A teen living in the U.K. was shocked to discover that the reason behind her hepatitis diagnosis and the severe symptoms she was experiencing was the green tea she’d been drinking to lose weight.
The 16-year-old, who is originally from Yemen, went to the hospital experiencing nausea, dizziness, joint and stomach pain, the Daily Mail reports. It was at first believed to be a urinary tract infection, and she was sent home. The symptoms soon worsened, however, and she developed a case of jaundice — a condition that turned her skin and the whites of her eyes yellow.
The girl was taken to the hospital in Birmingham, England, where doctors determined that she was suffering from hepatitis. Though hepatitis is typically caused by substances like alcohol or drugs, the teen denied drinking and said she hadn’t taken any over-the-counter or illegal drugs.
Upon further questioning, the teen revealed that she’d ordered Chinese green tea on the Internet after being told it could help her lose weight. She bought two boxes of 100 tea bags, and had been drinking three cups a day for several months.
Doctors ordered her to stop drinking the tea, and the swelling in her liver from hepatitis soon went down. After a short stay in the hospital, she was discharged.
It was subsequently discovered that an ingredient within the tea, called Camellia Sinensis, was the cause of her illness.
Green tea has, in the past, been linked to liver damage and illness when consumed too often. In extreme cases, the ingestion of green tea, tea leaf powder, tea infusions and extracts in diet pills have led to severe liver failure and death.
“There is potential for pesticide-induced hepatitis to exist, especially from less regulated products ordered from developing countries over the internet,” a doctor’s report on the teen’s illness read.
“The use of herbal remedies is under-reported, the breadth of use is [under-recognized] by clinicians," the report continued. "Our case is a good illustration of this rare but recurring theme.”