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What Herbs, Teas, & Beverages Can Cause a False Positive UA Test?

author image Natalie Smith
Natalie Smith is a technical writing professor specializing in medical writing localization and food writing. Her work has been published in technical journals, on several prominent cooking and nutrition websites, as well as books and conference proceedings. Smith has won two international research awards for her scholarship in intercultural medical writing, and holds a PhD in technical communication and rhetoric.
What Herbs, Teas, & Beverages Can Cause a False Positive UA Test?
Consuming foods or beverages with poppy seeds can cause a false positive. Photo Credit soleg/iStock/Getty Images

Urinalysis, or UA, tests are typically conducted to screen for illness as well as to check for illegal drugs in your system. Many employers regularly use urinalysis tests to ensure that their employees are clean and sober, which can make the workplace more safe and productive. Some herbs and beverages can cause a false positive in these drug tests because the herbs or ingredients in the beverages are chemically similar to illegal drugs.


Foods that contain hemp are a healthy part of many people's diet. Hemp oil in particular is a healthy oil because it has the highest proportion of essential fatty acids of any oil. Avoid drinking teas that contain hemp or using hemp oil before you take a urine test for drugs. Hemp is made from the marijuana plant, and while hemp products aren't illegal, they can cause you to have a false positive for THC in your urine because they contain low levels of THC.

Poppy Seeds

Many cuisines, such as Indian foods, contain poppy seeds as a seasoning. You are probably familiar with poppy seed muffins, breads and pastries or teas that contain poppy seeds. Consuming foods or teas that contain poppy seeds can cause you to have a false positive test for opiates or codeine. As a result, Amitava Dasgupta, author of "A Health Educator's Guide to Understanding Drugs of Abuse Testing," advises avoiding foods and beverages that contain poppy seeds for at least a week before testing.


Some teas and herbal medicines from overseas may contain coca or trace amounts of cocaine. The amounts may not be enough to have an intoxicating effect, but they can show up on a drug test. Selling products that contain coca is illegal in the United States, but it occasionally shows up in teas and medicines from South America and China. Avoid consuming herbal teas or remedies, especially teas or remedies from overseas, for a week or two before you take a drug test.

Other Precautions

In addition to products containing hemp, poppy seeds or coca, avoid drinking caffeine, soda and over-the-counter cold or flu medications for at least a week before you take a drug test. All of these ingredients may cause problems such as false positives on your drug test. If you are ill, see a physician and get a prescription for your condition rather than treat yourself with an over-the-counter medicines. This way you have documentation of the medicines that you are taking in case your drug test turns out positive.

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