The world of diets has seen many trends come and go. One of the most resistant ones has been that of detoxes. Also known as cleanses, these diets are meant to help your body get rid of toxins. If you don’t want to go on a restrictive diet, there are more options available. One of them is herbal teas for detox.
Many claim these drinks have antioxidant properties, boost the immune system, and help your liver, kidneys, and entire body. They are not unfounded claims, but the truth may be a little more complex.
Herbal tea is an ancient remedy. Depending on the plants you use, they can help relieve many ailments and support your body. So, let’s take a look at how you can use teas for detox, what benefits they have, and which ones are the best.
What is a detox?
A detox or a cleanse is a diet aimed at flushing out toxins from your body. It’s usually short-term and can be extremely restrictive. Juice cleanses, fasting, or eliminating certain food groups are some of your options.
Do you need a detox? No, you don’t. Your body has two great cleansers: the liver and the kidneys. That said, sometimes, you may feel like they could use some help. A holiday binge could make you think you never want to eat again, and a cleanse will sound very nice.
Unless you have a medical condition, restrictive cleanses are not truly necessary. No, not even after a holiday binge. Listening to your body, drinking water, and eating plenty of veggies and fruits will do the trick.
Herbal teas can be a gentler approach to detoxes. They don’t ask you to cut out all foods, won’t leave you starving, and have few side effects.
Health benefits of detox teas
Herbal teas, regardless of their main purpose, keep your body hydrated. But they can also have other benefits, depending on the plants they’re made of.
- Antioxidant properties. Many herbal teas are great antioxidants. They help neutralize free radicals, boost your immune system, improve cardiovascular health, and even help prevent certain types of cancer.
- Anti-inflammatory effects. Some teas, such as turmeric or ginger, have strong anti-inflammatory properties. They can help ease pain from osteoarthritis, muscle soreness, and other inflammatory conditions.
- Support for digestive health. You can’t talk about a detox and not think of digestion. Detox teas are the perfect remedy for most digestion issues. They help ease bloating, gas, and nausea. They also help the body eliminate toxins and could even reduce your appetite.
- Stress reduction and relaxation. Some herbal teas have adaptogenic properties that help your body cope with stress. Others, like lavender or chamomile, have calming effects, promoting relaxation and improving your sleep.
- They may help with weight loss. By promoting optimal digestion, good sleep, and reduced inflammation, detox teas can be wonderful assistants on your weight loss journey. Combined with a healthy, balanced diet and moderate exercise, their effects will be even stronger.
Best Herbal Teas for Detox
There are hundreds of herbal teas to choose from. And most of them can help your body remove toxins to some extent. Which ones to choose? We selected the 5 teas with the most proven detox effects.
The king of antioxidants and detox teas, green tea contains catechins, which can help your body fight against free radicals and inflammation.
Some even call it “nature’s way of preventing cancer.” While the mechanisms behind cancer may be more complex, the antioxidants in green tea can help your body prevent and fight cell damage.
It also boosts your metabolism, helping your body burn more fat. Plus, green tea is a natural energizer without the jitters, anxiety, or elevated blood pressure that sometimes come with coffee.
You may know dandelion tea for its aid in digestion, but that’s not its only benefit. A study conducted in 2011 showed dandelion root extract can kill melanoma cells with no damage to non-cancerous cells.
Dandelion root is often nicknamed the “liver tonic” as it helps detoxify the liver and offers relief for those who suffer from liver disease.
Holy basil (Tulsi) tea
Holy basil has a long history in Indian medicine, where it was used to treat a wide variety of conditions, from eye disease to ringworms. Studies on animals also suggest holy basil can enhance metabolism, reduce tissue damage, and lower stress levels.
Another study, this time on humans, found that holy basil extract has strong anti-depressant and anti-anxiety properties comparable to those of diazepam and similar drugs.
Nettle is another herb people have used for centuries for its medicinal properties. It is rich in polyphenols and can play an important role in preventing cellular damage and cancer. It can also boost your metabolism, helping you lose weight.
Research suggests it may even improve heart health and can help those struggling with diabetes. In a randomized clinical trial, some patients were given 500 mg capsules of nettle extract every 8 hours for 3 months while others took a placebo. At the end of the study, those who had taken nettle extract had lower fasting glucose levels.
Can you get the same benefits from tea, which has less nettle than the capsules? We can assume the effects won’t be as strong, but it will help.
Milk thistle tea
You can’t talk about detoxes or liver health without mentioning milk thistle. You’ll find it both in capsules and teas, and its most important role is to help cleanse the liver and help it function at its best. This little herb may also be a solution for those struggling with gallbladder issues.
Milk thistle has two compounds—silymarin and silybin. Silymarin is used most often in capsules and other supplements because of its high content of antioxidants. These help fight cell damage and may protect you against different forms of cancer.
Sadly, milk thistle is hard for the body to absorb. That’s why some claim supplements are better than tea, as they give you a higher amount of the herb. Tea may not be the best option if you’re fighting a more serious condition, but it can be a great addition to a detox routine along with other teas and a healthy diet.
How to incorporate detox teas into your routine
Herbal teas can do wonders for your body. But how to use them, and when should you drink them? The first thing to think of is what type of tea you’re drinking. Black and green teas are natural energizers, so drink them during the first half of the day.
Some, such as those meant to promote relaxation and healthy sleep, are best drunk in the evening. Most herbal teas, though, can be drunk throughout the day, between meals.
Precautions and side effects
Herbal teas, like most herbs and supplements, can have side effects. If you’re allergic to the herb, you’ll be allergic to the tea, so look carefully at the ingredients.
This is even more important when you choose a detox blend. Read each ingredient and choose a blend that is safe for you.
Some herbs also require special attention if you’re pregnant or have certain medical conditions. For instance, something as common and innocent as chamomile can interact with blood thinners. Other herbs, like licorice root, may cause digestive issues like stomach pain and diarrhea.
How do you avoid unwanted effects? Moderation is key. Most teas only offer a small dose of each herb, so if you stick to 1-2 cups a day, side effects should be rare.
Talk to a doctor if you have pre-existing conditions or a naturopath if you want to understand how each herb may affect you.
Mainstream diet talk can have you convinced you must do at least an annual cleanse. The truth is you don’t. Your body, specifically your liver and your kidneys, is more than capable of detoxing without you going on a liquid fast.
That being said, herbs can support you in this process. Herbal detox teas are a simple way of staying hydrated while supporting your body. They are high in antioxidants, protecting you from cellular damage, can help you manage blood sugar levels, may reduce your appetite, and improve digestion.
This blog post does not provide health or medical advice. This blog post is for informational and educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional health or medical advice. Before taking any actions based upon such information, we encourage you to consult with the appropriate medical and healthcare professionals. We do not provide any kind of health or medical advice. The use or reliance of any information contained on this blog is solely at your own risk.