Scientific studies have shown that green and black herbal teas, harvested from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, contain powerful antioxidants and antibacterial properties.
Tea is produced and packaged into small porous bags containing the dried tea leaves. Brewing and drinking the tea is said to have many health benefits. Similarly, using tea bags as a medical preparation applied to the skin is said to inhibit the growth of certain bacteria.
So it leads us to the question, ‘will tea derived from the Camellia sinensis plant help to get rid of a stye?’. And if so, which brand of tea works best?
What is a stye and what are its causes?
We all know what a stye is. It’s an inflamed swelling on the edge of an eyelid. Bacteria causes it, specifically Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus), which is a Gram-positive bacterium that is found on the skin and also located in the nasal passages.
S. aureus is a germ commonly found on the surface of the skin or in the nose, even on healthy people. It is the same bacteria that causes Staph infections, and in rare cases, it can cause death.
You’re probably running to the shower to scrub them off. But it won’t get rid of them. You will never get rid of them. But don’t worry, they only causes problems in certain situations.
Green tea as antibacterial agent against S. aureus
Staphylococcus aureus is the bacteria that causes a stye infection. So it leads us to the next question ‘will tea extracted from the Camellia sinensis plant kill S. aureus bacteria?’.
In a recent study, antioxidant and antibacterial properties of six brands of black, green and herbal teas, harvested from the Camellia sinensis plant, were investigated.
The study revealed that green teas inhibited the growth of all three Gram-positive bacteria tested (Micrococcus luteus, Bacillus cereus and Staphylococcus aureus) with S. aureus being the least likely to be influence.
The study also revealed that extracts from all six teas had no influence against three Gram-negative bacteria (Salmonella typhi, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Escherichia coli).
The study concluded that green teas inhibited all three Gram-positive bacteria tested with S. aureus being the least susceptible.
This means that green tea does in fact inhibit the growth of S. aureus while black teas and herbals had no influence at all. So does this mean green tea can get rid of a stye? Maybe?
Green tea polyphenols aren’t absorbed beyond the epidermis
The skin on the eyelid consist of three layers; hypodermis (inner layer), dermis (mid-layer) and epidermis (outer layer). Green tea polyphenols aren’t absorbed beyond the epidermis. Absorption through the conjunctiva is also considered nonproductive. This could limit antibacterial benefits to that outer eyelid skin layer.
Does this mean tea bags are ineffective for treatment of a stye? Maybe. External styes are due to an infection of the gland of Zeis which is located at the base of an eyelash. Internal ones are due to infection of the meibomian gland.
So for green tea polyphenols to be effective at getting rid of a stye or stopping its progression, green tea polyphenols will need to either pass through the meibomian gland orifice or work its way down the eyelash and into the gland of Zeis.
What brand tea works best?
It is still not known if any brand of green tea will get rid of a stye, but it might and it’s worth a shot, in my opinion.
Despite the name, most teas are not real tea. Authentic tea, including oolong, black or green tea, are derived from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant.
The kind of tea bags you buy locally are herbal teas which are harvested from flowers, herbs, fruits and spices. These brands of teas are garbage and usually do not contain antioxidant and antibacterial properties.
The brand really doesn’t matter, just make sure it is green tea and not black or herbal tea. I’ve linked to a few brands on Amazon that should work…good luck!