What Does Detox Tea Do? What to Use and Avoid — With Recipes!

July 14th, 2023

By Dr. Edward F. Group

Guest Writer for Wake Up World

It’s no secret that black and herbal teas offer many health benefits.[1] Some people consume teas to detox the body. However, many of these so-called detox teas, particularly those with Senna or Cascara, contain ingredients that act as harsh laxatives and cause more harm than good. On the other hand, certain herbal detox teas contain helpful, body-detoxifying ingredients. How do you know the difference? And what does detox tea do?

Read on to find out more about the two different types of detox teas available and their effects on your body, plus a better solution for detoxification and cleansing.

Why Do People Drink Detox Teas?

When overindulgence has you feeling sluggish, it’s tempting to seek a solution in something simple, like a cup of tea. You may seek out a detox tea after overindulging or just when you want to cleanse your body of toxins and impurities.

Some detox tea products advertise impressive benefits such as losing weight or reducing belly fat quickly and easily. You might have seen high profile celebrities enthusiastically endorsing certain detox teas or supplements. Be wise. Laxative detox teas can’t instantly melt away the previous night’s excesses. Many of these products should be approached with caution.[2]

On the other hand, drinking green tea or other organic, natural teas with detoxifying and healing herbs can be a great habit. People often adopt a tea ritual first thing in the morning, after a meal or just before bed. Just be cautious about which herbs you consume in your tea. Healthy teas should become more of a regular, lifestyle habit rather than a quick laxative fix.

What Kinds of Detox Tea Are There?

Detox teas come in two main kinds: laxative detox teas and herbal detox teas. Know the difference.

Laxative Detox Teas

Detox teas containing Senna or Cascara sagrada are stimulant laxatives. They affect the bowels by causing contractions in the intestines. This can cause pain and discomfort, cramping, and because they may reduce water weight, they can lead to dehydration.[3]

When you consume too much of these herbal products, they can be harmful to the stomach and intestinal tract. They also don’t lead to lasting weight control and have a minimal effect on calorie absorption.[3]

Senna and Cascara can upset the delicate balance of flora and fauna in the gut (your gut microbiome) and may even interfere with the function of the liver.[4]

Herbal Detox Teas

On the other hand, herbal teas made with certain herbal ingredients can help you detoxify your body, as well as reset and rejuvenate your system. These herbal or spice teas are an effective and delicious digestive aid and are much gentler on your system. Some of the best include licorice, lemongrass, ginger, dandelion root, and milk thistle.

In Chinese cultures, people use licorice as a medicinal herb for its powerful ability to deter harmful organisms in the body. It contains nearly 300 health-boosting flavonoids, terpenoids, and more, which help to develop a robust and resilient immune system.[5]

The milk thistle plant, named for a milky substance in the leaves, makes a great natural ingredient in herbal detox tea. Milk thistle supports liver health and detoxification.[6]

Dandelion tea is a great after-meal digestive aid. You can use the roots or the leaves of the plant. Dandelion is a nutrient-packed herb that promotes the proper function of a healthy liver.[7]

Many other herbs help in detoxification but these are just a few of the most effective. You can also try other detox drinks, such as purified water with apple cider vinegar, green juice, or aloe vera juice.

Are All Detox Teas Bad for You?

Some detox teas — not meant as laxatives — can rid the body of toxins, introduce antioxidants to your body, and bring greater health. Some of the best herbal remedies for detoxification can be found in tea form. As mentioned, these include detox teas with licorice, milk thistle, lemongrass, and dandelion leaf. Buy detox teas with these herbs or make your own.

Ancestral Psychic

Be aware that commercially sold Senna or Cascara “detox teas” are too rough on your colon and digestive system. They cause short-term issues like cramping and pain, and long-term effects like staining of the colon (melanosis), cell death, and addiction to the laxative to produce a bowel movement.[2, 8] Avoid these products as they do not rid the body of toxins or encourage safe weight loss.

If you are experiencing mild or occasional constipation, a better option for detoxifying and cleansing the intestinal tract is an oxygenated colon cleanser like Oxy-Powder®. This all-natural magnesium-based product uses the power of oxygen to swiftly clean out a stopped-up intestinal tract — and it works overnight with no cramping or discomfort.

Healthy Detox Tea Recipes

You can easily make your own detoxifying tea with these natural ingredients that help to promote health. Bonus? You don’t get any of the unwanted side effects associated with boxed detox teas.

Lemon & Ginger Tea

Lemon and ginger work together as an excellent digestive after a meal. They can kickstart your day in the right way. Ginger supports your gastrointestinal health and has an anti-inflammatory effect on the body.[9]

Lemon has a pleasant palate-cleansing effect after a meal, as well as having a positive impact on your gut microbiome.[10] Together, they help cleanse your body naturally.


  • Tea kettle or saucepan
  • Tea cup


  • 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger root
  • 1-2 lemon wedges
  • 1 cup of hot water


  1. Boil water in a kettle or saucepan on the stove (avoid the microwave).
  2. Grate fresh ginger into your cup or use a strainer if you prefer a clear tea.
  3. Add lemon wedges.
  4. Steep in boiling water for up to five minutes. Enjoy!

Lemon and Ginger tea recipe

Body Balance Tea

Licorice can help to reduce the symptoms of Candida. Try our delicious recipe for a licorice tea blend to promote yeast balance.


