How Detox Tea Helps to Manage Cholesterol Levels
Published | 9 min read
How could you flush bad cholesterol out? Lifestyle changes are needed, but for a start, add detox tea to your diet to help manage cholesterol levels.
A cup of detox tea has more benefits for you than just soothing you at the end of a stressful day. The world has enjoyed the medical benefits of teas for centuries, and now modern science is catching up. According to a study published by Current Pharmaceutical Design, polyphenols – natural antioxidants found in tea – provide many advantages, including lowering the risk of heart disease, preventing blood clots, and reducing cholesterol levels.
“Many of the herbs used in detox teas have the ability to clear toxins within the body and especially in the blood vessels, thus aiding in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular illnesses such as atherosclerosis and many other cerebrovascular illnesses such as stroke,” says Jolene Chong, a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Physician. “Some are also able to lower blood pressure, improve bowel movement, and build a stronger digestive system thereby reducing lipids absorption in the intestines and aid in weight management.”
Cholesterol is a fat-like substance your body uses to make cells, vitamins, and hormones. The cholesterol in your blood comes from two main sources, your liver – which produces the cholesterol you need – and the food you consume, such as poultry, meat, and dairy products.
In a healthy body, cholesterol is good in moderate amounts. Problems only arise when there’s too much of it. High cholesterol levels can lead to various health issues, making you prone to cardiovascular disease, stroke, and type-2 diabetes. So, it’s essential to keep your cholesterol under control.
There are two different types of cholesterol: good and bad. High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is the “good” type, which absorbs circulating cholesterol in the blood and returns them to the liver for excretion.
The “bad” type is low-density lipoprotein (LDL), which accumulates on your blood vessel’s inner lining and forms plaque. This can eventually narrow your blood vessels, reduce the amount of blood they carry, and increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.
High cholesterol levels attribute to an unhealthy diet and poor lifestyle choices, including a lack of physical activity, being overweight or obese, and smoking or exposure to tobacco smoke.
Foods that are high in saturated fat and trans-fat are generally high in cholesterol. When you consume these foods regularly, your liver will produce more cholesterol than it would normally make. Over time, this will increase cholesterol levels.
Detox Tea and Cholesterol: What’s the Connection?
Research by Current Pharmaceutical Design indicates that tea is rich in polyphenols, which is beneficial for cardiovascular health. Tea is made from the leaves of Camellia sinensis plant. Green tea, non-fermented young tea leaves, contains polyphenol catechins that help reduce cholesterol levels. On the other hand, black tea, fermented green tea, contains polyphenol theaflavins responsible for helping lower blood sugar levels.
However, don’t expect instant results. You need to drink detox tea for a few weeks before you see any improvement. Your metabolism also factors in on how long it takes for the tea to improve your cholesterol.
Detox Tea for Cholesterol
There are many detox tea products in the market, but it’s best to avoid those that are solely marketed for weight loss or slimming purposes only. This is because they send you to the bathroom more often to expel water. Thus, you’re only getting rid of water weight.
Here are some examples of detox teas that could help lower your cholesterol, as well as provide other health benefits.
A red herbal tea, Rooibos tea is made from the fermented leaves of the Aspalathus linearis shrub, which is native to the fynbos of South Africa. The name rooibos means “red bush”. Many in South Africa have used it as a medicinal plant for a long time.
In a 2011 study, after a washout period of two weeks, 40 volunteers consumed six cups of fermented and traditional rooibos daily for six weeks, followed by a control period. People who consumed rooibos tea had elevated antioxidant activity and amount, elevated HDL-cholesterol level and decreased LDL-cholesterol level.
Rooibos tea recipe:
- Pour 230 ml of boiling water into a teapot and add your tea bag or a heaped teaspoon of tea leaves.
- Let the tea steep for at least five minutes.
- You can drink the tea plain or add milk, sugar, or honey to taste.
Green tea is one of the least processed teas and does not undergo the withering and oxidation process used to produce black tea and Oolong tea. It originated in China but is now grown and produced in other parts of East Asia. A study in 2020 shows that green tea has the potential to lower LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol – with no change in HDL cholesterol or triglycerides.
Green tea recipe:
- Pour 230-300 ml of just-boiled water (wait two minutes after it boils) into a teapot.
- Put one tea bag or a heaped teaspoon of loose-leaf tea into it.
- Let the tea steep for three minutes.
- After three minutes, remove the teabag (or leaves) and enjoy your tea.
Turmeric has been used in India for centuries, added in cooking and Ayurvedic medicines. Curcumin in turmeric is a powerful antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties. In your cooking or for brewing tea, you can use either freshly ground turmeric roots or turmeric powder. Black pepper is often added with turmeric as it helps absorb curcumin.
A study conducted in 2017 shows that turmeric and curcumin may protect patients at risk of cardiovascular disease through improving serum lipid levels. Curcumin may be used as a well-tolerated dietary adjunct to conventional drugs.
Turmeric tea recipe:
- Mix 80 ml raw honey with 2½ tsp of dried turmeric powder or freshly ground turmeric into a paste. Store in a glass bottle.
