But can they really help you lose weight or ferry toxic substances out of your body?
Related: Are Cleanses and Detox Diets Safe?
The idea of a "detox" or "cleansing" tea has been around for quite a few years and doesn't seem to be waning, thanks to celebs like Cardi B, the Kardashian clan, and even Instagram influencers. Not surprisingly, there are a lot of detox and cleansing teas to choose from, many of which promise to charge up your metabolism, shrink your love handles, improve your complexion or [fill in the blank with any long-hoped-for, hard-to-achieve benefit here].
Sounds downright awesome. 🙋
But, reality check … not possible. You see, your body has its own built-in cleanup crew, and the deep cleaners are your kidneys, lungs and liver. Yes, there are some compounds in what we eat and drink that may give the cleanup crew a little extra oomph and support, but you all you need are these built-in cleaners.
However, some elements of detox teas may bring weight-loss benefits.
One common thread is senna. Senna is an FDA-approved laxative that you can buy over-the-counter (aka no prescription needed)—and it's often in weight-loss detox teas. Research shows senna does work as a laxative. Senna fruit is said to be gentler than senna leaf and, as a result, it's recommended that the latter not be used long-term. But because of its laxative properties, it's likely that much of the weight loss benefit you reap from a senna-containing detox tea is thanks to those extra bathroom visits it forces you to make.
Some detox-tea regimens also encourage you to clean up your diet—focus on eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins; limit fat, sugar, salt; and cut out unhealthy processed foods, etc. So that could be another reason you see the numbers on your scale drop with a detox tea.
Detox teas are more often hype than help. But regularly drinking tea has been shown to have a laundry list of health benefits (such as helping to prevent or lower your risk of cancer, diabetes, arthritis and heart disease). So skip over the so-called detox teas and instead choose the real thing—green, black, oolong—for the best benefit.