There are certain events bound to take place over the course of a day. The sun will rise in the east, set in the west, and between that time, at least five of the celebrities you follow on Instagram will post a photo promoting LyfeTea, FitTea, BooTea, or any other Insta-famous detox blend. After scrolling past the millionth #teaselfie flooding our feed, we couldn't help but be just a little intrigued... Do they actually work?
User reviews are a mixed bag, so we asked Frank Lipman, M.D. physician and founder of Eleven Eleven Wellness Center, to debunk the myths, and discuss whether or not they're worth it. His answer? Yes and no. "While including a nice herbal tea can be a good addition to a comprehensive cleanse, I don't believe in just drinking the tea alone, while still keeping all your other habits as they are, is enough to see any significant detoxification," he explains. "An effective cleanse or detox plan needs to clean out the gut, support proper liver function, and remove foods that are pro-inflammatory."
Meaning, in order for the detox to actually work, you'll need to cut things out like sugar, alcohol, and coffee, and stick to an elimination diet for the duration. Generally speaking, herbal tea blends are safe to consume, especially if they're organic and haven't been exposed to toxins, but there is one ingredient that should be avoided and may be the underlying culprit behind those aforementioned side effects. "I caution against ingredients like senna, a laxative herb, which can cause very uncomfortable cramping and can be habit-forming. I would not recommend drinking that on a regular basis," he says. "Read the whole ingredient list, stay away from senna, and avoid anything that isn't just a clean herbal blend."
If you're eager to kick off your #newyearnewme flow with a cleanse, Lipman recommends choosing one that has been properly designed, such as his 14-day Be Well program, over the trendiest tea to make the popular page. Maybe Lil Wayne and Charlie Puth were onto something—often times, Instagram models are nothing but trouble, especially if they've got a bottle of detox tea strategically-angled into their last selfie.