The Youthful Body

Is Your Tea Healthy or Toxic?

For many of us, tea is a daily habit, it is sacred and promotes good health. Many tea varieties can aid our digestion, metabolism and help prevent disease.  Tea drinking dates back for thousands of years as Chinese royalty drank this liquid for good health. The process for preparation then was very similar to how […]

For many of us, tea is a daily habit, it is sacred and promotes good health. Many tea varieties can aid our digestion, metabolism and help prevent disease.  Tea drinking dates back for thousands of years as Chinese royalty drank this liquid for good health. The process for preparation then was very similar to how we do it now: the leaves of the tea plant, Camellia sinensis in either in powder or loose leaves were placed in warm water and left to infuse.

Sounds pretty simple, right? Modern day tea though,  is not as similar as the health giving brews of the ancients. Modern tea bags are filled with pesticides, toxins, artificial ingredients, added flavors and GMOs.

All of the modern day teas are conveniently placed in small easy to use bags. Bad news is—most of them are not washed before being packed. When steeped in hot water these toxins go directly onto your cup of hot brew.

The natural Flavor Hoax

“Natural Flavors”.    Ever wonder what that really means?  Mostly,  nothing.  It just means that Tea companies are hiding the inferiority of their product from consumers.  They want us to think that we are buying something clean and pure but actually, we are not! As what Ahmed Rahman of Numi Tea said, “You can breakdown anything that is found in nature and if it ends up tasting like the flavor you wish to use – you can add it to any product and call it NATURAL FLAVOR on the ingredient label. It could come from a stone in the ground and you’d never know.”


  •  Trader Joe’s Black Mango Tea- Black Tea with natural mango flavour and others contains the soy product, Lecithin including blackberry leaves, Cladual petals and hibiscus. I don’t understand this sentence
  • Teavana Earl Grey White: White tea, marigold petals with artificial flavoring
  • Lipton Black Tea Vanilla Caramel: Black tea with caramel powder, modified corn starch and natural flavoring
  • Celestial Seasoning Group Herbal Tea: Chamonile, natural grape flavor with added natural flavors, lemongrass, tila flowers, spearmint, natural sweetener (a stevia extract, soy lecithin), blackberry leaves, orange blossoms, hawthorn, Vitamin C (in the form of ascorbic acid), including rosebuds.
  • Bigelow Perfectly Peach- Perfect peach is composed of rose hips, hibicscus, peaches, natural and artificial peach flavour – in the form of soy lecithin- , spices, orange and lemon peels, apples , strawberry leaves and roasted chicory.
  • Tazo Zen Green Tea: Green teas, Lemon Verbena Leaves, Spearmint leaves, lemongrass and natural flavors
  • Tea Forte Crimson Nectar Tea: Hibiscus, Rosehip, Apple Pieces, Orange Peels, Cinnamon, and Natural Flavoring.
  • Twining’s Chai Tea- Black Tea, Natural Chai, Cinnamon and Ginger flavoring with other natural flavors, cardamom, and clove.

Many tea brands think they can get away with the “natural flavors”. You may think you are purchasing better products but the truth is they are just covering for the low-quality and poor taste of their tea. If your tea is really a superior blend then you definitely do not need to jazz it up with a host of artificial ingredients and flavors.

 Plastic and paper tea bags

Plastic is plastic.  Even if you call it biodegradable.  It will always be harmful to our body because it is not natural!  Some tea bags unfortunately are made from these so called “food grade nylon or polyethylene terephthalate (PET)”.   Even if they say that it is safe enough to soak your plastic tea bags in HOT water, be wary!  Molecules from these materials can still break down and leach out especially when exposed to boiling liquid.  Well, we only steep tea in hot water.  What does that mean now?

Paper tea bags are also very risky.  Most paper tea bags are treated with epichlorohydrin, a material also used for epoxy (super glue) AND pesticides! What’s more, it is known to be a cause for cancer in animals, infertility and suppressed immune function.

Beware of the Tea

  • Lipton contains the pesticide Bifenthrin, which affects hormone production in males.  It also contains highly toxic Methomyl, as well as Dicofol and Endosulfan which affects fertility.
  • Celestial Seasonings. A third party analysis done by Glaucus research uncovered 91 percent of Celestial Seasonings’ tea tested positive for pesticides residues, which exceed tolerable U.S. limits.
  • Sleepytime Kids Goodnight Grape Herbal tea for example had 0.26 ppm of propachlor, a noted carcinogen based on California’s Proposition 65.  Another tea brand, the “Wellness” tea also had traces of propargite, a carcinogenic and developmental disorder causing toxin.
  • Tevana: studies have shown that ested positive for pesticides. One tea variety, “Monkey Picked Oolong” had 23 pesticides. 77 percent of their teas would fail the EU importation standards and be banned for entry. In addition, 62 percent of their tea blends were found positive for endosulfan.  Endosulfan is a banned pesticide in 144 countries including the U.S., EU and China, since it contains substances that impair fertility and affect babies in the womb.

