Black Tea Extract, with constituents known as Theaflavins, have been established, like Propecia (1mg, finasteride), to lower serum DHT in mammal models. The consumption of Black Tea as a sole beverage was shown to lower serum DHT by 72%, while Proscar (5 mg, finasteride) has been shown to reliably lower serum DHT by 71% in animal models. Proscar was shown to have the exact same effect in humans, lowering DHT by 71%. We featured the study of the DHT reducing effects of Black Tea some time ago, recommending the use of Black Tea Extracts as a convenient, cost effective intervention to lower serum DHT. The feedback we have gotten from those who monitor their DHT blood levels is the usage of Black Tea (Theaflavin) Extract taken in sufficient quantities does precipitously lower serum DHT, which comes as no great surprise.

Moreover, Black Tea Extracts have been shown to simultaneously raise Testosterone and unlike Propecia (which has the opposite effect, with well documented side effects) actually increase libido and sexual behavior. Further Evidence of the Testosterone Boosting Effects of Black Tea

As if this weren’t enough, recent research has revealed that Black Tea has mechanisms that are also similar to oral minoxidil, which was originally shown to grow hair, and due to its concerns about its systemic side effects, lead to its eventual topical formulation, under the name, “Rogaine.”

      The mechanisms by which minoxidil promotes hair growth have been elucidated. Minoxidil contains the nitric oxide chemical moiety and acts as a nitric oxide agonist. Similarly, Minoxidil is a potassium channel opener, causing hyperpolarization of cell membranes. This particular effect of minoxidil was brilliantly replicated by Dr. Whitfield of Oxford University, who formulated a combination specific combination of amino acids and vitamins in his hair growth formula, TRX 2, which we featured in a prior update, Minoxidil Alternatives.

      Minoxidil is also a vasodilator. It is speculated that by widening blood vessels and opening potassium channels, it allows more oxygen, blood, and nutrients to the follicle. This can also cause follicles in the telogen phase to shed, usually soon to be replaced by new, thicker hairs.

      Topical Minoxidil is ineffective when there is a large area of hair loss. In addition, its limited and transient effectiveness has largely been demonstrated in younger men (18 to 31 years of age). Our primary concern about Topical Rogaine is the effluvium (pronounced, acute shedding) that occurs when one stops using it. This shedding is documented to persist even with the concurrent usage of Propecia. Post Rogaine Shed Documented in Archives of Dermatology.

      Topical Minoxidil use is indicated for central (vertex), or top of head, balding only. 

      The following studies show both Green and Black Tea, like oral minoxidil, also up-regulate Nitric Oxide (NO) and act as vasodilators. And, unlike Minoxidil, which can produce dangerous cardiovascular side effects in some, they provide a tremendous amount of crossover anti-aging benefits, significantly enhancing cardiovascular function, improving insulin resistance and hypertension, reducing inflammation and the overall risk of most cancers-to name a few.

      Based on the feedback we have received, 2-3 capsules a day of Theaflavin extract a day is sufficient to significantly lower serum DHT.

Basic Res Cardiol. 2009 Jan;104(1):100-10. Epub 2008 Dec 20.

Green and black tea are equally potent stimuli of NO production and vasodilation: new insights into tea ingredients involved.

Lorenz M, Urban J, Engelhardt U, Baumann G, Stangl K, Stangl V.


Medizinische Klinik mit Schwerpunkt Kardiologie und Angiologie Charité, Universitätsmedizin Berlin, CCM, Charitéplatz 1, Berlin, Germany.


