Health,  Tea Culture

Discover these Bonus Green Tea Uses For a Great Life

Tea has been part of Japanese culture for many centuries. As mentioned above, the early use of tea was for medicinal purposes and many health benefits of green tea have been proven during the years.

Since tea has been around for so long, people have found other uses for this wonderful plant. We have talked before about how tea, when drank, can aid our mind and body. However, drinking it isn’t the only way to get some benefit. Here are some examples:

Use as a Deodorizer
Green tea leaves have traditionally been used to naturally absorb odors. You can place tea leaves in a bowl to absorb unpleasant odors in a room, leave some in the refrigerator in place of baking soda, or make a sachet with green tea and place in a drawer. Its ability to absorb odors is also a reason why you must be careful where and how you store your tea. Opt for a clean, non-translucent tea canister or something similar to hold your tea.

Use It to Soothe Your Skin
Green tea can help relieve sunburns and ease minor skin irritations. You can use a spray bottle to mist prepared green tea on sunburned areas or make a compress soaked in green tea and apply to irritated areas. Since it’s an all natural treatment, you can apply it several times a day.

A study conducted by the University of Alabama at Birmingham found that, “New mechanistic information strongly supports and explains the chemopreventive activity of GTPs against photocarcinogenesis.”1 The GTP acronym stands for “green tea polyphenols”, that is, catechins. Researchers found that green tea catechins can help fight off skin damage caused by the sun.

Bancha is known to be rich in catechins, a type of antioxidant.

Tea Is Good for the Feet
Ever heard of a foot bath? Try soaking tired feet in green tea to prevent unpleasant fungal infections. You can also press used tea bags to specific infected areas. A study was conducted in Japan that found that green tea polyphenols could actually improve symptoms of tinea pedis AKA athlete’s foot.2

It Can Soothe the Eyes
Soak cotton pads in green tea and place them over the eyes for 10 minutes to reduce the puffiness of tired eyes. You’ll look revitalized and refreshed. Jessie Cheung, a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Cheung Aesthetics & Wellness, says that, “You can use tea bags to wake up tired eyes and mask dark circles,” Applying tea to the eyes can help to hydrate them, creating a smoothing effect. They also contain caffeine, which helps constrict the blood vessels around the eyes, reducing swelling.3

Den-chan and a member of our staff contemplating soaking their feet in eight gallons of tea and throwing tea directly into their eyes. Just kidding.

Tea Is Good for Teeth and Bones
Green tea contains fluoride, making it a superstar for keeping gums and teeth healthy. An study published in Bioscience, Biotechnology, & Biochemistry found that the catechins in green tea could actually help reduce that epigallocatechin gallate (EGCg), a dominant component of tea polyphenols, completely inhibited the growth and adherence of P. gingivalis onto the buccal epithelial cells at concentrations of 250–500 μg/ml.4 Green tea is also naturally high in minerals and has been seen to increase bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.5

Tea Can Soothe a Sore Throat
The anti-viral effect of green tea makes it an excellent remedy to help ease the symptoms of a cold or flu. An article published in the Molecules Vol. 26 documented the effectiveness of green tea catechins against influenze aka the flu. The researchers concluded that, “…regular green tea consumption, whether by taking GTC capsules, drinking, or gargling, can prevent influenza, although…the number of studies on tea catechins against influenza was limited.”6 So, research is limited but, in moderation, green tea might be able to help us fight the flu.

What about colds?  Tara Tomaino, RD, Nutrition Director at The Park in New Jersey tells us that green tea can be. She says, “Green tea contains epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) which is one of the most powerful compounds in tea”. Regarding EGCG, she states that, “This powerful antioxidant makes green tea an excellent choice to sip throughout cold and flu season.”7

Antioxidant giving up its electron to a free radical (Source)

Just to clarify, an antioxidant is a compound that help to counteract what are called “free radicals”. Free radicals are a type of atom that needs to bond with another atom to complete itself. The incomplete atoms (from oxygen molecules) bond to other atoms which results in a breakdown of cells overtime. This is called “oxidative stress”.

Perhaps it could be said that this process is also called “old age, sickness, and death“. However, antioxidants can give us hope. In theory, antioxidants actually give away an electron these free radicals and therefore prevent the “stress” that bonding to our cells can cause. Green tea contains some powerful antioxidants, namely EGCG that is listed above.

