“But tea is on lists as being high histamine!” you say. Let me stop you right there. Fermented tea leaves purportedly block the histamine degrading diamine oxidase (DAO) enzyme, but Camellia Sinensis (tea) leaves actually possess significant antihistamine and mast cell stabilising properties. As a bonus, much to my delight, they also act in the same way as anti-anxiety medications, chilling out the brain.
I can attest to this, being both an ex-mega consumer of benzodiazepines like Xanax, and having been a tea devotee for much of my life. While I fought my doctors tooth and nail because I refused to believe I was manic depressive and needed anxiety meds, I reluctantly let go of my tea habit. I knew that something about tea bothered me, but thankfully once I found caffeine free Camellia blossom (rather than leaf) tea, I was in absolute heaven. Read more about that here.
Theanine found in tea induces a brain state similar to that of meditation, which might account for the British answer to any kind of upheaval being a good cuppa tea. The news that EGCG in camellia leaves exerts an anti-anxiety effect on the brain much like that of xanax and valium (benzodiazepines), was a nice bonus indeed. Can one become addicted to it? I’ve been drinking tea all my life and never had an issue stopping, except for a headache here and there.
Interestingly, researchers found that in animals, EGCG can reverse the over stimulatory effect of caffeine on the central nervous system, and that it works by modulating GABA in the brain. I’ve written about GABA and histamine’s role in addiction and compulsive behaviour here.
Studies show that the anti-anxiety effect is so strong that it can actually put animals to sleep, but I have not personally experienced this myself. Though I sometimes drink up to five cups of camellia blossom tea, and do feel amazingly relaxed, it doesn’t make me sleepy (but you might have a different experience).
EGCG ANTIHISTAMINE BENEFITS
Phenolic compounds in tea leaves have been shown to possess significant antihistamine properties. Unfortunately, the caffeine would leave me so jacked up that I didn’t know what to do with myself, other than walk around with my hands balled up into fists and just generally making a nuisance of myself if not properly occupied.
Please don’t forget though, even foods with antihistamine properties can negatively affect us, so please always check with a doctor before adding anything new to your diet.
All in all, the biggest difference in my anxiety turned out to be switching diets and adding in nutrient dense foods with antihistamine and anti-inflammatory properties. You’ll find recipes I used to fight histamine inflammation in my books Anti-Recipes and The Anti-Cookbook
Vignes, Michel. “Anxiolytic Properties of the Green Tea Polyphenol (−)-Epigallocatechin Gallate.” Tea in Health and Disease Prevention, 2013, pp. 1399–1409., doi:10.1016/b978-0-12-384937-3.00117-8.
Adachi, Nami, et al. “(−)-Epigallocatechin gallate attenuates acute stress responses through GABAergic system in the brain.” European Journal of Pharmacology, vol. 531, no. 1-3, 2006, pp. 171–175., doi:10.1016/j.ejphar.2005.12.024.
Park, Kwang-Soon, et al. “(−)-Epigallocatechin-3-O-Gallate (EGCG) reverses caffeine-Induced anxiogenic-like effects.” Neuroscience Letters, vol. 481, no. 2, 2010, pp. 131–134., doi:10.1016/j.neulet.2010.06.072.
Fujimura, Yoshinori, et al. “Antiallergic Tea Catechin, (−)-Epigallocatechin-3-O-(3-O-Methyl)-Gallate, Suppresses FcεRI Expression in Human Basophilic KU812 Cells.” Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, vol. 50, no. 20, 2002, pp. 5729–5734., doi:10.1021/jf025680z.