Detox teas, cleanses, and diets are popping up everywhere these days as many of us work on "detoxing" after the holiday season, which can leave behind a lot of damage we must say!
What about detox teas? You may have purchased detox teas before or you may be wondering if they even work.
Today we will be talking about the many benefits to detox teas and how to use them to enhance your health!
What are detox teas?
Detox teas are teas that contain various herbs that support the detoxification organs and more particularly, the liver. They are touted as effective remedies to bloating and even weight loss by cleansing the body and promoting detoxification. But are these claims really valid?
Certain herbs can be beneficial to support the elimination of toxins and promoting efficient excretion through the eliminatory organs, however, a detox tea should not be used as the end-all solution for your health. Instead, it should be regarded as an additional tool alongside the right diet and lifestyle changes.
Detox teas can have a diuretic effect, reducing fluid retention but this can also result in loss of electrolytes. Laxative herbs found in many detox teas may cause digestive upset and caffeinated teas can disrupt sleep patterns. So it's important to educate yourself on the listed ingredients and to stay well hydrated!
Many teas contain inorganic herbs, pesticides, chemicals, and high levels of caffeine. Always read the ingredients and choose reputable brands that source from organic ingredients.
That being said, many detox teas contain medicinal herbs that have been used for centuries to support human health and provide many health benefits. Instead of popping a pill, tea is a great way to receive these benefits!
Benefits of detox teas
Support liver detoxification
The main focus of a detox tea is to support the liver in detoxification, no surprise there. Common herbs found in detox formulas include milk thistle and dandelion root.
Milk thistle is one of the top herbs used to support detoxification as it is a liver protectant that has been shown to aid liver detoxification and repair. It is regularly used as a supportive nutrient for patients with liver damage such as alcoholism or fatty liver disease (1).
Dandelion root acts as a diuretic and helps to flush out toxins through the kidneys while stimulating the digestive system, such as the liver. What's more, dandelion is actually a nutritious plant providing vitamins and minerals like iron, magnesium, potassium, calcium, and certain B vitamins as well as antioxidants.
Many people find dandelion root has a similar smokey taste to coffee thus it is commonly used as an alternative for those wanting to find a substitute to their cup of coffee.
Reduce oxidative stress
Green tea is a popular addition found in detox teas that provides caffeine, though less than coffee, as well as a significant amount of flavonoids, which are important antioxidants. Green tea extract can help combat free radicals and oxidative damage due to its anti-inflammatory compounds (2). This can help support the process of detoxification by protecting the cell from damage made by toxins and metabolites during the detoxification process.
Removing harmful pathogens
Our digestive system can be home to many unwanted bugs such as yeast, bacteria, and viruses. Certain herbs can help to eliminate these due to their antimicrobial, antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial properties.
Licorice is such a herb. It has many health-promoting properties that help to calm inflammation, protect the mucosal lining, prevent liver damage, and provide antibacterial and antiviral effects. Licorice has been shown to inhibit the activity of viruses and bacteria (3). Avoid licorice if you have high blood pressure.
Goldenseal is another herb that can kill harmful bacteria and viruses and has been used for hundreds of years for various issues such as digestive conditions and urinary tract infections. However, Goldenseal is now considered an endangered species due to its overconsumption, thus Oregon Grape may be a better alternative. Avoid if you have high blood pressure.
Better out than in! Certain herbs can promote elimination via the kidneys (such as dandelion) and via the bowels.
Aloe vera leaf has gentle laxative properties that can help stimulate bowel movements and increase transit time. The outer layer of the leaf contains anthraquinones, compounds that contain these laxative properties.
Ginger is a commonly used herb to soothe and reduce digestive issues like nausea, gas, bloating, and even constipation. It acts as a stimulating digestive tonic promoting salivation and the secretion of enzymes required in the digestive process.
Reduce inflammation in the digestive tract
Peppermint is a tummy soother that can help to relieve stomach upset and indigestion and even cases of IBS (4). It does this by relaxing smooth muscle tissue and reducing inflammation. Peppermint can also promote bile flow which binds onto toxins to excrete them from the body. If you experience heartburn you may want to avoid as it can worsen symptoms.
Marshmallow root works by coating mucosal membranes (such as the stomach and intestines) to protect from irritation and inflammation. This is why marshmallow is often used for conditions like diarrhea, heartburn, colitis, and intestinal permeability. As it contains soluble fiber it can also help to eliminate toxins in the bowels due to its bulking laxative effects.
Our favorite detox teas
You can brew fresh loose leaf tea at home or if you are after convenience, there are many formulated detox tea blends available on the market:
Bell's Kidney Cleanse Tea targets the kidneys specifically to flush out toxins and reduce the risk of urinary tract infections.
Pukka Cleanse Tea contains a blend of cleansing herbs designed to promote elimination from the bowels and urinary system as well as support liver detoxification. It also tastes delicious with a hint of natural sweetness coming from the lavender, fennel, and peppermint.
Traditional Medicinals Organic Lemon Everyday Detox provides a formula of diuretic and cleansing herbs such as burdock and dandelion to support good eliminatory function and promote waste removal from the body.
Always be cautious before enhancing detoxification with herbs, supplements, or teas as you may experience side effects. Check out our guide on what to know before you attempt a detox and check in with your health care provider to make sure it is right for you.
Laurence Annez is a Certified Nutritional Practitioner and Health Coach, specializing in PCOS and women's hormones. She also holds a degree in Creative Writing and has extensive experience writing on health and wellness topics. Laurence's mission is to inspire and motivate individuals to take control of their own health and reach their ultimate health goals.