Tea alkaloids and tea chemistry


One of the intentionally aged teas, Pu-Erh has a loyal following.

Re: Tea alkaloids and tea chemistry

Postby brose » Aug 19th, '13, 21:11

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Re: Tea alkaloids and tea chemistry

Postby solitude » Aug 20th, '13, 13:48

Many studies are focusing on canabioid receptors these days. It was found that they play an important role in the regulation of the immune system. I think there is also a documentary on the youtube about it.
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Re: Tea alkaloids and tea chemistry

Postby MrEffendi » Aug 27th, '13, 19:25

I'm almost tempt to buy that article, but alas: I'd much rather spend the $40 on some decent tea :p
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Re: Tea alkaloids and tea chemistry

Postby Pyronicx » Sep 3rd, '13, 08:19

About 10+ years ago I realized tea was a powerfully psychoactive for me and the intoxication combined with the taste were the reasons I really got into tea.
I've been reading the scientific tea literature (well in english, so I'm guessing it's only the tip of the iceberg) extensively for a few years and I have started to strongly suspect that the major part of the psychoactivity of tea is caused by a synergy between theanine and caffeine (I haven't tested it yet but want to order some pure theanine and try it alone and mixed with caffeine). Theanine is a psychoactive amino acid that can cross the blood brain barrier and has effects on the glutamate system (major excitatory system).

There have been some publications on pu erh where the autors claim that GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid, major inhibitory neurotransmitter) is causing the psychoactive effects, however as far as I know GABA can't cross the blood brain barrier. Otherwise, GABA would be a popular drug, what is used instead is GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyric acid) which can cross the blood brain barrier and is (ab)used as a party/date rape drug (I'm a chemist).

Interesting paper for people interested in the synergy between caffeine and theanine http://jn.nutrition.org/content/138/8/1572S.full.pdf+html


Edit:

What I forgot to add is that in one paper they quantified the theanine in different types of tea and the conclusion was that gyokuro contained the most theanine. For me the tea that consistently gives me the strongest psychoactive effects is gyokuro. This, is what lead me to believe that the psychoactivity is most likely caused by the theanine and caffeine. I'll try to obtain some food/pharmaceutical grade L-theanine and see if it has any effect in a safe range (will use same dose range as in the abovementioned study).
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Re: Tea alkaloids and tea chemistry

Postby MrEffendi » Oct 3rd, '13, 00:07

Pyronicx wrote:About 10+ years ago I realized tea was a powerfully psychoactive for me and the intoxication combined with the taste were the reasons I really got into tea.
I've been reading the scientific tea literature (well in english, so I'm guessing it's only the tip of the iceberg) extensively for a few years and I have started to strongly suspect that the major part of the psychoactivity of tea is caused by a synergy between theanine and caffeine (I haven't tested it yet but want to order some pure theanine and try it alone and mixed with caffeine). Theanine is a psychoactive amino acid that can cross the blood brain barrier and has effects on the glutamate system (major excitatory system).

There have been some publications on pu erh where the autors claim that GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid, major inhibitory neurotransmitter) is causing the psychoactive effects, however as far as I know GABA can't cross the blood brain barrier. Otherwise, GABA would be a popular drug, what is used instead is GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyric acid) which can cross the blood brain barrier and is (ab)used as a party/date rape drug (I'm a chemist).

Interesting paper for people interested in the synergy between caffeine and theanine http://jn.nutrition.org/content/138/8/1 ... l.pdf+html


Edit:

What I forgot to add is that in one paper they quantified the theanine in different types of tea and the conclusion was that gyokuro contained the most theanine. For me the tea that consistently gives me the strongest psychoactive effects is gyokuro. This, is what lead me to believe that the psychoactivity is most likely caused by the theanine and caffeine. I'll try to obtain some food/pharmaceutical grade L-theanine and see if it has any effect in a safe range (will use same dose range as in the abovementioned study).


Ah, so that GABA tea that I purchased on Dragon Tea house was snake oil? :lol: Oh well, it still tastes good.
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Re: Tea alkaloids and tea chemistry

Postby mcrdotcom » Oct 9th, '13, 17:39

MrEffendi wrote:So, do we have any chemists on this forum? It would be interesting to see gas chromatography findings on Pu-erh tea but I can't find an article.


Currently in 3rd year chemistry undergraduate degree, should be in a Ph.D by this time 2015, I'll get onto it then! 8)

It is an interesting idea, I have access to some machines in college regularly so if I could sneak in a sample of diluted tea I could probably run some simple tests! :lol:
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Re: Tea alkaloids and tea chemistry

Postby TIM » Oct 9th, '13, 18:34

mcrdotcom wrote:
MrEffendi wrote:So, do we have any chemists on this forum? It would be interesting to see gas chromatography findings on Pu-erh tea but I can't find an article.


