Many Hollywood and social media celebrities have jumped on the detox tea bandwagon in recent years, but as many people who treat ailments with herbal and holistic remedies know, detox teas have been used for thousands of years throughout the world.
Remedies to cleanse the colon and liver are dated as far back as the ancient Chinese and Roman empires, but some of those same protocols are still popular today.
There are a host of different benefits of regularly consuming detox tea such as improved liver function, weight loss, and improved skin appearance. However, there are some very real negative and potentially serious side effects associated with detox teas, particularly when not taken correctly.
Detox Tea is Making Me Feel Sick (and 5 Other Scary Signs to Watch For)
1. You have flu-like symptoms.
Within the first 12-48 hours, many people report feelings of nausea, gas, bloating, and diarrhea, symptoms very similar to the stomach flu or Irritable Bowel Sydrome (IBS).
These symptoms are likely signs that the body is ridding itself of stored toxins, and are usually resolved within three days of beginning drinking detox teas. However, it is important to monitor these symptoms, particularly if they extend beyond the first 36 hours of the detox.
Prolonged vomiting or diarrhea can lead to dehydration, which can lead to overeating and bad breath, to more serious side effects such as dizziness, headaches, and kidney. If you are experiencing very bad stomach problems, avoid teas that contain senna, which is an herbal laxative and found in some popular brands of detox teas. (1)
Laxatives can cause stomach spasms, making it uncomfortable for some to go about their daily activities. When taken consecutively, coupled with poor nutrition habits, laxative ingredients like can weaken the body, making one susceptible to illnesses.
2. You’re experiencing muscle cramps or spasms more than the usual.
Those who are using detox tea in conjunction with a detox diet and exercise may find themselves a little bit more sore than normal, not realizing that it could be due to dehydration. Even mild symptoms of dehydration are a concern, as it is important to maintain healthy levels of electrolytes and potassium regardless if one is detoxing or not.
Sweating and diarrhea can lead to lower than needed levels of these nutrients, and extreme levels can lead to heart problems and muscle spasms. Don’t ignore your body’s aches and pains, particularly while drinking detox tea. (2)
Electrolyte imbalance can wreak havoc on your system, making it very hard for the body to function normally. Athletes should exercise caution when doing detoxes to avoid dips in performance due to muscle weakness or an inability to contract their muscles.
3. You have trouble sleeping, and when you do fall asleep, sleep quality is poor.
Detox teas contain a variety of different ingredients that can get you ready for the day or help you get to sleep at night. However, you should be mindful if you find your mind racing and your body unable to sleep at night or if you find yourself dragging through the day, as this can mean a couple of different things.
Detox teas generally contain caffeine or stimulants such as guarana, which for those who are sensitive to caffeine, can cause major sleeping problems at night. If you are experiencing trouble sleeping, make sure to use caffeine and other stimulant-free detox teas or do not consume any caffeine for at least six hours before going to bed.
Likewise, it is important to pay attention if during your detox tea usage you struggle to stay awake, as this can be an indication that you are not getting enough vitamins, nutrients, and calories, which again, can stall the weight loss process. (4)
4. You have low energy levels and feel sluggish or tired all the time.
If you go on a tea detox and neglect to fuel your body with the proper detox diet foods to complement it, you will notice the body compensate for the lack of fuel in several ways. This is called adaptation, and it is a line of defense against starvation and eventually, death. The body is smart; it adjusts to the lack of food by shutting down unnecessary body processes, and it also auto-regulates your non-exercise activity (NEAT) to conserve energy, so sluggishness and chronic fatigue are signs that your body is starving.
Make sure that your body is getting at least the minimum amount of calories it needs to function, also known as your basal metabolic rate. This is the bare minimum you need to survive, and should be the absolutely limit when it comes to dropping your calories for detox, weight loss, or any other reason otherwise.
5. You have heart palpitations and/or tightness in your chest.
Caffeine, guarana, and other stimulants can play an even scarier role in the body, causing a racing heart and difficulty breathing. This is particularly true for those who are on certain types of medications or have preexisting heart conditions such as tachycardia, which is a prolonged elevated heart rate, or arrhythmia, which is an abnormal heart rhythm. (5)
Avoid drinking detox tea around your workout, to ensure that you don’t tax your cardiovascular system to dangerous levels. An already elevated heart rate plus very strenuous exercise could be a recipe for disaster, especially if you have history of cardiovascular disease.
6. Your anxiety is heightened or worsened.
Anxiety can be exacerbated by caffeine and other stimulants, but in some cases, chamomile, which is normally added for its calming and sleep promoting qualities, can play a role in causing high anxiety and distress. If you are allergic to ragweed or plants in the daisy family, be mindful of drinking detox tea containing chamomile, as this can cause an allergic reaction. This is a relatively rare side effect, but still an alarming potential side effect to be aware of. (6)
Certain individuals are more prone to anxiety than others, but that doesn’t mean that you’re completely in the clear. When certain stimulatory ingredients are added to the mix, anyone can feel heightened levels of stress and anxiety.
Avoid mixing detox teas that contain caffeine, guarana, yohimbine, l-tyrosine, green tea extract or green coffee bean, as they can negatively affect your anxiety levels. In some cases, anxiety may even escalate to a panic attack.
How to Use Detox Tea in A Healthy Way
As discussed earlier, detox teas can be healthy for a number of different reasons, particularly for a healthy liver and digestive system, as well as for weight loss. However, it is incredibly important to make sure you are using detox teas correctly to ensure you aren’t harming your body in the process of trying to do good.
It is important to continue to eat a well balanced diet while consuming detox tea, full of vegetables, fruits, and lean proteins such as fish, turkey, and chicken, while avoiding alcohol, sugary drinks, and overly processed foods that contain the toxins that you are trying to remove in the first place. This is where a detox food list comes in very handy.
Additionally, follow the usage instructions for the tea, ensuring that you are only drinking the tea between one and three times per day, and that you let your body rest for at least one week in between courses. For maximum weight loss, utilize cardio exercises in conjunction with a balanced diet and detox tea, but make sure you are drinking at least sixty-four ounces of water every day. (7)
Detox teas have a number of different benefits, but it is important to monitor your body for any dramatic or unwanted side effects, as some of them can be mild and simply and inconvenient, whereas others can cause dangerous complications.
As with any detox tea or diet, it is important to be smart about the foods you are consuming, as well as paying attention to any ingredients in the detox tea that may cause negative reactions. It is also important to remember that not all detox teas are created equal, so do your research on popular brands and read reviews to see which detox tea will work best for you.