Reviewed by Veena Angle, MBBS, MD and Physician Jolene Chong
Detox Teas To Help You Manage Elevated Cholesterol
Published | 8 min read
Find out how adding detox tea to your diet can help manage cholesterol levels.
Detox teas do more than help you relax from everyday stresses and strains. They detoxify your heart and cardiovascular system, protecting them from the risks associated with elevated LDL cholesterol, such as atherosclerosis, heart attack and blood clots. Plus, the benefits of detox tea keep you feeling younger and stronger. The polyphenols found in teas are natural antioxidants, according to a study published by Current Pharmaceutical Design.
“Many of the herbs used in detox teas have the ability to clear toxins within the body. The blood vessels, too, are detoxed, which helps prevent and treat cardiovascular conditions such as atherosclerosis and cerebrovascular illnesses, such as stroke,” says Jolene Chong, a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) physician from Eu Yan Sang TCM clinic. “Some detox teas are also able to lower blood pressure, improve bowel movements, and build a stronger digestive system. That helps reduce lipid absorption in the intestines and aids in weight management.”
Cholesterol is a fat-like substance (lipid) 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 animal-based foods you consume, such as poultry, meat, eggs and dairy products.
There are several kinds of cholesterol.
HDL, or high-density lipoprotein, is sometimes called “good” cholesterol. It carries cholesterol from other parts of your body back to your liver so that excess cholesterol can be removed from your body.
LDL, or low-density lipoprotein, is tagged as “bad” cholesterol. When LDL levels are elevated, it can eventually narrow your blood vessels, reduce the amount of blood they carry, and increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.
VLDL stands for very low-density lipoprotein and it too contributes to plaque deposits in your arteries, but mainly carries triglycerides. LDL mainly carries cholesterol.
High LDL and VLDL cholesterol levels usually are the result of an unhealthy diet and poor lifestyle choices, including a lack of physical activity, being overweight or obese, and smoking or exposure to tobacco smoke. Elevated LDL can also be an inherited, or familial, trait.
Foods that are high in saturated fat and trans-fat are generally high in cholesterol. When you consume these foods regularly, this will increase your “bad” cholesterol levels.
Benefits of Detox Tea
Tea, made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, is rich in polyphenols. Green tea, made from non-fermented young tea leaves, contains a polyphenol called catechin that helps reduce cholesterol levels. Black tea, made from fermented green tea, contains the polyphenol called theaflavin and its derivatives, known collectively as theaflavins. They are 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.
Tip: 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. They send you to the bathroom more often to expel water and you’re only getting rid of water weight.
Detox Tea for Cholesterol
Here are some examples of detox teas that could help lower your cholesterol and provide other health benefits as well.
A red herbal tea, Rooibos tea is made from the fermented leaves of the Aspalathus linearis shrub, 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 saw their level of HDL cholesterol go up and their LDL-cholesterol level decline.
Rooibos tea recipe:
- Pour 8 ounces 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. It does not undergo the withering and oxidation process used to produce black and Oolong tea. The drink originated in China but is now grown and produced in other parts of East Asia. A 2020 study found that green tea has the potential to lower LDL and total cholesterol levels– with no change in HDL cholesterol or triglycerides.
Green tea recipe:
- Pour 8 to 10 ounces of 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.
A blend of green tea with jasmine tea is the perfect choice for those who prefer a sweeter taste. The fragrant jasmine flower also calms the nerves.
Turmeric has been used in India for centuries, both in cooking and Ayurvedic medicines. Curcumin in turmeric is a powerful antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties. In cooking or in brewed tea, you can use freshly ground turmeric roots or turmeric powder. To aid the absorption of curcumin, you can add black pepper to turmeric.
A study conducted in 2017 shows that turmeric and curcumin may protect patients at risk of cardiovascular disease by improving serum lipid levels. You can also use Curcumin as a well-tolerated dietary adjunct to conventional drugs.
Turmeric tea recipe:
- Combine 2.5 ounces of raw honey with 2½ tsp of dried turmeric powder or freshly ground turmeric; mix 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 to green and black tea. Its production process includes withering the leaves under strong sunlight and oxidation before curling and twisting. Green tea is barely oxidized, while black tea is fully oxidized. However, the oxidation levels in oolong can range from 8% to 80%, depending on how the tea master processed it.
A 2015 study found that long-term drinking of oolong tea contributes to lower blood levels of total cholesterol, triglycerides, and LDL cholesterol.
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 aids 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 1.7 ounces of Cassia seeds with an appropriate amount of water.
- Drink two or three times 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. Do note that this herb is not suitable for pregnant women.
Danshen Root Green Tea recipe:
- Mix a third of an ounce of Danshen root with 3/4 of a teaspoon 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 associated 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 3 to 3.5 teaspoons polygonum with an appropriate amount of water.
- Drink two or three times a day.
- Avoid spicy foods (e.g., garlic or onions) when drinking this tea.
Alisma, or Asian Water Plantain, is a plant that relates to the kidney and bladder meridians, Physician Chong says. It slows the breaking down of lipids, reducing the components to make cholesterol, dissolves blood impurities, and lowers blood lipids. Also, alisma prevents fatty liver and water retention.
Alisma Tea recipe:
- Boil around 3 teaspoons of Alisma with an appropriate amount of water.
- Drink two or three times a day.
Keeping your cholesterol levels under control is vital for your overall health. To maintain healthy cholesterol levels, you should eat a healthy, balanced diet and enjoy an active lifestyle. Healthy eating and physical activity can help lower your cholesterol levels. For an extra boost, add detox tea into your diet.
- Current Pharmaceutical Design. 2014. Tea and Health: Studies in Humans. [Accessed 21 October 2021]
- American Heart Association. 2020. What is Cholesterol? [Accessed 21 October 2021]
- A Spice Perspective. 2020. Lemon Ginger Detox Tea. [Accessed 21 October 2021]
- British Journal of Nutrition. 2014. Reduced risk of dyslipidaemia with oolong tea consumption: a population-based study in southern China. [Accessed 21 October 2021]
- Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 2011. Effects of rooibos (Aspalathus linearis) on oxidative stress and biochemical parameters in adults at risk for cardiovascular disease. [Accessed 21 October 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 21 October 2021]
- Nutrition Journal. 2020. Effect of green tea consumption on blood lipids: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. [Accessed 21 October 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 21 October 2021]
- Eu Yan Sang: Herbology. Cassia Seed. [Accessed 21 October 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 21 October 2021]
- Pharmacognosy Research. July-September 2015. Review of clinical studies of Polygonum multiflorum Thunb. and its isolated bioactive compounds. [Accessed 21 October 2021]
- Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2019. Pharmacological Activities of Alisma orientale against Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease and Metabolic Syndrome: Literature Review. [Accessed 21 October 2021]
- Medline Plus. 2021. Triglycerides. [Accessed 21 October 2021]
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Thanks for sharing. God bless you
I liked the article because it is educative and an eye opener especially on the use of naturally made teas to detoxify the body. But wonder if they can be found in Zimbabwe.
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