Health Benefits Of Black Tea


You are probably familiar with black tea, a type of tea that is widely consumed around the world. You may have enjoyed its rich flavour and aroma or used it as a source of caffeine. But did you know that black tea is not only delicious but also beneficial for your health? In this article, we will tell you about some of the amazing health benefits that you can get from drinking black tea regularly.

Black tea is one of the most popular brews in the world, as it accounts for seventy-five per cent of all the tea drunk worldwide. It has a rich and robust flavour that many people enjoy. Like green tea, it is derived from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, which is native to Asia. However, the way the leaves are processed after they have been harvested is what makes the difference between black tea and green tea. The processing method affects the chemical composition and the taste of the tea.1

About black tea

As previously said, tea is a popular beverage that can be made from the leaves of the same plant, called Camellia sinensis. However, many different types of tea can be produced from this plant, depending on how the tea leaves are picked and processed.1 Some of the most common types of tea are white, green, yellow, oolong, black, and dark teas. Each type of tea has its characteristics and benefits. For instance, black tea is one of the most widely consumed types of tea in the world.1

Black tea is made by allowing the harvested tea leaves to oxidise (meaning the tea leaves are exposed to the air to dry and darken) and wither for a certain period. This process degrades the enzymes in the leaves and changes their chemical composition.1 The process of black tea oxidation is the chemical reaction that occurs when the enzymes and oils in the tea leaves are exposed to oxygen in the air. This reaction changes the colour, flavour, and aroma of the tea leaves, making them more brown, strong, and complex.1

The oxidation process is initiated by rolling or crushing the withered tea leaves, which breaks their cell walls and releases their compounds. The oxidation process is then controlled by the temperature, humidity, and duration of the resting period. The oxidation process is stopped by heating the leaves to deactivate the enzymes and remove any remaining moisture.2

The degree of oxidation affects the characteristics of the final tea product. Black tea is fully oxidised, while oolong tea is partially oxidised, and green tea is unoxidised. Different varieties and regions of black tea have different oxidation methods and conditions, resulting in different flavours and aromas.1,2

Moreover, different regions and varieties of black tea have different characteristics, depending on the climate, the soil, the cultivation, and the processing methods used. Some examples of black tea are Lapsang Souchong, Keemun, Dianhong, Assam, Darjeeling, Earl Grey and Ceylon tea.

Health benefits of black tea

In addition to being a popular beverage worldwide, black tea has several health advantages when regularly drunk. By modulating the expression of genes and proteins related to inflammation, infection, angiogenesis, and apoptosis, these substances can have the following effects:1,3,4,5

  • Antiinflammatory
  • Antibacterial
  • Antiviral
  • Antiangiogenic
  • Anticancer 

Apoptosis is a form of controlled cell death that gets rid of unhealthy or undesired cells. As a result, black tea may offer protection against chronic illnesses like cancer, diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease.3,4

Nutrients we can get from black tea

Tea is a complex beverage that contains many different chemical compounds that contribute to its flavour, colour, aroma, and health benefits. Some of the main components of tea are:

  • Polyphenols are antioxidants that protect cells from damage
  • Pigments give tea its colour and can also have antioxidant effects
  • Polysaccharides are carbohydrates that provide sweetness and viscosity
  • Alkaloids, which are nitrogen-containing compounds that have stimulant effects
  • Amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins and can affect the taste and aroma of tea
  • Saponins are soap-like compounds that can produce foam and have anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties3,6

Moreover, black tea also contains caffeine and an amino acid called L-theanine, which results in relaxation and may improve alertness and focus by increasing the alpha activity in the brain.

The concentration of these components varies from tea to tea depending on the type, origin, processing, and brewing methods of tea. For example, black tea, which is fully oxidised during processing, contains a lower concentration of catechins, which are a type of polyphenol that have anti-cancer and anti-obesity effects and a higher concentration of polyphenols like thearubigins and theaflavins, which are complex molecules formed during oxidation that gives black tea its dark colour and the strong flavour.3,6

Ways to include black tea in our diet

Black tea is a versatile beverage that can be enjoyed in different forms and flavours. Some people like to drink it plain, while others prefer to add milk, sugar, honey, lemon, or spices. Some popular varieties of black tea include Earl Grey, English Breakfast, Darjeeling, Assam, and Ceylon tea. However, regardless of how we choose to consume black tea, we should always be mindful of its caffeine content and its effects on our health. Therefore, it is important to include black tea as part of a balanced diet that also contains plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. If you are interested in adding black tea to your diet, you have many options to choose from such as:

  • Drink it plain or with a splash of milk, honey, or lemon

You can enjoy hot black tea or iced, depending on your preference and the weather. Black tea has a strong flavour that can be enhanced or balanced by adding milk, honey, or lemon. However, be careful not to add too much sugar or cream, as this may negate some of the health benefits of black tea.

  • Use it as a base for smoothies, lattes, or cocktails
    You can blend black tea with fruits, yoghurt, milk, or ice for a refreshing smoothie that can provide you with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and probiotics. You can also froth black tea with milk and spices for a latte that can warm you up. Alternatively, you can mix black tea with alcohol and other ingredients for a cocktail during social gatherings
  • Cook or bake with it
    Black tea can be used to add flavour and moisture to various dishes, such as soups, stews, marinades, sauces, cakes, muffins, or cookies. You can either steep black tea in water or broth and use the liquid as part of the recipe or crush or grind black tea leaves and use them as a spice or a dry rub. However, be careful not to overcook or burn black tea leaves, as this may create bitter or unpleasant flavours

How much is enough?

