt really sick. I do have allergies to dust and damp spores, but do not take any medication. My chest is still very sore today, and I have had a bad headache. I will be binning the Green Tea and may do without the decaff version now too.
July 29, 2019
I’ve been drinking matcha for 2 months on an off. About 3 weeks ago I started having pain in my fingers. It got worse and I also started having pain in my knees, like if I had arthritis. I couldn’t even walk for 30 mins!
Then I went on vacation 5 days without access to matcha and I drank coffee. It took me a while to do the connection, but I do believe matcha is causing this “arthritis” symptoms, since I came back, had a cup of matcha and had dyarrhea and pain on my fingers and knees.
Is that possible? Do you think there’s an underlying problem?
Thank you so much! This article is super helpful
August 8, 2019
I drink Green Tea from TIM Hortons and ARIZONAs Green Tea with Ginseng. For awhile now I’ve been having issues with feeling something is stuck in the back of my throat. I’ve had it all checked out and my esophagus is fine. I just found this site. Glad I did. I’ve also developed a deathly allergy to apples and tree nuts.
I’m going to be lost without my green tea. 🙁
January 1, 2020
Glad I am reading of others who have adverse reactions or even allergy to green tea. I am originally from Japan and grew up drinking tea. After coming to the US, my green tea drinking was replaced with heavy coffee drinking ie 4-5 cups during the day and in my younger years, almost no green tea drinking.
Started developing different allergies when I hit age 40. Have had eczema off and on (mostly all the time as it moves around). I also found out I have asthma and most likely for a long time. It was just not diagnosed until 5 years ago. It was about then I started drinking green tea at nights. Usually 3-4 small cups. I buy high quality tea of various varieties when I return to Japan to bring back. This includes matcha, gyokuro, sencha, bancha, matcha mix with genmsicha, hojicha, etc.
I started to have sore throats starting a year ago when I drank tea. Since I enjoy drinking tea, I went ahead and kept drinking until three days ago when my throat
became so irritated I began to worry it may be something else. Did not drink tea for one day, and my throat is fine. My reflux too is much better. Now I am hoping that perhaps my eczema was also caused by tea.
My doctor says I am one of the most allergic person she has treated so perhaps green tea was always my problem.
January 16, 2020
Since stop drinking tea completely since my last post here, my throat is no longer irritated and my eczema that was persistent in nape area as well as other moving sites have totally cleared up. Eczema started about 20 years ago. So these issues were definitely caused by my tea drinking. My reflux has not cleared up though.
February 19, 2020
Still no tea since 1/1/20 and no more sore scratchy throats and nape area eczema. I still drink coffee 4 cups+ a day, drink red or white wine daily, sometimes drink beer, and eat 70% chocolate square a day. So it is not caffeine allergy but tea allergy. I wish more research is done on this because I am sure there are others who have similar problems but never think green tea can be the problem because it is tooted as healthy.
June 7, 2020
Since stopping green tea, I’ve found that soba cha or buckwheat tea makes fine substitute for my evening tea drinking.
July 11, 2020
So, I believe now that I have been making myself sick for months with green tea. I drink it daily, chilled, in my water — all day. In this time I have developed difficulty breathing, heaviness in my chest, what feels like a lump in my throat, cardiac issues on and off and now a sore throat. Does anybody have any insight as to how long it takes for the body to eliminate this crazy amount of green tea I have been consuming?
August 9, 2020
I have been taking green tea tablets for at least 11 years for fatigue. I’ve been diagnosed with multi-organ Sarcoidosis. But something always tells me the doctors are wrong (I’m in the medical field)….just last night I was thinking (after cutting everything else out in my life for the last 11 years) “Could it be the green tea tablets/ tea”. I have swelling (everywhere)–I don’t even look like the same person, persistent pustules on my face and the palms of my hands, diarreah (yeah, for 11 years), body pain and feeling like ‘I’m not quite there’….like I’ve been drugged. Today will be Day 1 off green tea tablets….Just wondering, has anyone else had these symptoms? I’ve seen at least 15 specialists, no one can help me. And I disclose all herbals/ vitamins too……Thank you Kindly
September 11, 2020
I’m not very good with English but i would try, i’m not sure if this is a type of allergies or not but, everytime i tried eat or drink anything that contain a pure matcha or greentea the dotted on my tongue(idk what it’s name) became like the one on cat’s tongue but smaller, and the more i consume my tongue become num and lost the ability to taste and i will got fever after that. I’m not a fan of matcha, so far I’ve only ever taste matcha for 3times and I always got the same symptoms everytime i did.
July 24, 2021
Glad I found this site. I bought an organic jasmine green loose leaf tea from a farmers market. Yesterday I made myself a cup and within 30 minutes I had stomach pain, was nauseous and had diarrhea. I thought I had gas and took some gas-x. Didn’t touch it. A few minutes later I was throwing up. I’ve never had a reaction to green tea bags before, but it was so bad I thought maybe I was having a heart attack. I won’t be drinking this or any other tea again. And I thought I was being healthy.
November 10, 2021
Green tea gives me hives, swallow lips and eyes. It took me years to figure this out. I am allergic to theanine which is only in green tea, not black tea.
I am not allergic to caffeine as I drink black tea and coffee. I am not allergic to red wines so that rule out tannins.
May 22, 2023
Wow. Thanks for creating this page. I thought I was alone.
It took me a good few years to figure out that I was allergic to green tea. Green tea were promoted as healthy drink, antioxidants and help lose weight. So I started drinking 3+ cups a day back in 2006 when I started a new job. For the longest times, I thought my persistence hives were caused by stress of the new job or the new office. Allergic test only shown positive on autoimmune result. Then one day, I chatted with my dad and turned out he has been allergic to green tea and so does my uncle. So I stopped drinking green tea and the hives was gone. I am no problem with black/red/white tea, wines, chocolate, only green tea cause my hives.
My hives came back in Feb 2023 for about 3 months now. I just figured out the new formula of the Collagen power that I took daily added “superfood” as ingredient which contain green tea extract. Mystery solved.
All – you are not alone. Carefully read the ingredients of everything.