5 Detox Tea Ingredients

Two women having tea at table in cabin
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Sipping detox tea may help to nourish your liver (an organ that aids in the elimination of toxins from the body) and support your body in the cleansing process, say some natural health proponents. More recently, celebrities have been touting their benefits for weight loss, quitting smoking, and other concerns. While there's very limited research on whether these herbal teas can support your efforts, here’s a look at five herbs commonly found in detox tea.

1)  Milk Thistle

With seeds rich in an antioxidant known as silymarin, milk thistle has been found to boost liver function and shield the liver from the toxic effects of certain substances (such as alcohol and acetaminophen). There's also some evidence that milk thistle may promote regeneration of liver cells. Find out more about the benefits of milk thistle.

2)  Burdock

A plant root that is sometimes eaten as food, burdock may help to protect liver cells from alcohol- and acetaminophen-related damage and "purify blood". Rich in inulin and sesquiterpene lactones, preliminary studies with animals suggest that the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity of burdock may help to protect the liver. 

RELATED: What You Need to Know About Burdock.

3)  Dandelion

Some research suggests that dandelion may stimulate the flow of bile, a substance that helps transport toxins away from the liver to be excreted by the body.

In addition, tests on animals indicate that dandelion may guard against liver damage induced by environmental toxins. Dandelion is also used for intestinal bloating and gas, upset stomach, and as a laxative to increase bowel movements. Dandelion greens are eaten in salad, and the roasted root is sometimes used as a coffee substitute.

Find out more about dandelion.

RELATED: Lemon, honey, cayenne, and ginger drink recipe

4)  Artichoke

Laboratory research shows that artichoke contains constituents such as cynarin, luteolin, and chlorogenic acid, antioxidant substances shown to increase the flow of bile. Often touted for its toxin-fighting effects, artichoke is also lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Read more about artichoke.

5)  Senna

After the overindulgence, some people turn to senna tea to help cleanse their system and stimulate weight loss. A natural product typically made from the leaves of the senna plant, senna tea is also widely used as a constipation remedy.

Senna contains compounds called anthraquinones, which are powerful laxatives. Although a number of studies suggest that senna may help alleviate constipation, there is currently a lack of scientific evidence to support any health-related claim for senna tea. What's more, there's some concern that excessive intake of senna may lead to diarrhea and serious health problems (including potassium depletion and electrolyte abnormalities, heart function disorders and liver damage).

Find out more about senna tea.

For a more gentle approach to detox, get the lowdown on a food-based detox diet.   

Using Detox Tea (and Possible Side Effects)

Common detox tea ingredients such as rhubarb (root and leaf), black tea, chicory, dandelion greens, and yerba mate are rich in oxalates -- people with or at risk for kidney stones and those with certain conditions such as chronic kidney disease, gout, and rheumatoid arthritis should avoid an oxalate-rich diet.

Some teas such as green tea, yerba mate, and guarana contain caffeine, which may interfere with sleep and lead to side effects such as anxiety, rapid heart rate, nausea, tremors, restlessness and dependence.

The possible side effects depend on the particular ingredients used in a detox tea. Some may lead to gas, diarrhea, and acne, while others can slow blood clotting and should not be used at least two weeks before or after surgery, by people with blood clotting disorders, and those taking anticoagulant or antiplatelet drugs (such as aspirin, NSAIDS, ibuprofen, or warfarin) and supplements (such as vitamin E, garlic, or gingko). Some ingredients in herbal tea may lower blood glucose levels and should not be combined with diabetes medication.

Teas marketed for detox haven't been tested for safety and keep in mind that the safety of supplements in pregnant women, breastfeeding or nursing mothers, children, and those with medical conditions or who are taking medications has not been established. You can get tips on using supplements here but if you're considering the use of medicinal teas, talk with your primary care provider first. Keep in mind that the need to detoxify from foods and environmental exposure to substances within limits deemed safe is considered controversial.


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Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for advice, diagnosis or treatment by a licensed physician. It is not meant to cover all possible precautions, drug interactions, circumstances or adverse effects. You should seek prompt medical care for any health issues and consult your doctor before using alternative medicine or making a change to your regimen.

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