Health Benefits of Green Tea and Honey

Health Benefits of Green Tea and Honey

Green tea and honey

Are you looking for a healthy, great-tasting beverage that is good for your body? 

We all know the benefits of drinking water, but sometimes you need something different. 

What if I told you there is a drink that can lower cholesterol levels, help fight free radicals, help you with weight loss, and even strengthen your immune system? 

This post will explain some of the health benefits of green tea and honey. Green tea can have a bitter taste, and adding honey can make the tea more palatable while adding some health benefits.

Here are a few reasons to consume green tea and honey.

Doctor taking Blood Pressure Reading

May Lower Blood Pressure and Improve Lipid Profiles

Studies have shown that the consumption of green tea can be beneficial to cardiovascular health. A systematic review of twenty random controlled trials including 1536 subjects found green tea intake significantly reduces systolic blood pressure, LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol), and total cholesterol.1

Another study also found that the administration of green tea lowered both total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol concentrations. However, no effect on HD cholesterol (good cholesterol) levels was observed in this study.2

Reducing high blood pressure and improving lipid profiles may lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and heart attacks.

Cancer cells

May Have a Role in Cancer Prevention

Several polyphenols are present in green tea leaves, and these compounds are thought to be responsible for their cancer preventative effects. Green tea has the highest polyphenol concentration compared to other teas, which may explain why it is more effective in causing cancer cell damage and death.3

Studies have shown that consumption of green tea can either induce oxidative stress, leading to cancer cell death, or it can act as an antioxidant, preventing cellular damage.4

May Aid in Weight Loss

Green tea extract is a component in many weight loss formulations, including those available at Sunshine Nutraceuticals. For example, in one study, 60 obese subjects (BMI>25) were split into two groups. In addition to their meals, one group was given green tea, and the other group a placebo. The green tea group had significantly higher weight loss than the placebo group at the eight and twelve-week measurements.5

Another study involving 192 moderately overweight Chinese males and females showed that regular consumption of a very-high catechin green tea over 90 days leads to significant reductions in body weight, waist circumference, and intra-abdominal fat.6

Green Tea and Brain Health

We are learning more about Parkinson’s Disease and dementia each day. The catechins present in green tea are potent antioxidants. They may help protect our brain neurons by scavenging free radicals and chelating iron, activating specific signaling pathways and genes.7

Benefits of Caffeinated Green Tea

Caffeine is the most popular nootropic substance currently in use. We all know how caffeine can boost energy levels and focus. Caffeine can also improve your brain reaction time and exercise performance and may improve cardiac health. However, caffeine is a drug, and no medication is free from side effects. 

For example, too much caffeine can make a person jittery. Caffeine can also be habit-forming and can cause headaches if abruptly discontinued. It can also cause anxiety, especially at higher doses. If you start to feel some of these side effects, try to consume less caffeine. Caffeine may also interact with some medications, so check with your doctor or pharmacist.


We all know that honey is a natural sweetener with a yummy taste. But, do you realize that honey has many benefits other than helping soothe a sore throat? 

Always remember that raw honey is a better alternative than processed honey. I know some don’t believe this to be true, but in my opinion, raw honey is a better option. So, what are some of the benefits of raw honey?

doctor with holographic brain between his hands

Honey Also Has Antioxidant Properties and
Positive Effects on the Brain

The brain is especially prone to oxidative damage due to its high oxygen consumption and the presence of polyunsaturated fatty acids found in the neural membranes. Raw honey contains polyphenols which can help protect against fat oxidation. These compounds may also improve learning ability, memory, and cognitive function.

We know that raw honey can help with anxiety and depression and may act as an anticonvulsant.8

Honey Maybe Better in Controlling Blood Sugar Levels
and Preventing Metabolic Syndrome

Honey has been shown to lower blood pressure, decrease obesity, reduce lipid levels, and positively affect diabetes. In addition, honey can decrease insulin resistance leading to lower blood sugar levels. These factors may help limit weight gain and accumulation of fat storage and prevent or improve metabolic syndrome.9


Honey and Green/Black Tea
May Have Antibacterial Properties

One study found honey and green/black tea reduced the risk of H. pylori infection. This study may lead to further studies evaluating the use of honey and tea in the prevention or treatment of some infections.10

Green tea (camellia sinensis) is one of the world’s most popular and healthy drinks. This tea, along with oolong and black tea, has been consumed in China and India for fifty centuries. 

