While some detox teas may contain normal tea ingredients like tea leaves, others could contain toxic or allergy-triggering substances, including drugs and medications.

People have been trying to rid their bodies of what they believe are toxins for thousands of years.

Some historic “detox” practices include bloodletting, enemas, sweat lodges, fasting, and drinking detoxification teas. These practices were even used as medical treatments up until the early 20th century.

Today, drinking detox teas has become a popular practice for people who wish to clear their bodies of toxins. You may have even seen celebrities drinking them, such as the “Master Cleanse” diet.

Like all dietary supplements, the ingredients in detox teas aren’t regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Recently, some teas and other “detoxifying” weight loss products have been found to contain dangerous drugs and chemicals not advertised on the packaging.

Be sure to speak with your doctor before attempting to use any detox product.

Generally, teas are a widely consumed and generally healthy beverage. Here’s what we know about detox teas and weight loss:


Green tea contains chemicals called catechins that appear to increase the amount of fat burned during exercise.

Research also suggests that certain teas support the production of specific fatty acids in the gut through a reaction between leftover carbohydrates, changes in gut microbiota, and polyphenols. Because of this, some teas may help suppress carbohydrate intake, as well as affect your gut bacteria, which may support weight loss.

However, more research is needed to understand this mechanism, and there’s no direct clinical evidence proving detox tea is a good tool for weight loss.

Recommended with diet and exercise

In addition, detox teas often come with instructions for diet and exercise, in some cases suggesting a period of cleansing of a week or more.

This may include healthy eating and vigorous exercise to rid the body of toxins. For this reason, any weight loss you experience may actually be due to reduced caloric intake and increased exercise rather than the tea itself.


What’s more, detox teas can contain high levels of caffeine, which acts as a diuretic, meaning it can cause temporary water weight loss.

These teas may also have a laxative effect, speeding food through your digestive tract. This can give your abdomen a slimmer, flatter look.

But detox teas don’t cause real or lasting loss of excess fat from the body. Instead, they can dehydrate you.

Some detox teas are harmless mixes of tea leaves no different than regular teas. But others contain additional ingredients that could harm your health. Such ingredients may include:

The ingredients in detox teas are designed to give you energy. They may also send you rushing to the toilet frequently. Emptying your colon and bladder often may result in a small amount of weight loss.

But what you’re losing is mostly water — not toxins. This isn’t a safe and effective way to lose excess weight.

While these teas contain chemicals meant to “speed” you up (like ephedra) and be more active (a better way to lose weight), they can cause dangerous problems, like:

Additional cases of health problems, such as low sodium (electrolyte imbalance) and liver failure, have been reported.

Drug interactions

In addition to the above, detox teas may contain herbs and other substances that can interact with certain prescription and over-the-counter medications you may be taking.

Diarrhea from the detox tea may also decrease the efficacy of your medication, as it rushes through your system without being absorbed.

This is a common concern with hormonal birth control, which must be taken daily in order to be effective.

Other substances in detox teas, such as grapefruit, may magnify the effects of any medications you’re taking and cause serious side effects.

While green tea does have many health benefits, detox teas aren’t a proven weight loss method, what’s more, their ingredient lists aren’t regulated by the FDA. This means a detox tea sold online or in a store could contain possibly dangerous ingredients.

There have been reported cases of drugs, toxins, and other harmful substances found inside detox teas sold in the United States.

In one high-profile case in 2014, investigators found the antidepressant drug fluoxetine (Prozac) inside a Japanese detox tea called Toxin Discharged Tea. This drug can cause serious and life threatening side effects, especially when it’s taken with other medications.

What is a good detox tea to lose belly fat?

While it’s a good idea to avoid teas specifically marketed as detox teas due to the potentially unsafe ingredients, just drinking plain green tea in moderation is actually healthy. There’s research showing that drinking it is associated with a lower risk of abdominal obesity in women.

Read more on the evidence-based benefits of green tea.

Can I make a safe, homemade detox tea?

While there’s no evidence that detox teas work, including for weight loss, making your own safer than buying a branded detox tea because you can control the ingredients.

Here’s how to make a safe and healthy lemon-ginger tea.

Detox teas are a widely sold product marketed to help your body expel toxins. In reality, many detox teas lead to water weight loss by sending you to the bathroom more often.

Detox teas don’t contain regulated ingredients. They may contain powerful herbs, laxatives, high levels of caffeine, medications, and even illegal drugs that can cause severe health problems or even death.

Avoid teas and other products sold for “detox” or weight loss purposes. The best way to stay healthy is to stick to a balanced diet, get plenty of exercise, drink lots of water, and get enough sleep every night.