Tea made from the leaves of the plant Camellia sinensis is the most popular beverage in the world next to water. With respect to oral health, the Japanese have traditionally believed that a cup of green tea enjoyed after meals makes the mouth clean and prevents tooth decay.
In recent years it has been shown that the catechin fraction of green tea and specifically epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), its most active constituent, plays an important role in the preservation of healthy teeth and gums.
This article describes a unique process to extract pure EGCGa from green tea and suggests several oral care formulations with PEGCG to capture EGCG’s known biological activities related to oral health. The abbreviation PEGCG will refer to the pure EGCG produced by this proprietary process.
A typical analysis of fresh tea leaves shows that polyphenols represent about 30% dry weight of the flush, the harvested young green shoot of the plant comprising the apical bud plus the first two immature leaves. The tea plant Camellia sinensis yields green, black, Oolong tea and even white tea. The varieties differ mainly in the way of processing the leaves.
To manufacture green tea, the freshly harvested leaves are heated to inactivate their enzymes, mainly the polyphenol oxidase, and then dried. The production of black tea involves a “fermentation” step that results in additional and more complex molecules including theaflavins and thearubigins due to oxidation and polymerization of essentially the flavanols. Oolong tea is partially oxidized. White tea, the least processed type, comes from tiny buds with white hairy down. 100 mg dry Chinese green tea leaves contain 18 mg catechins on average5 with EGCG quantitatively the most dominant catechin (Table 1).