The antioxidant substances in tea leaves may help with several health-related problems, including hypertension, hyperlipidemia, weight loss, neurological disorders, and more. 

In addition, if you use raw honey to sweeten your green tea, more antioxidants will be available to help reduce cellular oxidation.

I highly recommend adding green tea and honey to your diet. Your body will thank you.

If you have any questions regarding this or any other post, please email me at [email protected]. I try to answer all emails.

Michael Brown in Lab Coat with arms crossed

Michael J. Brown, RPh, BCPS, BCPP

Mr. Brown is a Clinical Pharmacist specializing in pharmacotherapy and psychiatry.

Read Michael’s story here.

Feel free to send Michael a message using this link.


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Visit The Sunshine Store For Your Vitamins And Supplements

Several Shitake Mushroom Benefits

What are the health benefits of shitake mushrooms?

Should you try to eat more?

What if I don’t like to eat mushrooms?


Shitake mushrooms (Lentinula edodes) are native to East Asia and are the second most popular mushroom consumed today. Shitakes have been a staple in Asian cuisine for centuries. These mushrooms have a meaty texture and are an excellent addition to salads and soups. 

They also provide a great meat substitute.

Shitakes are tan to dark brown and typically grow on decaying hardwood trees in warm, moist climates. Japan produces about 83% of the shitake mushrooms available worldwide, and 60% of all shitakes are dried before consumption.1

These mushrooms not only provide many vitamins but also are thought to possess other medicinal properties. This post will explore some of the many benefits of this delicious mushroom.

Shitake Mushroom Nutritional Facts

Before exploring the medicinal benefits of the shitake mushroom, lets take a look at the nutritional value of this mushroom.2

The information below represents the nutritional value of one cup (145 g) of shitake mushrooms:

  • Calories 81.2 kcal
  • Protein 2.26 g
  • Fat 0.319 g
  • Carbohydrate 20.9 g
  • Fiber 3.04 g
  • Sugars 5.57 g

These mushrooms also contain many vitamins and minerals.

Medicinal Qualities of Shitake Mushrooms

Natural products, or nutraceuticals, are very important in developing and discovering new pharmaceuticals used in the treatment of chronic diseases such as cancer.3

Polysaccharides present in mushrooms are thought to have antitumor and immune system activation properties.4

Shitake mushrooms contain polysaccharides, lipids, sterols, and terpenoids, which may effectively treat various tumors and infections.5

Antioxidant Effects of Shitake Mushrooms

As we age, our bodies are less efficient at preventing the damage caused by oxidative stress.6

Nutraceuticals, such as shitake mushrooms, can be used to help reduce the oxidation caused by free radical species.7

One study published in 2013 found aqueous extracts of L. edodes demonstrated catalase-like activity leading to the conclusion that shitake mushroom extracts may be a potential source of antioxidants.8

This is important because oxidative stress is known to contribute to over 200 diseases.

Antiviral and Antibacterial Activity of Shitake Mushrooms

With all that is happening in the world today regarding COVID-19, it isn’t surprising to learn that many people are searching for antiviral nutraceuticals. Shitake mushroom extract has been shown to inhibit viral replication in poliovirus and bovine herpesvirus in a concentration-dependent manner.9

These mushrooms have antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial properties.10


Mushrooms contain Beta-glucans, which are polysaccharides that stimulate the immune system. This leads to the ability to help fight bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungus. These molecules are necessary for the mushroom’s survival.

Shitake Mushrooms Contain Vitamin D

Did you know that mushrooms are the only natural plants that contain vitamin D?

It is well-known that this vitamin is crucial for healthy bones and teeth.

The concentration of vitamin D found in mushrooms is dependent on their exposure to Ultraviolet light and how they are grown.

A study performed on mice found that those fed UV-enhanced shitake mushrooms had a higher bone density than a group provided a low-calcium, low-vitamin-D diet.12

Shitake Mushrooms May Help Fight Some Types of Cancer

A cohort study of 36,499 Japanese men found an inverse relationship between mushroom consumption and prostate cancer incidence.13

One polysaccharide, lentinan, assists in fighting tumors as a result of immune system activation.14



Shitake mushroom extract has also been shown to decrease the proliferation of leukemia cells significantly.16

Mycologists strongly believe that the compounds found in mushrooms can suppress many forms of cancers at several stages.

