Theophylline is a chemical compound with one or more phenolic rings that contains an amino group (with nitrogen in it) and is basic or alkaline. Theophylline is related to caffeine and all three belong to a class of organic compounds called Xanthines. They both have many physiological effects on the neutral system. Green and black tea contains the largest quantity of theophylline, but other beverage like cocoa and yerba mate also have smaller amount of it. Theophylline normal exists in plants, but it’s also made industrially for medicines.
Theophylline was first extracted from tea leaves, and named, by a German named Kossel, in 1888. It was synthesized for clinical use in the early 1900’s and was first used as a diuretic. In the 1920’s it was used both as a diuretic and a cardiac medication. Theophylline was first used for asthma therapy in the 1930’s, and provides relief today for many asthma patients without the side effects of the traditional medications. In fact, a medical history book recorded that people started to drink tea to prevent respiratory diseases several hundreds years ago.
Theophylline doesn’t stimulate the central nervous system as much as caffeine; however, it is addictive, with withdrawal symptoms being headaches, fatigue and drowsiness. Theophylline is an alternative for those who are allergic or sensitive to caffeine. There isn’t enough of it present in tea to cause the same addictive effects as drinking a few cups of coffee, or to have the effects that medicine with theophylline produce. Many doctors recommend gaining theophylline from tea instead of medicine because it’s milder and less likely to cause side effects. A cup of tea has about 1 mg of theophylline, while medications typically contain 100-400 mg.
Let’s look into the physiological effects of theophylline. Theophylline helps relax the smooth tissue around bronchial muscles, increases the efficiency of heart muscles, increases heart rate, improves blood pressure and renal blood flow, and fights against inflammatory. Theophylline relaxes the smooth muscles in the airway, making breathing easier while also stimulating both the rate and force of contraction of the heart. Preventing and treating symptoms and blockage of airway due to asthma or other lung diseases (eg, emphysema, bronchitis), theophylline may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor. In traditional Chinese medicine science, doctors believed that tea helps clean the trachea. Especially for smokers, black tea helps remove the harmful substance from lungs and improves blood circulation. Also, smokers suffer from a lack of oxygen. Theophylline can help oxygen get into blood through speeding up blood flow.
Theophylline does have side effects, however. These include nausea and vomiting and cardiac dysrhythmias. Some people might have other symptoms drinking strong tea. Initially, they might have a slight headache and feel dizzy. After a while, their hands may shake and it’s difficult to stand. In Chinese medical science, doctors call it “tea drunkenness.” It can also be toxic if you take too much. Over absoption of theophylline might lead to enzyme disorder. Some people even lose conscience and have a heart attack. However, it would be difficult to get that amount of the phytochemical just from tea or other foods, as it is present in such small amounts.
Please avoid drinking tea on an empty stomach. Fermented tea, such as black tea contains higher caffeine and theophylline, which stimulates your stomach and intestines. Some people may feel nauseous or dizzy if they drink suck teas on an empty stomach so it is recommended to drink them after eating, including something light. If it happens, drink more water and relax. After an hour, the symptoms will be gone.
How to make an ideal cup of tea? The amount of theophylline in brewed tea depends on the amount of leaves used, its type, and the length of time the tea is brewed. For example, black tea has a higher amount of theophylline than green tea; moreover, Puer tea is beyond all tea types. A close approximation of light tea can be made by soaking tea leaves in hot water for about a minute. Brewed tea becomes really strong after a 5-minute-stepping.