Currently in 3rd year chemistry undergraduate degree, should be in a Ph.D by this time 2015, I'll get onto it then! 8)

It is an interesting idea, I have access to some machines in college regularly so if I could sneak in a sample of diluted tea I could probably run some simple tests! :lol:


That will be awesome! Let me know if you need any samples.
T
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Re: Tea alkaloids and tea chemistry

Postby brose » Oct 10th, '13, 15:09

mcrdotcom wrote:
MrEffendi wrote:So, do we have any chemists on this forum? It would be interesting to see gas chromatography findings on Pu-erh tea but I can't find an article.


Currently in 3rd year chemistry undergraduate degree, should be in a Ph.D by this time 2015, I'll get onto it then! 8)

It is an interesting idea, I have access to some machines in college regularly so if I could sneak in a sample of diluted tea I could probably run some simple tests! :lol:


That is a decent idea, be sure to do some through literature digging as I know there are already several papers published that GCMS samples looking for comparisons, some links were found to certain compounds (if i have time to look through my collection I will update with links). Identification of the compounds seems to be the most challenging. GCMS is a decent first go to but to be identified on your system they really need to be run through the identification battery (NMR, ect.)
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Re: Tea alkaloids and tea chemistry

Postby Drax » Oct 10th, '13, 17:36

I'm sure you can find other papers to see what methods they used. Remember that tea has a lot of compounds (polyphenols) that would stick like glue to the normal chromatographic methods. You might have to go HPLC or some other method.
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Re: Tea alkaloids and tea chemistry

Postby mcrdotcom » Oct 10th, '13, 17:38

brose wrote:That is a decent idea, be sure to do some through literature digging as I know there are already several papers published that GCMS samples looking for comparisons, some links were found to certain compounds (if i have time to look through my collection I will update with links). Identification of the compounds seems to be the most challenging. GCMS is a decent first go to but to be identified on your system they really need to be run through the identification battery (NMR, ect.)


I guess GCMS, separation, IR and NMR would be an excellent way to go. I'd love to go into a Ph.D dealing with drug design or something based on compounds found in tea! So intriguing!
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Re: Tea alkaloids and tea chemistry

Postby Kosmos4 » Oct 29th, '13, 21:13

Pyronicx wrote:What I forgot to add is that in one paper they quantified the theanine in different types of tea and the conclusion was that gyokuro contained the most theanine. For me the tea that consistently gives me the strongest psychoactive effects is gyokuro. This, is what lead me to believe that the psychoactivity is most likely caused by the theanine and caffeine. I'll try to obtain some food/pharmaceutical grade L-theanine and see if it has any effect in a safe range (will use same dose range as in the abovementioned study).


I find Bai Ho Yin Zhen to have the most potent theanine-caffeine interaction but of course it's still speculation on my part. I know theanine supplements are available so I'm curious about the results of your experiment. Do you plan to take theanine supplements with caffeine tablets or with coffee? Anyway, please let us know your conclusions!
Last edited by Kosmos4 on Oct 30th, '13, 15:53, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Tea alkaloids and tea chemistry

Postby rabbit » Oct 30th, '13, 10:37

Stop taking all the mystery out of my tea! :P
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Re: Tea alkaloids and tea chemistry

Postby JohnsonH » Nov 26th, '13, 01:13

MrEffendi wrote:I'm doing some light research on what exactly is in our Pu-erh tea. So far I've found that Pu-erh contains gallic acid in varying amounts. .......


Hi, i wonder have you heard of natural grown tea tree also known as the wild grown tea tree? They are also known as the mother of Pu Erh, the original form of Pu Erh before the industrial plantation method comes in.

Fraud packaging and fake labeling are very common in chinese tea, but i believe nothing can be hidden in your experiment. If you really into getting some Natural Pu Erh specimen, you may contact me. My shop produces only natural grown pu erh tea, im wondering what does my tea will results in your experiment.
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Re: Tea alkaloids and tea chemistry

Postby 茶藝-TeaArt08 » Nov 26th, '13, 22:13

While not entirely on topic (not specifically about tea alkaloids), I found this recent article (http://www.worldteanews.com/news/new-st ... nefits-tea) sent out by World Tea News with links to studies on tea to have some good information on some recent, peer-reviewed tea studies. The article notes that the upcoming, December 2013 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition will be featuring 12 new articles on the health benefits of tea, some of which relate to the discussion here. I look forward to picking up the journal and reading/looking into the studies.

On theanine, I recently read from, I believe it was, Hojo an assertion that modern theanine content in tea leaves is really a byproduct of being farmed and fertilized with modern methods...that the theanine content naturally occurring in tea, though likely to vary with local ecology and terroir, would not otherwise be so high or effective. I'll try to find the article/post.

Blessings!
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Re: Tea alkaloids and tea chemistry

Postby shah82 » Nov 26th, '13, 22:26

Theanine is produced more in shade, less in sun.
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