Family • Theaceae - Thea sinensis Linn. - TEA - Cha yei

Scientific names

Thea sinensis Linn.
Thea viridis L.
Camellia thea Link
Camellia theifera Griff.
Camellia sinensis (L.) O. Kuntze

Common names

Tsa (Tag.)
Common tea (Engl.)
Tea (Engl.)
Tea plant (Engl.)
Tea tree (Engl.)
Cha yei (Chin.)

Other vernacular names

DANISH: Te, Tebusk.
DUTCH: Teestruik, Theestruik.
ESTONIAN: Hiina teepõõsas, Teekameelia.
FINNISH: Tee, Teepensas.
FRENCH: Arbre à thé, Thé, Théier.
GERMAN: Teestrauch.
GREEK: Tsai.
HINDI: Chaa, Chai, Chaay.
ITALIAN: Pianta del tè.
JAPANESE: Cha, Cha no ki, Ichibi.
KANNADA: Chaha, Te.
POLISH: Kamelia.
PORTUGUESE: Chá , Chá-da-Índia, Chá, Chá-preto (Brazil).
RUSSIAN: Chai, Chainoe derevo.
SINHALESE: Cha, Chai, Te.
SPANISH: Árbol del té, Planta del té, Té.
SWEDISH : Te, Tebuske.
COUNTRY: Chaya, Thayila.
TELUGU: Teyaku
THAI: Cha.
URDU: Cha, Chay.

Tsa is a shrub, about a meter or more high. Branches are smooth. Buds are silky. Leaves are elliptic-oblong, 7.5 to 20 centimeters long, 3.5 to 6 centimeters wide, tapering at either end, with toothed margins. Flowers are white, about 3 centimeters in diameter. Fruit is leathery, 3-celled capsule, each capsule containing a seed. Seeds are nearly spherical, obtusely angled, smooth, pale brown, about 2 centimeters in diameter.


– Introduced shortly before 1905.
– Scattered cultivation in the Baguio area.
– Originally from the triangle of countries of South China, Assam (northeastern India) and Cambodia.
– Planted in almost all tropical and subtropical regions of the world, but especially economically cultivated in China, Japan, India, Sri Lanka and Indonesia.


– Tea leaves, depending on source and fermentation process, yield: caffeine 0.9 to 50/0 caffeine, free or bound with glycosides; 0.05% theobromine; some theophylline; purine derivatives xanthine, methylxanthine, and adenine; tanning agents (tannin, polyphenols, gallic acid, and catechin derivatives), and chlorophyll (in fresh or unfermented leaves).
– Also yields vitamins (A, B2, C, D, P, nicotinic acid), minerals (manganese), and carbohydrates (dextrin, pectin), and essential oils (providing aroma).


Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Camellia sinensis – (L.)Kuntze. / Plants For A Future

(2) Medicinal and therapeutic potentialities of tea (Camellia sinensis L.) – A review / A B Sharangi / Food Research International, Vol 42, Issues 5-6, June-July 2009, Pages 529-535 / doi:10.1016/j.foodres.2009.01.007

(3) Antidiabetic Activity of Green Tea (Thea sinensis) in Genetically Type 2 Diabetic Mice / Toshihiro Miura, Tomoko Koike and Torao Ishida / Journal of Health Science, 51(6), 708-710, 2005

(4) Medicinal Use of Camellia sinensis on Lactose Intolerance / M amutha, R Arunachalam et al / J. Biol. Sci., 10: 112-116. / DOI: 10.3923/jbs.2010.112.116

(5) EFFECTS OF SEED SAPONINS OF THEA SINENSIS L. (RYOKUCHA SAPONIN) ON ALCOHOL ABSORPTION AND METABOLISM / Shojiro Tsukamoto, Takashi Kanegae et al / Oxford Journals Medicine Alcohol and AlcoholismVolume 28, Number 6Pp. 687-692 / 1993

(6) GREEN TEA (CAMELLIA SINENSIS) EXTRACT DOES NOT ALTER CYTOCHROME P450 3A4 OR 2D6 ACTIVITY IN HEALTHY VOLUNTEERS / Jennifer L Donovan, Kenneth D Chavin et al / doi:10.1124/dmd.104.000083.