In a TikTok video that we did, a member of our staff talks about some of his favorite teas to drink when he gets sick. The video can be found here.

You can also gargle with green tea to soothe a sore throat. In a study published in 2016, researchers concluded that, “Gargling a green tea solution, an anti-inflammatory, natural, and harmless substance, can reduce the pain of sore throat in patients after endotracheal extubation.” We can probably extrapolate this to include sore throats in general. Have you noticed these affects for yourself?

Uses of green tea
A pot of green. Great for sore throats and…bad breath…(don’t ask us how we know).

Green tea has also been known to prevent bad breath. Researchers have found that green tea polyphenols, “…possess a number of properties that may contribute to reduce S. moorei-related halitosis”8 Halitosis basically means “bad breath”, so basically green tea can help people ward off bad breath.

Use Green Tea In a Facial Mask
A green tea face mask is good for normal and oily skin. It will smooth, moisturize, soften, and tighten your skin, and the antioxidants in the green tea will protect your skin from sun damage. It’s simple to make a green tea face mask and you can find instructions regarding this on several beauty related websites. In Chinese medicine, tea is seen to be Sweet, Bitter, Cooling in its nature. In this case, it would make sense that tea could help us with sun burns or skin irritations which are inflammatory in nature.9

Conclusion

We hope that you found this short article to be informative. We tend to focus a lot on the experience of consuming tea orally. While that is still present in this post, we do mention some other ways that tea can be useful for us. Some might argue that it should be the other way around. Either way, we’re glad people can relax with a cup of tea and reap some other benefits from it. Follow our instagram and tiktok for more tea related content. Feel free to subscribe to our newsletter by entering your email address into the designated box at the bottom of any page on our website.

  1. Katiyar, S., Elmets, C., & Katiyar, S. (2007). Green tea and skin cancer: photoimmunology, angiogenesis and DNA repair. The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, 18(5), 287–296. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jnutbio.2006.08.004 ↩︎
  2. Ikeda, S., Kanoya, Y., & Nagata, S. (2013). Effects of a foot bath containing green tea polyphenols on interdigital tinea pedis. Foot, 23(2–3), 58–62. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foot.2013.01.001 ↩︎
  3. Estrada, J., & Estrada, J. (2024, February 21). Depuff and perk up tired eyes with this Super-Easy hack. Well+Good. Retrieved July 1, 2024, from https://www.wellandgood.com/tea-bags-on-eyes/
    See, “The benefits of putting tea bags on the eyes”. ↩︎
  4. Sakanaka, S., Aizawa, M., Kim, M., & Yamamoto, T. (1996b). Inhibitory Effects of Green Tea Polyphenols on Growth and Cellular Adherence of an Oral Bacterium,Porphyromonas gingivalis. Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry, 60(5), 745–749. https://doi.org/10.1271/bbb.60.745 ↩︎
  5. Xing, C., Tan, Y., & Ni, W. (2024). Tea intake and total body bone mineral density of all ages: a Mendelian randomization analysis. Frontiers in Nutrition, 11. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnut.2024.1289730 ↩︎
  6. Rawangkan, A., Kengkla, K., Kanchanasurakit, S., Duangjai, A., & Saokaew, S. (2021). Anti-Influenza with Green Tea Catechins: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Molecules/Molecules Online/Molecules Annual, 26(13), 4014. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26134014 ↩︎
  7. Vasquez, I. (2023, November 26). 10 Teas That May Help Keep Your Cold at Bay. MSN. Retrieved July 2, 2024, from https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/nutrition/10-teas-that-may-help-keep-your-cold-at-bay/ar-AA1ky7Jz
    See, “Green Tea” ↩︎
  8. Morin, M., Bedran, T. B. L., Fournier-Larente, J., Haas, B., Azelmat, J., & Grenier, D. (2015). Green tea extract and its major constituent epigallocatechin-3-gallate inhibit growth and halitosis-related properties of Solobacterium moorei. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 15(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12906-015-0557-z ↩︎
  9. White Rabbit Institute of Healing. (2018, October 6). Green Tea (Lu Cha) | White Rabbit Institute of Healing. Retrieved July 1, 2024, from https://www.whiterabbitinstituteofhealing.com/herbs/green-tea/ ↩︎