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GABA Tea, or known as Gabaron in Japan, is a tea that has a high content of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). It's known to treat insomnia, high blood pressure, stress, and anxiety. GABA Tea is processed under anaerobic conditions (without oxygen). This method of processing tea results in an increased amount of GABA content in the finished tea leaves.

What does GABA mean?

GABA stands for gamma-aminobutyric acid. This amino acid is produced naturally in the human brain and it functions as a neurotransmitter. Its what makes it easier for brain cells to communicate. GABA’s job is to lower the activity of the neurons in the brain and central nervous system, which causes effects like relaxation and lower stress levels.

In addition to the human brain, GABA can also be found naturally in Tea. GABA Tea specifically, is the food or beverage with the highest content of GABA.

Amount of GABA in GABA Tea

Depending on the quality of GABA tea, the content of GABA in GABA tea should be at least 150mg per 100g of dry tea leaves. The more GABA the tea has the better the quality. 


Amount of stems in GABA Tea

The order of the content of GABA exists in GABA Tea is: Stem, followed by the tea bud, second leaf, third leaf, and finally old leaves.

Therefore if you GABA Tea has a lot of stems its a good thing. The higher the amount of GABA, the better quality of GABA Tea.

Other common names are for Gaba Tea: GABA Oolong Tea, Gabalong.


What GABA Oolong tea looks like

We took our GABA Oolong tea as an example. Here we can see the dry leaf, steeped leaf, and color of GABA Oolong Tea. Keep in mind that other GABA teas might have a slightly different shape or color.

gaba tea dry leaf gaba tea leaf gaba tea color


Origin of GABA Tea

The technology for the production of GABA Tea was developed in Japan, and the discovery of GABA Tea was by Prof. Tsushida's. In 1987, along with its colleagues from the National Tea Research Institute, they were searching for a method to extend the shelf life of fresh tea leaves. The treatment that they applied to fresh tea leaves was the same as for fresh vegetables - packaging harvested tea leaves anaerobically. 

After examining the tea leaves, it's research found that the content of GABA and alanine in the tea had exponentially increased. The research also found that the glutamic acid and aspartic acid had almost disappeared. The research was made with green tea but they later found that the GABA levels increased not only in green tea but also in black tea and oolong tea. The results of this started more experimentation with tea processing aiming at increasing the natural GABA content of the tea leaf. This technology and method of making eventually went to Taiwan where the research and development of Gaba Oolong Tea has been in the making for over a decade.

Does this process affect the flavor?

Absolutely. This process adds a distinct flavor to the tea which is sour and tangy. Nowadays the process of GABA Tea has improved drastically some GABA teas actually taste savory and have quite a pleasant aroma.


Health Benefits of GABA Tea

GABA Tea contains a high content of naturally occurring GABA, instead of ones chemically made. GABA exists naturally in the brain, and although experts suggest that high levels of GABA have health benefits, the proof is not yet clear. Take the following with a grain of salt. 

  • High Blood Pressure is caused by a high salt diet and GABA may reduce Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
  • High level of GABA enhances the GABA receptor and may improve depression and anxiety.
  • GABA may inhibit nerve activity, inducing relaxation which could help with sleep.
  • Drinking a lot of alcohol can cause GABA receptors to become numb.
  • It may aid with the regulation of the Growth Hormone secretion. Therefore, it's a good way to keep us young.
  • While still unclear, GABA may help with diabetes by maintaining and possibly create new beta cells.
  • A stable supply of GABA may improve the stability of the nervous system, helping Parkinson's disease patients.
  • It may help with Epilepsy, there is an association between low brain GABA levels and seizures. 

For more details check our benefits of GABA tea article.

In summary

  • Although GABA is beneficial for human health, it decreases naturally as we grow older.
  • GABA can be found in a number of foods and GABA Tea is the highest source of GABA.
  • Drinking GABA Tea hasn’t shown to have negative side effects.


Although GABA Tea can be seen as a supplement we recommend seeking a licensed physician before self diagnose as this website does not provide medical advice.



Neurotransmitters as food supplements: the effects of GABA on brain and behavior

Tea and Tea Products: Chemistry and Health-Promoting Properties


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