Green Tea

Drug Levels and Effects:

Summary of Use during Lactation:

Green tea (Camelliasinensis) contains caffeine, polyphenols, and tannins. Fussiness, jitteriness and poor sleep patterns have been reported in the infants of mothers with very high caffeine intakes (see the LactMed record on caffeine for details). Giving tea directly to infants can interfere with iron absorption and cause anemia,[1] but anemia in breastfed infants has not been reported with maternal tea ingestion. Application of wet tea bags to the nipples has been studied as a method of reducing nipple pain during the first few days of nursing. Two small, moderately well-controlled studies found a positive effect of the tea bags, but warm water compresses were as at least as effective as tea bags.[2][3] No studies were found that examined the use of oral green tea extract, topical application of green tea extract to the nipples, or to the topical product Veregren applied to genital warts during breastfeeding. Topical products applied away from the breast should pose negligible risk for the breastfed infant.

Dietary supplements do not require extensive pre-marketing approval from the US Food and Drug Administration. Manufacturers are responsible to ensure the safety, but do not need to prove the safety and effectiveness of dietary supplements before they are marketed. Dietary supplements may contain multiple ingredients, and differences are often found between labeled and actual ingredients or their amounts. A manufacturer may contract with an independent organization to verify the quality of a product or its ingredients, but that does not certify the safety or effectiveness of a product. Because of the above issues, clinical testing results on one product may not be applicable to other products. More detailed informationabout dietary supplementsis available elsewhere on the LactMed Web site.

Drug Levels:

Caffeine is excreted into breastmilk. Refer to the LactMed record on caffeine for details. Relevant published information on other components was not found as of the revision date.

Effects in Breastfed Infants:

Relevant published information was not found as of the revision date.

Possible Effects on Lactation:

Relevant published information was not found as of the revision date.


1. Merhav H, Amitai Y, Palti H, Godfrey S. Tea drinking and microcytic anemia in infants. Am J Clin Nutr. 1985;41:1210-3. PMID:4003328
2. Buchko BL, Pugh LC, Bishop BA et al. Comfort measures in breastfeeding, primiparous women. J Obstet Gynecol Neonatal Nurs. 1994;23:46-52. PMID:8176527
3. Lavergne NA. Does application of tea bags to sore nipples while breastfeeding provide effective relief? J Obstet Gynecol Neonatal Nurs. 1997;26:53-8. PMID:9017547

Substance Identification:

Substance Name:

Green Tea

Scientific Name:


Drug Class:

  • Complementary Therapies

  • Food

  • Phytotherapy

  • Plants, Medicinal

  • Administrative Information:

    LactMed Record Number:


    Last Revision Date:

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