Determination of tea polyphenols and caffeine in tea flowers (Camellia sinensis) and their hydroxyl radical scavenging and nitric oxide suppressing effects.J Agric Food Chem. 2003 Feb 12; 51(4):975-80.JA
The native occurrence of tea polyphenols, namely, (-)-epicatechin, (+)-catechin, (-)-epigallocatechin 3-gallate, (-)-epicatechin, and (-)-epicatechin 3-gallate, and caffeine in tea flowers was assessed by an isocratic HPLC procedure. The levels of total catechins and caffeine were determined in tea flowers collected from 10 different species of Camellia sinensis. The results showed the levels of total catechin ranged from 10 to 38 mg/g, whereas the level of caffeine ranged from 3 to 8 mg/g. Levels of catechins and caffeine in tea leaves and various teas were also determined and ranged from 2 to 126 mg/g and from 23 to 49 mg/g, respectively. Both tea flower and tea leaf extracts exert their strong hydroxyl radical scavenging effects in the Fenton reaction system and nitric oxide suppressing effects in LPS-induced RAW 264.7 cells. Most tea flowers contain less caffeine, but comparable amounts of total catechins, compared to tea leaves and teas. The present study demonstrates that both tea flowers and tea leaves contain appreciable amounts of catechins and caffeine. It is likely that tea flowers might be useful for making alternative tea beverages.