(7) Prospective double-blind crossover study of Camellia sinensis (green tea) in dyslipidemias / Gesiani de Almedida Plerin Batista, Claudio Pereira de Cunha et al / Arq. Bras. Cardiol. vol.93 no.2 São Paulo Aug. 2009 / http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0066-782X2009000800010

(8) Thea sinensis melanin prevents cisplatin-induced nephrotoxicity in mice / Yao-Ching Hung, G. Steven Huang, Li-Wei Lin, Meng-Yen Hong, Pei-San Se / Food and Chemical Toxicology, Vol 45, No 7, July 2007, Pp 1123-1130 / doi:10.1016/j.fct.2006.12.017

(9) Sorting Camellia names / Authorised by Prof. Snow Barlow / Maintained by: Michel H. Porcher / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASE / Copyright © 1997 – 2000 The University of Melbourne.

(10) Studies on black tea (Camellia sinensis) extract as a potential antioxidant and a probable radioprotector / Pal S, Saha C, Dey SK. / Radiat Environ Biophys. 2013 May;52(2):269-78. doi: 10.1007/s00411-013-0463-z. Epub 2013 Mar 22.

(11) Neurochemical and behavioral effects of green tea (Camellia sinensis): a model study. / Mirza B, Ikram H, Bilgrami S, Haleem DJ, Haleem MA. / Pak J Pharm Sci. 2013 May;26(3):511-6.

(12) Genoprotective effects of green tea (Camellia sinensis) in human subjects: results of a controlled supplementation trial. / Han KC, Wong WC, Benzie IF. / Br J Nutr. 2011 Jan;105(2):171-9. / doi: 10.1017/S0007114510003211.

(13) Studies on bioactivities of tea (Camellia sinensis L.) fruit peel extracts: Antioxidant activity and inhibitory potential against α-glucosidase and α-amylase in vitro / Yuefei Wang, Shuangru Huang, Shuhong Shao, Lisheng Qian, Ping Xu / Industrial Crops and Products, Volume 37, Issue 1, May 2012, Pages 520–526

(14) Study on the antioxidant activity of tea flowers (Camellia sinensis) / Ziying Yang AM, Yi Xu AB, Guoliang Jie AB, Puming He PhD and Youying Tu PhD / Asia Pac J Clin Nutr 2007;16 (Suppl 1):148-152 148

– Natural scent of the tea is from a fragrant volatile oil.
– Essential oil is both euphoriant and calming.
– Stimulant effect of the tea from the caffeine and theobromine and small amounts of alkaloids.
– Considered astringent, cardiotonic, diuretic, expectorant, stimulant.
– Considered nutraceutical, anti-inflammatory, immunostimulatory, insulin-enhancing, chemopreventive, antimicrobial, antihypertensive.
– Fresh leaves contain four to five times more essential oil as dried or fermented leaves.
– Compared to coffee, the stimulant effect of tea’s caffeine manifest more slowly and persist longer, as the caffeine from tea must be liberated from tannic and glycosidic bonding.

Parts used

Edibility / Culinary
– Edible: leave
– Green tea made from steamed and dried leaves; black tea from fermented and dried leaves.
– Tea extracts used for flavoring alcoholic beverages, dairy desserts, candy, baked goods, pastries and puddings.
– Fixed oil from the seeds sometimes used in making margarine.

– Recorded as early in the 6th century as a Chinese herbal medicine, recommended particularly for people who slept too long. It was used to promote blood circulation, promote excretion of alcohol and other harmful substances, invigorate the skin, promote digestion, combat tiredness and depression, among many others. Strong infusions were used as external applications for skin ailments, eruptions, abrasions and athlete’s foot.
– Decoction of leaves used as stimulant and to relieve fatigue.
– Used to soothe headaches, aid digestion.

– Essential oil from fermented and dried leaves used for perfumery and food flavoring.
– Edible oil made from the seed.
– Residual cake containing saponin are made into little round balls, used by Chinese for washing hair.
– Tea seed oil used in the manufacture of sanctuary or signal oil for burning purposes.
– Dye: A source of varied food colors – black, green orange, yellow.
– Wood: moderately hard, makes into a good walking stick.

– The tea plant is rich in rituals and legends. A monk version of its origin tells of Bodhidhama, a Buddhist disciple, afflicted with sleepiness, easily falling to sleep while meditating. Angered that he could not keep his eye open, he cut off his eyelids and cast them to the ground. On the ground, the first tea plant grew, its leaves resembling the eyelids. The monks noticed the animating power of beverages made from the leaves, and soon, it because a ritual drink before meditation.

