An allergic reaction to any beverage or food can occur if the immune system of the individual perceives it as a threat to the body. The immune system wrongly identifies the substance by overreacting and triggering a response. Unsweetened tea either cold or hot is usually made out of black tea leaves which contain tannins, theanine and caffeine among other phytochemicals. Allergic reactions to these compounds are uncommon but can occur. A doctor must be consulted if the individual experiences any side effects after drinking unsweetened tea. You can take up a course on first aid today so that you are ready to handle an allergic reaction once it occurs.
The allergic reactions to beverages are not as common with the reactions to foods. In most cases of food allergies, the triggers include seafood, eggs, soybeans, nuts as well as fish and dairy products. Most of the allergies to beverages are caused by cow’s milk although the additives and high-fructose corn syrup can cause many health issues as well.
It is important to bear in mind that an allergic reaction to beverage or food can occur once the body responds with the production of antibodies. The release of histamine will trigger the allergy symptoms. The usual symptoms of an allergic reaction include hives, low blood pressure, runny nose, anxiety and difficulty breathing as well as swallowing.
Using tea for allergies
Black and green tea leaves possess medicinal properties and oftentimes recommended for fighting off allergic reactions. With this in mind, a reaction to natural, unsweetened tea is considered rare, yet sensitivities and intolerance are common. Take note that the sensitivity and intolerance often involve symptoms such as cramping, stomach upset and diarrhea but they do not manifest as a result of the production of antibodies and release of histamine. The ingredients present in black tear that might trigger an allergic response or other side effects include caffeine, tannins and theanine.
Tannins, theanine and caffeine
Tannins are basically polyphenols and include certain compounds such as theaflavin-3-gallate, tannic acid and catechin. Remember that all tannins are antioxidants and astringents which contribute to the bitter flavor and dryness of black tea. Intolerance to tannins often triggers abdominal cramps even though allergic reactions are rare.
As for caffeine, it is a stimulant that affects the cardiovascular system, brain, thyroid gland, adrenal glands and the kidneys. A dosage below 250 mg typically leads to heightened alertness and diminished fatigue while higher amounts often cause nervousness, restlessness, tremors and insomnia. An allergic reaction to caffeine is uncommon but intolerance occurs in some individuals.
Theanine is similar in structure to amino acids and has a tempering effect on caffeine. Take note that this has a relaxing and calming effect and known to improve concentration.
Considerations to bear in mind
If an individual develops an allergic reaction to unsweetened black tea due to tannins, he/she might also be allergic to red wine and green tea. In case caffeine is responsible for triggering a reaction, coffee, sodas and energy drinks can instigate the same reaction.
In case the allergy is due to theanine, the individual must avoid green tea and some species of mushrooms. A doctor must be consulted in order to determine the specific component in unsweetened tea that triggers an allergic reaction.