Tea has plenty of health benefits, but that doesn’t mean that you can drink just any tea without a second thought. Depending on the tea’s processing method, your current health status, and consumption levels, drinking certain types of tea may be damaging to your overall health.
Read on to discover what health issues you could be brewing up along with your next cup of tea. And if you’re ready to take charge of your health, check out The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now.
“The much-loved tea—considered to have healing properties—contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids, which can lead to severe liver damage,” explains Hiba Batool, a nutritionist and nutrition researcher at Marham.
In fact, according to a 2004 article published in Public Health Nutrition, the paper’s authors noted that “consumption of herbal teas made from comfrey leaves may be ill-advised,” due to the tea’s potential to contribute to liver toxicity.
If you’re drinking peppermint tea on a regular basis, you could be doing inadvertent damage to your health over time.
“Too much can be irritating, and, in large amounts, can be toxic,” explains Celine Beitchman, director of nutrition at the Institute of Culinary Education. “That’s because mint’s active ingredient, menthol, affects (and disrupts) our biological heating and cooling systems.”
That lemon tea in your cabinet could be causing unintended consequences for your oral health, experts say.
“Teas with added lemon flavor have higher levels of lead than other teas,” says Jay Cowin, a registered nutritionist and director of formulations at ASYSTEM. “Liquid and powdered teas are also shown to have higher levels of fluoride and acidity, which can lead to tooth decay and canker sores.”
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While a cup of black tea now and again is unlikely to harm you, sipping black tea throughout the day could be setting you up for some unpleasant side effects.
Since black tea can be high in caffeine, “Drinking too much black tea may cause feelings of anxiety, stress, and restlessness,” explains Allison Gregg, RDN, LD/N, a nutritional consultant at Mom Loves Best.
“Black tea is high in oxalates which for some people can build up in tissues and lead to joint pain or urinary tract and bladder pain,” adds Alicia Galvin, RD and resident dietician for Sovereign Laboratories.
If you’ve got high blood pressure, you might want to rethink that cup of licorice tea.
“Licorice tea can increase blood pressure, so people on blood pressure medications need to be especially careful,” explains Galvin. However, even if you have normal blood pressure, “[you] can have issues if you consume too much licorice tea or teas with licorice in them.” There is one tea that’s even worse than licorice: The Worst Tea You Shouldn’t Ever Drink, According to Dietitians.