Many plant and fungal species have been used as food and medicine in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. These products have shown the ability to promote good health and may even prevent or treat many diseases.

Mushrooms are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and other compounds that can positively affect our bodies. Mushroom supplements have recently gained popularity in the United States for people who desire mushrooms’ health benefits but do not enjoy them as a food source. These supplements also allow one to consume mushrooms in a concentrated form.

As with most nutraceuticals, more clinical studies are needed to determine the many uses for mushrooms, such as shitakes.
The benefits of consuming these appear to outweigh any risks.

As always, if you have any questions regarding this post or any other, please send me an email. I attempt to answer all emails I receive.

Have a great week, and stay safe out there.

Michael Brown in Lab Coat with arms crossed

Michael J. Brown, RPh, BCPS, BCPP

Mr. Brown is a Clinical Pharmacist specializing in pharmacotherapy and psychiatry.

Read Michael’s story here.

Feel free to send Michael a message using this link.



Disclosure:  This post may contain affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a commission if you click on, or make a purchase through a third-party link.

Elderberry for Flu Prevention, Safety in Pregnancy, Drug Interactions, and More…

I am excited to be able to introduce an elderberry supplement into the Sunshine Nutraceutical product line.  Elderberry is a purple berry produced by the European elder tree, a shrub which grows up to ten meters tall.  Elder flowers and berries have been used as medicines and flavorings for centuries and are especially popular as potent cold and flu remedies.  These common ailments have few treatments and can be annoying and even deadly in certain individuals.  Elderberries have been utilized to treat various health conditions including diabetes, gingivitis, inflammation, acne, and more. This post will concentrate on the evidence available for the use of elderberries as a nutraceutical agent.

Elderberry for Colds, Flu and Bacterial Infections

Probably the most common use for elderberry is as a treatment for upper respiratory infections.  Colds and influenza are prevalent especially during the winter months and are often treated with over-the-counter medications to combat symptoms and at times antibiotics are prescribed.  Both colds and the flu are caused by viruses.   Antibiotics are ineffective in the treatment of viral infections.  Taking antibiotics unnecessarily can lead to resistant bacteria so it is important to use antibiotics only when they are indicated.  No antibiotic is 100% effective and, if a resistant bacterial strain begins to multiply, it can be difficult to treat the infection.

The real question is whether elderberry will help with upper respiratory symptoms.  I know plenty of individuals who swear it works.  Before adding the elderberry product to my line, I did some research.  I located a meta-analysis published in February of 2019.  I have mentioned in previous posts that I like meta-analyses because they have a larger sample size and are generally more accurate than single studies. 

This meta-analysis showed that elderberry supplements, when taken at the onset of respiratory symptoms, substantially reduced symptom duration compared to a control group.  The investigators concluded that elderberry supplementation reduced influenza virus symptoms substantially more effectively than the upper respiratory symptoms caused by the common cold.  It should be noted that this meta-analysis included only one study on elderberry supplementation for the common cold.1

Elderberries neutralize hemagglutinin spikes found on the surfaces of some viruses.  This prevents the viruses from piercing cell walls or entering the cell to replicate.  If the viruses are unable to replicate, they cannot spread.2

Elderberries can also increase the antibodies produced by our bodies against the influenza virus.  This indicates elderberries may actually be able to prevent the flu from occurring.3

A study published in the BMC Complementary & Alternative Medicine Journal in 2011 concluded that elderberry liquid extract was effective against human pathogenic bacteria and influenza viruses.  Many patients develop bacterial infections when ill with the influenza virus.  Elderberry may prove to be helpful in fighting both the influenza virus as well as bacterial infections during outbreaks.4

Elderberry for Treatment and Prevention of Cancer

A study published in 2007 found extracts of the fruits of both the European elderberry (Sambucus nigra) and American elderberry (Sambucus Canadensis), demonstrated anti-initiation and anti-promotion properties.  This may prove to be useful in fighting cancer in the future.  However, more studies need to be conducted on this subject 5



Elderberry as an Antioxidant

Elderberry may act to protect the body against oxidative stress.  Elderberry has been proven to be an antioxidant and free radical scavenger in vitro (outside the body).  It has antioxidant activity comparable to other highly antioxidant fruits such as blueberry and chokeberry.6

Elderberry Effect on Obesity, Diabetes and Inflammation

Obesity is the result of excessive adipose tissue growth.  This can happen through two different mechanisms; Hypertrophy, which is the expansion of existing fat cells, and hyperplasia, which is the addition of new fat cells. 

