As long as you're in good health, your liver and kidneys help your body get rid of all the toxic substances it accumulates from the environment and your diet. These toxins are eliminated through your sweat, urine and feces. Detox teas claim they contain substances that help improve your body's natural ability to detox. Not only is there no evidence to support these claims, according to KidsHealth, but some detox teas contain natural laxatives that may cause stomach upset. Consult your doctor before adding a detox tea to your diet plan.
What's in Detox Teas
Detox teas contain an assortment of herbs. While the ingredients vary depending on the maker of the tea, some herbs commonly found in these teas include dandelion, clover, licorice, burdock root and rhubarb. The tea makers claim that their herbal combinations help stimulate your kidneys and liver, helping them remove waste from your body. Dandelion is often touted as the herb that helps improve liver and kidney function. However, this may be due to its diuretic effects.
While these teas claim to stimulate your liver and kidneys, they may also stimulate your bowels, leading to abdominal pain. Dandelion, for example, not only acts as a diuretic but may also have a laxative effect, according to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. It has caused adverse effects in some people, including mild diarrhea. Rhubarb is also considered a natural laxative. In small doses, rhubarb is considered constipating, says Sloan Kettering, but in large doses the herbal supplement stimulates the gastrointestinal tract and has a laxative effect.
Dangers of Detox Teas
As a diuretic and laxative, detox teas may do more harm than good to some people. Not only can they cause abdominal pain, but they may also lead to dehydration, electrolyte imbalance and bowel function impairment, according to Harvard Medical School. They may also disrupt the healthy bacterial flora in your colon. Pregnant women, teens and anyone with a health condition such as heart disease or diabetes should not drink detox teas, warns KidsHealth.
Healthy Eating for Detoxing
If detoxing is important to you, eat a diet that supports the health of your kidneys and liver without fear it may cause abdominal pain. A healthy detox diet should include mostly nutrient-rich whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and beans, and limit foods high in sugar, preservatives and additives, according to a 2014 article in Today's Dietitian. You should also make sure you drink plenty of water, recommends the Harvard Medical School.
- KidsHealth: Are Detox Diets Safe?
- Yogi: DeTox
- Republic of Tea: Get Clean
- Traditional Medicinals: EveryDay Detox Dandelion
- Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center: Dandelion
- Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center: Rhubarb
- The Harvard Medical School: The Dubious Practice of Detox
- Today's Dietitian: Diet and Detoxification