Study Findings
• Antioxidant: Tea contains flavonoids with its beneficial antioxidant effects.
• Anti-Diabetic: Study on the water extract of Thea sinensis suggest the antidiabetic activity is derived, at least in part, from a decrease in plasma insulin, due to decreased insulin resistance.
• Genital Warts: Polyphenon E®, a proprietary extract of green tea, has been approved in the U.S. for external topical use for genital warts caused by human papilloma virus.
• Cardiovascular Benefits: Early studies suggest that regular intake of green tea may help reduce the risk of heart attacks or atherosclerosis. Further clinical trials are needed before firm recommendations.
• Hypolipidemic: Animal studies and limited human research suggest benefits of green tea on cholesterol and triglyceride levels. In a double-blind crossover study of green tea (Camellia sinensis) in patients with dyslipidemias, a beneficial effect was demonstrated with a significant reduction of total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol.
• Lactose Intolerance: Study results suggest the lactose content of milk was reduced by adding tea extracts and suggests that with milk-related gastrointestinal problems have milk with herbal tea extracts.
• Saponins / Alcohol Absorption and Metabolism: Study showed the seed saponins of T sinensis seem to suppress alcohol absorption by slowing gastric emptying and inhibiting absorption across the cell membranes of the digestive tract.
• Effect on Drug Metabolizing Enzymes: Study on decaffeinated green tea is unlikely to alter the disposition of medications primarily dependent on the CYP2D6 and CYP3A4 pathways of metabolism.
• Antimicrobial: Study of extracts showed the highest % yield with chloroform followed by petroleum ether, methanol and diethyl ether. Organisms inhibited were P aeruginosa, B subtilis, S dysenteria, E coli, Yersinia, S typhi among others. Results indicate tea extracts have promising antibacterial activity,especially for intestinal microorganisms causing diarrhea and dysentery.
• Colds and Flu / T Cell Function: Study of a proprietary formulation of Camellia sinensis show it to be a safe and effective dietary supplement for preventing cold and flu symptoms and for enhancing T cell function.
• Inhibitory Effect on Venom Neuromuscular Blockade: Study of Camellia sinensis extract showed an inhibitory effect against the neuromuscular blockade induced by the South American rattlesnake Crotalusdurissus terrificus venom. Although the mechanism is unclear, theaflavins is suspected to be significantly involved.
• Thea sinensis Melanin: Melanin extracted from Thea sinensis is a high molecular part of tea polyphenols with physiochemical characteristics similar to typical melanin. TSM has exhibited a wide range of biochemical and pharmacological activities – antioxidant, free radical scavenging, immunomodulatory, as well as protective activity against toxic substances – snake venoms, benzidine, among others.
• Nephroprotective / Cisplatin-Induced Nephrotoxicity: Thea sinensis melanin pre-administration can prevent the renal toxic effects of cisplatin as evidenced by inhibition of BUN elevation, prevention of oxidative stress, complete blockade of cisplatin-induced elevation of S creatinine.
• Hepatoprotective Against Acetaminophen-Induced Hepatic Injury: Study showed melanin derived from Thea sinensis leaves has protective effects against hepatic injury induced by NAPAP (N-acetyl-p-aminophenol).
• Antioxidant / Radioprotector: Study evaluated the effect of black tea extract against consequences of radiation exposure. The BTE scavenged free radicals and dose-dependently inhibited Fenton reaction-mediated 2-deoxyribose degradation and lipid peroxidation. Extract also exhibited maximum protection against radiation-induced damage in V79 cells. It is possible the key player in radioprotection is elimination of ROS.
• Neurochemical and Behavioral Effects: Study was designed to monitor the effects of green tea extracts in male albino rats for neurochemical and behavioral effects. Results showed decreased in food intake, increase in locomotive activities, anxiolytic effects, and increase in dopamine and serotonin turnover.
• Genoprotective: Study evaluated the genoprotective effects of two types of green tea in an in-vitro and human supplementation trial. In-vitro testing of tea-treated cells showed increased resistance of lymphocytic DNA to H2O2-induced challenge. In the supplementation trial, a significant increase in resistance was also observed. Results showed significant genoprotective effects and evidence for green tea as a “functional food.”
• Antioxidant / α-Glucosidase and α-Amylase Inhibitory Activities: Study of tea fruit peel extracts showed antioxidant activities on DPPH, ABTS, and reducing activity. Various extracts also exhibited excellent inhibitory activity against α-glucosidase and mild inhibition of α–amylase activity.
• Antioxidant / Tea Flowers: Study of tea flower extract and fractions exhibited inhibitory effects on hydroxyl radicals and DPPH radicals. Flavones, polyphenols, and catechin contents were highest in the EE and EEA fractions.

Extracts, capsules, ointments in the cybermarket.