  • Tea kettle or saucepan
  • Tea cup


  • 1 teaspoon licorice root
  • 1 piece cinnamon bark
  • anise seeds
  • 1 slice dried orange peel
  • Raw honey to taste


  1. Boil water in a saucepan or kettle.
  2. Add licorice root, cinnamon bark, anise seeds, and dried orange peel to the boiling water.
  3. Let the ingredients simmer for at least 30 minutes on low heat.
  4. Strain all the ingredients and leave the liquid.
  5. Add raw honey to the liquid tea to taste.
  6. Pour liquid into a cup and enjoy.

Body Balance Tea recipe

Natural Detox Remedies

Looking for other ideas to encourage the elimination of toxins from your body and promote weight loss in a natural way? Here are four great natural detox options.

Try an Elimination Diet

Try an elimination diet, one that removes meat, dairy, gluten, processed foods, and excess sugar — in essence removing toxins from your system. This can also help you to identify foods that don’t agree with you or cause intolerances or sensitivities.

During this time, and beyond, add in lots of organic, whole foods into your diet that actively support your health goals by promoting overall nutrition and wellness. A healthy diet will help you get better nutrition. This boosts your liver function, the body’s own detoxification organ.

Do a Colon Cleanse

A gentle colon cleanse will support the health of your overall digestive system while detoxing your body. If your colon is busy processing toxins and impurities, it doesn’t have the same ability to properly absorb nutrients, which can affect your overall health and wellness.

A safe and gentle organic irrigates the bowels to get you back on track. Our 6-week colon cleanse program helps to relieve digestive issues like bloating and excess gas and discomfort gently and easily. You will feel lighter and have more energy!

Get Moving!

Physical activity naturally improves your health and fitness, helps with weight management, and encourages a slow digestive system to get moving again. Exercise is so good for you that it can even increase your lifespan![11]

Points to Remember

Not all detox teas are the same. The health claims made by many boxed detox tea manufacturers are overblown and unsubstantiated. You won’t lose body fat overnight! Rather, detox teas with Senna or Cascara have a harsh laxative effect on the body and can upset the delicate balance in your digestive system. Instead, look for a gentler overnight option like Oxy-Powder.

If you want something to detoxify and cleanse with, detox teas made with healthy natural ingredients like licorice, lemongrass, ginger root, dandelion, or milk thistle have natural gut health-boosting benefits and can improve your overall digestive wellbeing. You can include these herbs in tea recipes or find them in supplements.

If you want other ways to improve your digestive and colon health and give yourself a boost, try to exercise more, try an elimination diet, or do a colon cleanse. These methods will provide long-term health benefits.

You’ll be feeling lighter and more energetic in no time at all!


  1. Rietveld A, Wiseman S. Antioxidant effects of tea: evidence from human clinical trials. J Nutr. 2003;133(10):3285-3292.
  2. “Detoxes” and “Cleanses”: What You Need To Know. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, National Institutes of Health. 2019. Accessed 8 Apr 2020.
  3. Portalatin M, Winstead N. Medical management of constipation. Clin Colon Rectal Surg. 2012;25(1):12-19.
  4. Kesavarapu K, Kang M, et al. Yogi detox tea: a potential cause of acute liver failure. Case Rep Gastrointest Med. 2017;3540756.
  5. Wang L, Yang R, et al. The antiviral and antimicrobial activities of licorice, a widely-used Chinese herb. Acta Pharm Sin B. 2015;5(4):310-315.
  6. Abenavoli L, Izzo A, et al. Milk thistle (Silybum marianum): A concise overview on its chemistry, pharmacological, and nutraceutical uses in liver diseases. Phytother Res.2018;32(11):2202-2213.
  7. Wirngo FE, et al. The physiological effects of dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) in Type 2 diabetes. Rev Diabet Stud. 2016;13(2-3):113-131.
  8. Klein AV, Kiat H. Detox diets for toxin elimination and weight management: a critical review of the evidence. J Hum Nutr Diet. 2015;28(6):675-686.
  9. Mashhadi N, et al. Anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory effects of ginger in health and physical activity: review of current evidence. Int J Prev Med.2013;4:36-42.
  10. Shimizu C, et al. Effects of lifelong intake of lemon polyphenols on aging and intestinal microbiome in the senescence-accelerated mouse prone 1 (SAMP1). Sci Rep.2019;9(1):3671.
  11. Benefits of Physical Activity. Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 2020. Accessed 8 Apr 2020.

Originally posted at Global Healing and reproduced here with permission. 

About the author:

Dr. Edward F. Group III (DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM) founded Global Healing Center in 1998 with the goal of providing the highest quality natural health information and products. He is world-renowned for his research on the root cause of disease. Under his leadership, Global Healing Center earned recognition as one of the largest natural and organic health resources in the world. Dr. Group is a veteran of the United States Army and has attended both Harvard and MIT business schools. He is a best-selling author and a frequent guest on radio and television programs, documentary films, and in major publications.

Dr. Group centers his philosophy around the understanding that the root cause of disease stems from the accumulation of toxins in the body and is exacerbated by daily exposure to a toxic living environment. He believes it is his personal mission to teach and promote philosophies that produce good health, a clean environment, and positive thinking. This, he believes, can restore happiness and love to the world.

For more, please visit Global Healing Center.

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