Green tea (GT)-based chemoprevention has shown promising results in various cancer models. However, the effective dose may not be far from the toxic dose because of inefficient systemic delivery and limited bio-availability of GT polyphenols. We have used GT polyphenols to successfully reduce gold to corresponding gold nanoparticles (NPs) in a single step; a process that fulfils all criteria of green nanotechnology as no "man-made" chemical other than gold acids are used. GT and (-) - epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) conjugated gold NPs (diameters <50 nm), showed remarkable stability, significantly rapid cellular uptake and excellent in vitro anti-oxidant activities. These NPs were observed to be selectively toxic towards cancer cells (Ehrlich's Ascites Carcinoma and MCF-7) while showing absolutely no lethality towards normal primary mouse hepatocytes. In cancer cells, NPs altered the redox status and limited Nrf2 activation by almost 50%. These NPs significantly decreased nuclear translocation of NF-κB, coupled with decreased phosphorylation of IĸB and down-regulation of NF-κB-dependent anti-apoptotic proteins Bcl2 and Akt in a dose-dependent manner, triggering onset of apoptosis. Culturing normal hepatocytes with tumor-conditioned media prompted apoptosis by increasing reactive oxygen species (ROS) and depleting the anti-oxidant defense mechanism of hepatocytes. Pre-treatment with NPs protected hepatocytes from tumor-induced cellular damage by scavenging excess ROS, increasing the levels of reduced glutathione and anti-oxidant enzymes. There was evidence of decreased Bax/Bcl2 ratio and active Caspase 3 levels in these hepatocytes, indicating apoptosis escape. Nanoformulations of GT-based polyphenols might serve as an operative platform for effective delivery, increased bio-availability, enhanced effects and minimal chemotherapy-associated toxicities.