The oxidative stress caused by an increase in fat tissue leads to obesity-related comorbidities including insulin resistance, diabetes, cancer and heart disease.7

The accumulation of fat in hypertropic adipose tissue associated with obesity leads to oxidative stress and chronic inflammation.8

A recent study found an extract of the elderberry fruit (EDB) was able to decrease reactive oxygen species (ROS) in hypertrophic adipocytes suggesting an antioxidant action.  This may be a potential protective mechanism against obesity risk factors such as insulin resistance and chronic inflammation. 

This study also suggested that the anti-obesity and anti-diabetic effect of EDB may be due to inhibition of dietary sugar and fat absorption from the GI tract.9

Some evidence suggests polyphenols from several berry fruits can inhibit digestive enzymes which are responsible for the hydrolysis necessary for absorption of dietary lipids and carbohydrates.10

Zielinska-Wasielica et al. cited the following in their study published in August of 2019:

Results of the study indicate that Sambucus nigra fruit extract may offer substantial preventive and therapeutic potential for the treatment of obesity and obesity-related disorders, accompanied by oxidative stress, inflammation and insulin resistance. Moreover, the extract can inhibit digestive enzyme activity, and consequently, significantly reduce the intestinal absorption of dietary lipids and carbohydrates, which is an effective strategy for the prevention and treatment of obesity and metabolic comorbidities.11


No contraindications to elderberry have been identified.

Side Effects

Consuming uncooked leaves, stems, or berries can lead to cyanide toxicity, which may cause vomiting and diarrhea. Commercial preparations generally do not cause adverse effects at prescribed dosages.

Pregnancy and Lactation

I do not recommend taking an elderberry supplement if you are pregnant or breast feeding as there are not enough studies confirming safety in infants and small children. For this reason, I recommend reserving the use of elderberry supplements to those over the age of eighteen.

Elderberry Drug Interactions

Although drug interactions with elderberry are not well-documented, exercise caution when taking the following:

  •  Insulin
  •  Blood pressure lowering   medications  Chemotherapeutic agents
  •  Laxatives
  •  Theophylline
  •  Caffeine (Elderberry may   inhibit the enzyme that   metabolizes theophylline   and   caffeine). 12
Get Elderberry Now by Clicking Our Product Above

Our Elderberry Product

Sunshine Nutraceuticals has a brand-new elderberry product that contains 600 mg of elderberry extract per capsule. This supplement is designed to be taken twice daily 20-30 minutes prior to a meal with eight ounces of water. I DO NOT recommend taking this product if you are pregnant, breast feeding or under eighteen years of age. If you have a known medical condition, consult your physician or pharmacist prior to taking supplements containing elderberry.

Michael Brown pictured with Final Thought written

I expected to find a lot of information on elderberry for the treatment of colds and flu. After all, this is why many utilize this supplement and praise its effectiveness. What I didn’t expect was that elderberry has positive effects on diabetes, insulin resistance, and inflammation. We all know about the positive effects of blueberries as an antioxidant. It appears elderberries are not just good as a flavoring agent

and food source, but also possess medicinal properties beyond treatment of upper respiratory tract infections. As with all nutraceuticals, more studies are needed to determine the exact mechanism of action of the benefits of the elderberry. In the future, we may be able to isolate the active compounds from this plant, and use it not only to treat colds and the flu, but to prevent cancer, help fight insulin resistance, and more.

I firmly believe that, as a society, we under-utilize the natural substances provided to us in favor of chemicals which may help treat diseases but not without serious side effects. If we eat right, exercise, and spend time concentrating on our health, we may be able to avoid ingesting harmful chemicals. I know this sounds odd coming from a pharmacist, but this is the conclusion I have come to. Prescription drugs are absolutely necessary in some circumstances, but with the right lifestyle, we can limit our exposure to them.

Michael Brown in Lab Coat with arms crossed

Michael J. Brown, RPh, BCPS, BCPP

Mr. Brown is a Clinical Pharmacist specializing in pharmacotherapy and psychiatry.

Read Michael’s story here.

Feel free to send Michael a message using this link.