How much black tea you should drink depends on several factors, including personal taste, health, and tolerance to caffeine. Consult a healthcare professional if you have any questions about its application so you can determine the ideal dose for you. However, following a few general recommendations might help you take advantage of black tea's health benefits without ingesting too much caffeine or other substances that might be harmful.

Drinking up to three cups of black tea per day can be beneficial for your health as long as you do not exceed the safe limit of caffeine intake and brew the tea properly. However, if you have any medical conditions or are sensitive to caffeine, you may want to consult your doctor before drinking black tea.

Side effects and how much to consume

According to some sources, you can drink no more than three cups of black tea per day, limiting the caffeine intake up to 400mg in healthy adults. Usually, a cup of brewed black tea contains 47 mg of caffeine, so drinking three cups would provide around 141 mg of caffeine. Another important factor is the brewing time of black tea. The longer the brew, the more concentrated and more caffeine and nutrients it will release. The optimal brewing time for black tea is up to 3 to 5 minutes, depending on people’s preference. Brewing for more than 5 minutes may make the tea bitter and reduce its benefits.

Although there are many benefits to consuming black tea, excessive consumption can also have less pleasant side effects. Most of these effects are mainly due to excess caffeine:

  • Anxiety and difficulty sleeping
  • Faster breathing
  • Headache
  • Increased urination
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Nervousness and restlessness
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Tremors
  • High blood pressure
  • Anaemia

These side effects are more likely to occur if you drink more than four or five cups of black tea per day, or if you combine black tea with other sources of caffeine or ephedra, a stimulant herb that can be very dangerous.

Black tea may also interfere with some medications and supplements, especially those that affect blood clotting, blood sugar, blood pressure, or heart rate. Therefore, it is advisable to consult your doctor before drinking black tea if you are taking any of these medications or supplements. Additionally, black tea may reduce the absorption of iron from plant-based foods, which may worsen iron deficiency anaemia. To prevent this, you can drink black tea between meals or add some lemon juice to enhance iron absorption.

To avoid the side effects of black tea, it is recommended to limit your intake to no more than three cups per day and brew the tea properly. You should also monitor your caffeine intake from other sources and stay hydrated.


Is black tea healthier than coffee?

Black tea and coffee have some similarities and differences in terms of their health effects. The best choice for you depends on your personal preferences, goals, and tolerance. It is important to notice that black tea has less caffeine and more polyphenols than coffee. However, in moderation, both drinks can be part of a healthy diet.

Which black tea is best?

There are many varieties of black tea, such as Earl Grey, English Breakfast, Darjeeling, Assam, and Ceylon tea. They may have different flavours and caffeine levels depending on how they are processed and blended. There is not enough evidence to say that one type of black tea is healthier than another, but you may prefer some over others based on your taste.

Is black tea acidic?

The acidity of tea may also depend on how you brew it, what you add to it, and how you drink it. However, when it comes to black tea, it is mildly acidic, but not enough to cause any harm to your teeth or stomach.3

Does black tea raise blood pressure?

No, black tea does not raise blood pressure. It is associated with nutrients that are reported to lower blood pressure and are good for people with cardiovascular diseases.3


Black tea is a rich source of antioxidants that may offer various health benefits such as protecting against heart disease, lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, improving gut health, lowering blood sugar levels, and reducing the risk of some cancers. However, black tea also contains caffeine, which can have negative effects if consumed in excess. It is advisable to limit your intake of black tea to no more than three or four cups per day. Many varieties of black tea may have different flavours and caffeine levels depending on how they are processed and blended.


  1. Tang GY, Meng X, Gan RY, Zhao CN, Liu Q, Feng YB, et al. Health Functions and Related Molecular Mechanisms of Tea Components: An Update Review. Int J Mol Sci. 2019 Dec 8;20(24):6196. Available from:
  2. Kong J, Yang X, Zuo X, Su X, Hu B, Liang X. High-quality instant black tea manufactured using fresh tea leaves by two-stage submerged enzymatic processing. Food Science and Human Wellness. 2022 May 1;11(3):676–85. Available from:
  3. Rasheed Z. Molecular evidences of health benefits of drinking black tea. Int J Health Sci (Qassim). 2019;13(3):1–3. Available from:
  4. Zhang J, Liu S, Song J, Zhou J, Zeng Q, Lin Z, et al. Improvement of postoperative quality of life in patients with esophageal squamous cell carcinoma: does tea consumption have a role? BMC Public Health. 2022 Nov 24;22(1):2165. Available from:
  5. Mhatre S, Srivastava T, Naik S, Patravale V. Antiviral activity of green tea and black tea polyphenols in prophylaxis and treatment of COVID-19: A review. Phytomedicine. 2021 May;85:153286. Available from:
  6. Bond T, Derbyshire E. Tea Compounds and the Gut Microbiome: Findings from Trials and Mechanistic Studies. Nutrients. 2019 Oct 3;11(10):2364. Available from: 
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Inês Dias

Master's Degree, Molecular Biology and Genetics, Faculty of Sciences, University of Lisbon

Inês is a scientist in the field of Biomedical Sciences, with a wealth of experience in various laboratory procedures. Her expertise is evident in her work as clinical analysis technician, performing puncture procedures for the collection of biological samples. She has also played a key role in COVID-19 sample processing in a laboratory setting. Recently obtained her master’s in Molecular Biology and Genetics from the Faculty of Sciences at the University of Lisbon. presents all health information in line with our terms and conditions. It is essential to understand that the medical information available on our platform is not intended to substitute the relationship between a patient and their physician or doctor, as well as any medical guidance they offer. Always consult with a healthcare professional before making any decisions based on the information found on our website.
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