Can Herbal Tea Dehydrate You?

Herbal teas have become popular. You can find them in exotic blends, or you can brew your own tea from a specific herb. An herbal tea will have the health effects associated with the herb. For instance, chamomile is a relaxing and calming herb, so a tea made from chamomile may also be calming. Herbs that are diuretic, meaning they induce salt and fluid loss through the urine, may be dehydrating if you do not replace lost fluids. Talk to your doctor before drinking herbal teas with diuretic properties.

Ginger tea may be diuretic. (Image: marucyan/iStock/Getty Images)

Diuretic Herbs

Herbal teas that contain alfalfa, burdock, cornflower, dandelion, dog rose, ginger, hibiscus, holly, horsetail, juniper, larkspur, calendula, corn silk, mate, meadowsweet, olive leaf, parsley, nettle, sweet clover, fennel, uva ursi or winter cherry may be diuretic, according to the "PDR for Herbal Medicines." The amount of fluid loss caused by any of these herbs depends on the concentration of the herb in the tea and how much tea you consume.

Other Herbs that May Contribute to Dehydration

In addition to diuresis, body fluids are lost through vomiting and diarrhea. Commercial herbal teas rarely trigger vomiting, but "dieter's tea," made from senna leaves can cause diarrhea. Other herbs that can cause diarrhea include Cascara sagrada and dried aloe vera. Reduce the amount of herbal tea until it does not cause diarrhea, or discontinue drinking the tea.

Dehydration

Symptoms that you may be dehydrated include excessive thirst, infrequent urination, a dry mouth, dry skin, faintness or dizziness and fatigue. Dehydration is associated with heat stroke in hot weather, and, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, the condition can be life-threatening if you do not replace body fluids.

Precautions

Approximately 60 percent of your body is water, and maintaining adequate body fluids is essential to your health. MedlinePlus.com recommends drinking six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day. If you're drinking a diuretic herbal tea, you may need to drink additional water to stay hydrated. If you experience symptoms of dehydration, consult your doctor promptly.

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