- Add 1 tsp of the paste into a mug and pour hot (not boiling) water. Stir to dissolve the paste.
- You can add a pinch of black pepper, ginger, or a squeeze of lemon juice. Stir to combine, and drink while it’s still warm.
Oolong tea is semi fermented and has similar health benefits as green and black teas. Its production process includes withering the leaves under strong sunlight and oxidation before curling and twisting. Green tea is barely oxidised, while black tea is fully oxidised. However, the oxidation levels in oolong can be from 8% to 80%, entirely depending on how the tea master processed it.
A 2015 study found that long-term drinking of oolong tea contributes to lower blood total cholesterol, triglycerides, and LDL-cholesterol levels.
Oolong tea recipe:
- Boil water and warm up a mug with an infuser.
- Put 2 tsp of oolong tea leaves into the infuser in the mug.
- Pour in hot water, steep for five seconds, and discard the water.
- Pour hot water into the mug again and cover.
- Remove the infuser and drink the tea.
Cassia Seed Tea
The Cassia seed is sweet, bitter and salty. Physician Chong says that it associates with the liver, kidney and large intestine meridians. It aides in the detoxification of the liver, improves eye vision, and promotes bowel movement thereby reducing cholesterol absorption. Note that this is not suitable for anyone with loose stools.
Cassia Seed tea recipe:
- Boil 50g of Cassia seeds with an appropriate amount of water.
- Drink twice or thrice a day.
Danshen Root Green Tea
This root is bitter and relates to the liver and heart meridians. According to Physician Chong, it promotes blood circulation thereby removing phlegm and blood stasis and lowering total blood cholesterol. Note that this herb is not suitable for pregnant women.
Danshen Root Green Tea recipe:
- Mix 9 g of Danshen root with 3 g of green tea leaves in a pot of water.
- Let it simmer in boiling water for 10 minutes.
- Drink regularly throughout the day.
Polygonum is a vine-like herb, and associates with the liver, heart and kidney meridians. Physician Chong says that it boosts functions of the liver and kidneys, dissolves blood impurities in blood vessels, reduces cholesterol absorption, and promotes clearing of cholesterol in the blood through improving bowel movements. However, those with reduced liver functions should avoid this herb.
Polygonum Tea recipe:
- Boil 5 to 15 g of polygonum with an appropriate amount of water.
- Drink twice or thrice a day.
- Avoid spicy foods (e.g., garlic or onions) when drinking this tea.
Alisma is also known as Asian Water Plantain. It is a plant that relates to the kidney and bladder meridians, Physician Chong says. It slows down the breaking down of lipids thereby reducing the components to make cholesterol, dissolves blood impurities, and lowers blood lipids. Alisma also helps to prevent fatty liver and water retention.
Alisma Tea recipe:
- Boil 5 to 10 g of Alisma with an appropriate amount of water.
- Drink twice or thrice a day.
Keeping your cholesterol levels under control is vital for your overall health. To maintain healthy cholesterol levels, you should eat a healthy and balanced meal. In addition, practise an active lifestyle. Healthy eating and physical activity can help lower your cholesterol levels. Also, you could add detox tea into your diet.
- Current Pharmaceutical Design. 2014. Tea and Health: Studies in Humans [Accessed 30 July 2021]
- American Heart Association. 2020. What is Cholesterol? [Accessed 30 July 2021]
- A Spice Perspective. 2020. Lemon Ginger Detox Tea. [Accessed 30 July 2021]
- British Journal of Nutrition. 2014. Reduced risk of dyslipidaemia with oolong tea consumption: a population-based study in southern China. [Accessed 30 July 2021]
- Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 2011. Effects of rooibos (Aspalathus linearis) on oxidative stress and biochemical parameters in adults at risk for cardiovascular disease. [Accessed 30 July 2021]
- Nutrition Journal. 2017. Efficacy and safety of turmeric and curcumin in lowering blood lipid levels in patients with cardiovascular risk factors: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. [Accessed 30 July 2021]
- Nutrition Journal. 2020. Effect of green tea consumption on blood lipids: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. [Accessed 30 July 2021]
- Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity. 2014. Effects of Consumption of Rooibos (Aspalathus linearis) and a Rooibos-Derived Commercial Supplement on Hepatic Tissue Injury by tert-Butyl Hydroperoxide in Wistar Rats. [Accessed 30 July 2021]
- Eu Yan Sang: Herbology. Cassia Seed. [Accessed 30 July 2021]
- MEI Xiao-Dan, CAO Yan-Feng, CHE Yan-Yun, LI Jing, SHANG Zhan-Peng, ZHAO Wen-Jing, QIAO Yan-Jiang, ZHANG Jia-Yu. Danshen: a phytochemical and pharmacological overview [J]. Chin J Nat Med, 2018, 17(1): 59-80
- Eu Yan Sang: Herbology. Danshen Root. [Accessed 30 July 2021]
- Pharmacognosy Research. July-September 2015. Review of clinical studies of Polygonum multiflorum Thunb. and its isolated bioactive compounds. [Accessed 30 July 2021]
- Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2019. Pharmacological Activities of Alisma orientale against Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease and Metabolic Syndrome: Literature Review. [Accessed 30 July 2021]