Can Green Tea Protect and Support Your Immune System?

As temperatures fall and travel picks up for the holiday season, your immune system may be one of your primary health concerns. The cold winter season can bring a variety of cold and flu symptoms with it, so supporting your immune health is a key first step to staying healthy.

Key supplements for immune support include nature-sourced vitamin D (not synthetic), liquid-based zinc, and plant-sourced vitamin C. However, a landmark study has now uncovered another immune-boosting agent – and it may already be in your pantry!

EGCG to the Rescue!

Green tea boasts a high content of EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), a characteristic ingredient of the plant. This unique plant compound is commonly at the center of health-related discussions due to its anti-inflammatory properties, benefit in weight loss, and ability to support a healthy heart and brain.

In addition to these stellar qualities, this new study finds that EGCG can help to inhibit infection. Among the four active catechins in green tea, EGCG was the most potent against viruses. EGCG was shown to block infection by interfering with the receptor binding of viruses to the receptors of host cells.

The Common Cold is No Match for Catechins

An acute infectious respiratory tract disease, the common cold (and influenza), can be highly infectious and may progress to more significant illnesses when aggravated. These illnesses primarily transmit through contact and droplets.

Luckily, green tea contains catechins which may improve immunity against infection by inhibiting viral adsorption and suppressing replication. These catechins have also shown effectiveness against cold viruses. Some experimental studies have demonstrated evidence of green tea catechins supporting the immune system, as outlined in this study.

The Bottom Line

Green tea is a delicious and beneficial daily drink that can be enjoyed hot or cold to give your immune system a boost. Try adding some green tea, either freshly brewed or a trusted supplement, to your daily routine to experience all of the elegant benefits of this immune-enhancing beverage.


Jenny Perez is an herbal educator, researcher, and writer who has been immersed in the field of nutrition and botanical medicine for more than 20 years. Jenny has created curriculum, content, and educational materials for Quantum Nutrition Labs, Premier Research Labs, the American Botanical Council, and Bastyr University’s Botanical Medicine Department where she was Adjunct Faculty, Herb Garden Manager, and Director of the Holistic Landscape Design certificate program.