Detox teas claim to contain various herbs responsible for enhancing the body's ability to eliminate toxins. These teas feature herbal formulas that target certain organs associated with removing wastes from the body such as the liver, kidneys and digestive system.
The use of a detox tea, or any detox product, remains controversial. Therefore, the buyer of such products needs to remain vigilant.
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Depending on the herbal combinations, detox teas appear to affect certain organs of the body. Milk Thistle (Cardus marianus), for example, possibly rejuvenates the liver, increasing production of bile to breakdown fats.
Conversely, any herb can negatively affect the organs, resulting in Canada established an advisory committee that informs, bans and recommends the use of herbs. Currently, the FDA does not regulate herbs. However, The Herb Research Foundation, at the request of the American Herbal Products Association, started to research more than 200 commercial herbs to determine their safety.
Scientists, toxicologists and dietitians, in association with the British charity, Sense About Science, submitted a 16-page report that criticized the use of detox products as a waste of time and money. Dr. John Emsley, a chemical scientist, stresses that without added help, the body can efficiently eliminate toxins.
Nevertheless, Mark Blumenthal, executive director of the American Botanical Council, maintains that individuals have safely consumed herbal teas for centuries, and often received beneficial results.
According to National Center for Complementary Alternative Medicine, most known herbs included in detox teas generally appear safe when taken in proper quantities. Dandelion, one of the main detox herbs, occasionally results in an upset stomach and diarrhea, and needs to be avoided if you suffer from an inflamed or infected gallbladder or blocked bile ducts. Other detox tea formulas include Milk Thistle and Burdock, both reporting few and often mild side effects. Concerning Milk Thistle, individuals occasionally experience stomach upset, headaches, joint pain, impotence and skin rashes. With Burdock, some report drowsiness and a slowed heart rate. The FDA warns of rare incidents of individuals experiencing extreme distress after drinking a tea that contains Chamomile. However, most of these incidents were caused by an allergic reaction. Be aware of any allergies, especially associated with ragweed and other plants of the daisy family.
If consumed in reasonable amounts, major commercially packaged herbal teas remain safe, according to herbalists, with few reported serious reactions. However, you should never consume these products in excess. Chemist Sam Page warns about mixing your own herbal tea formulas or including your own home grown herbs without expert knowledge of the possible effects.
Christine Gerbstadt, MD, RD, CSSD, CDE, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, cautions about using any detox product that results in massive fluid loss. This can upset your delicate fluid and electrolyte balance and can lead to stomach distress, headaches, fatigue, irritability and possibly dehydration. A cleansing process should help you feel stronger and increase your energy, not cause you to lay in bed sick.