A 16-year-old high school student from Britain suffered from headaches, nausea and stomach pains. The initial diagnose was a urinary tract infection, and she was sent home on antibiotics. Unfortunately, her symptoms deteriorated after 2 doses, and when she returned to the hospital she was diagnosed with jaundice.
After ruling out possible hepatitis due to the fact that the patient hadn’t been exposed to any of the ways that potentially transmit the disease, doctors continued inspecting the causes of her condition and soon found out that she had been consuming Chinese green tea, which she had bought online, in order to lose weight. In fact, she drank 3 cups a day for a few months and as all the instructions were in Chinese, she didn’t know exactly what she consumed.
She was immediately given appropriate therapy and forbidden the tea and her parents brought the tea packaging for further examination, which revealed that the tea contained an ingredient called “camellia sinensis”, an evergreen herb used for tea, which in girls often triggered hepatitis. She was released from hospital after a short stay and it took 2 months for her liver to recover.
This case has been used by doctors ever since as a warning that over consumption of green tea can lead to liver disease, and therefore this tea should only be consumed in moderate amounts. This particular tea has an additional disadvantage, and this includes the pesticides and other ingredients that supposedly stimulate weight loss in users.
What is Hepatitis?
Hepatitis stands for inflammation or swelling of the liver. It can occur as the result of a viral infection or because the liver is exposed to harmful substances such as alcohol. Although this condition can occur with a few or no symptoms, it can often lead to jaundice, a yellow discoloration of the skin, mucous membrane, and conjunctiva, along with poor appetite and sickness.
Some types of hepatitis will pass without causing permanent damage to the liver. This is normally acute hepatitis, which can heal on its own.
Other types can persist for many years and cause scarring of the liver (cirrhosis). In the most serious cases, it may lead to loss of liver function (liver failure) or liver cancer, which can both be fatal. These types of long-lasting hepatitis are known as chronic hepatitis.
Initial symptoms of hepatitis caused by infection are similar to the flu and include:
- a high temperature (fever) of 38ºC (100.4ºF) or above
- muscle and joint pain
- being sick
- feeling sick
- occasionally, yellowing of the eyes and skin (jaundice)
Unfortunately, hepatitis often produces no symptoms, so most people are unaware of this condition, especially when it’s caused by a virus.