Epidemiological studies suggest that consumption of tea is associated with beneficial cardiovascular effects. Since different types of tea are consumed throughout the world, a question of much interest is whether green tea is superior to black tea in terms of cardiovascular protection. We therefore compared the effects of green and black tea on nitric oxide (NO) production and vasodilation and elucidated the tea compounds involved. We chose a highly fermented black tea and determined concentrations of individual tea compounds in both green and black tea of the same type (Assam). The fermented black tea was almost devoid of catechins. However, both teas stimulated eNOS activity and phosphorylation in bovine aortic endothelial cells (BAEC) as well as vasorelaxation in rat aortic rings to a similar extent. In green tea, only epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) resulted in pronounced NO production and NO-dependent vasorelaxation in aortic rings. During tea processing to produce black tea, the catechins are converted to theaflavins and thearubigins. Individual black tea theaflavins showed a higher potency than EGCG in NO production and vasorelaxation. The thearubigins in black tea are highly efficient stimulators of vasodilation and NO production. Green and black tea compounds induced comparable phosphorylation of eNOS and upstream signalling kinases. Whereas stimulation of eNOS activity by EGCG was only slightly affected by pretreatment of cells with various ROS scavengers, TF3(theaflavin-3′,3-digallate)-induced eNOS activity was partially inhibited by PEG-catalase. These results implicate that highly fermented black tea is equally potent as green tea in promoting beneficial endothelial effects. Theaflavins and thearubigins predominantly counterbalance the lack of catechins in black tea. The findings may underline the contribution of black tea consumption in prevention of cardiovascular diseases.

J Hypertens. 2009 Apr;27(4):774-81.

Black tea consumption dose-dependently improves flow-mediated dilation in healthy males.

Grassi D, Mulder TP, Draijer R, Desideri G, Molhuizen HO, Ferri C.


Department of Internal Medicine and Public Health, University of L’Aquila, L’Aquila, Italy.


Flavonoids may protect against cardiovascular disease. Tea is a major source of dietary flavonoids. Studies indicate black tea improves endothelial function but data on arterial haemodynamics, blood pressure (BP) and insulin resistance are equivocal. Inconsistency may be due to flaws in study design or flavonoid doses tested. Further, no study has evaluated the dose-response curve. Our study aimed to test the effects of various doses of black tea on vascular function, BP and insulin resistance.

According to a randomized, double-blind, controlled, cross-over design, 19 healthy men were assigned to receive either five treatments with a twice daily intake of black tea (0, 100, 200, 400 and 800 mg tea flavonoids/day) in five periods lasting 1 week each.

Black tea dose dependently increased flow-mediated dilation (FMD) from 7.8% (control) to 9.0, 9.1, 9.6 and 10.3% after the different flavonoid doses, respectively (P = 0.0001). Already 100 mg/day (less than 1 cup of tea) increased FMD compared with control (P = 0.0113). FMD improvement after 800 mg/day was significant compared with control (P < 0.0001) but also to 100 mg/day (P = 0.0121) and 200 mg/day (P = 0.0275). Black tea intake decreased office systolic (-2.6 mmHg, P = 0.0007) and diastolic (-2.2 mmHg, P = 0.006) BP as well as stiffness index (P = 0.0159) without changes in other parameters studied.

Our study is the first showing black tea ingestion dose dependently improved FMD and decreased peripheral arterial stiffness in healthy volunteers. Our data suggest that worldwide all tea drinkers could benefit from protective cardiovascular effects exerted by tea.

Comment- In 1 study, Green Tea Extract used singularly was shown to slightly raise serum DHT, while the combination of Green Tea Extract and Soy Isoflavones was shown the lower serum even more than Black Tea Extract- by 83% as opposed to 72%. That particular effect of singular Green Tea on serum DHT notwithstanding, there are many mechanisms by which Green Tea benefits hair and health, and have largely received positive reports on hair growth in response to its usage. L’Oreal invested over 600 million dollars in their formula, Hair Mass, which included Green Tea Extract, along with Grape Seed Extract, and Taurine. Although I currently use Black Tea and Green Tea along with Soy Isoflavones, I wouldn’t hesitate to use Green Tea Extract by itself. If I were to choose between Green Tea Extract and Black Tea (Theaflavin) Extract, I’d probably go with the Black Tea Extract, given the redundancy of hair growth mechanisms addressed, and its specific effects of serum DHT.