We should all take note that: The Hain Celestail Group has been sued in class action for mislabelling their tea as “100% natural”. This case is still active in California court. The Eurofin research credibility is also still on trial as of May 2014.

In a Greenpeace report, it states that there are Tea companies with productions in China that are very lax in their policy on agrochemicals.  They found that in 18 tea products  from 9 Tea companies, they could detect at least 3 pesticide chemicals in all the samples. The author of this report recommended to purchase only certified organic tea to avoid pesticides. They also strongly urge Tea companies to reassess their policies and ban the use of highly toxic chemicals in all their products.

We are all fortunate enough to have brands that are putting their foot down on these so-called natural flavors. They all use real and natural ingredients.

Bagged organic tea.

These Teas are pesticide and epichlorohydrin free.

  • Numi Tea.  Pesticide free and non GMO verified.  Bags are made from manila hemp cellulose and tags from soy based inks and 100% recycled materials.
  • Rishi Tea. Bags are made from corn-potato starch without any glue or binding agent.
  • EDEN Organic. Bags are made from oxygen washed  manila fibers with no whitening agents .  100 % cotton strings and absolutely no glue, plastics or staples used.
  • Organic Stash. No bleach used in their white tea bags.  It is made from 100% cellulose fibers.
  • Choice Organic Teas. 100% organic teas
  • Two Leaves Organic Teas. Tea sachets made from cornstarch based nylon.
  • Organic Tazo. No epichlohydrin in tea bags (verified by their manufacturer)
  • Organic Traditional Medicinals.  Unbleached tea bags made from abaca (manila hemp); string made from raw cotton.
  • Organic Yogi Teas. Bags made from high quality manila hemp fibers and wood pulp.  Oxygen bleaching process free from all chemicals.

Bagged conventional tea.

  •  Tetley Black & Green tea.  Uses Perflo paper bags and is pesticide free.
  • Loose organic tea. Strain your own tea!  This way assures you of its purity and saves you cash as you’ll get more value for money.  Use a good to-go strainer like VALERY for easy straining.
  • Teanzo 1856. According to their founder, they only use natural and organic ingredients for their products.
  • California Tea House. USDA certified organic.  Free from pesticides and artificial flavors.
  • Upton Tea Imports. Uses high grade organic tea. (use the “search” box to find the organic blends).

And that’s Safe-Tea.

 Now here are some brewing tips for the perfect cup of Tea…

  1.  Select organic non-GMO teas like my favorites Numi, Traditinal Medicinals and Rishi loose leaf tea.
  2. Verify and check the ingredients at the back of the package. Look out for no added flavors, GMO ingredients such as Soy lecithin and cornstarch.
  3. Watch out for the packaging of your tea brands or you can buy loose leaf teas and select glass or stainless steel metal strainers. Verify with the company or dealer that there is no epichlorophydrin and no plastic tea bags are used. For now only Numi and Medicinal Traditinals have publicly stated that they do not use harmful packaging, GMOS and are verified for Non-GMO projects.
  4. Watch out when you are eating out. Restaurants love to use the top brands that are pesticide ridden and use harmful packaging such as Celestial Seasonings, Lipton, Bigelow. To be on the safe side bring your own tea and ask for a pot or a cup of boiling water. For iced tea brew at home a carry a insulated bottle with you.
  5. Take note of these temperatures. They will bring the best flavors and health benefits for your tea:
  • A. Black Pu-Reh Teas- Use 212 F or 100°C boiling water, Steep for 3-5 minutes
  • B. White or Green Teas- Use 170-185 F or 76-85°C water, Steep for 2-3 minutes.
  • C. Oolong teas- Use 185-210 F or 85-98°C water, Steep for 4-7 minutes
  • D. Herbal Teas- Use 212 F or 100°C boiling water, Steep 5 minutes or longer for a stronger brew.
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Aude Seynt Martin

Written by Aude Seynt Martin

Aude is an ex corporate Lawyer with a passion for health, self development and independence which lead her to give up her former career to help others through health.

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