Let’s face it… People want fast results when they a specific goal in mind. The quest for instant gratification is very real when it comes to weight loss, of course. Some of the most popular phrases searched for on Google when it comes to weight include “fast weight loss”, “lose 10 lbs in a week”, “quickest way to lose weight” and various similar keyword combinations. You can find many techniques and fad diets to lose weight fast but one particular method is becoming quite popular.
This technique involves the use of laxatives and diuretics (which make the body shed water) in tea to shed as much “weight” as possible. For the most part you are shedding water and diarrhea. My issue with this is that many people think they are just drinking herbal tea and are unaware of what is really in the blends they are consuming. As consumers, we have to know what we are consuming…we have to be responsible. I want to just shed some light on the most common laxative in these teas…Senna.
What is Senna Tea?
One very popular type of herbal laxative is can be found in many stores in the tea and coffee aisle as well as the health and medicine aisle. Senna is a laxative produced from the pods and leaves of a Cassia tree that have been dried. While it is primarily used to treat constipation, senna teas are also used for conditions like irritable bowel syndrome.
Since the senna laxative is very effective and natural many people choose to use it as a type of detox tea when having digestive issues. This tea should only be used temporarily (for 1-3 days. Unfortunately people have been using this beverage for weight loss for much longer time and it can potentially cause some serious health problems.
Dangers of Senna Tea
Senna tea is not FDA certified or regulated as a supplement but is usually considered to be safe for limited use by most doctors for constipation or other bowel problems under physician supervision. The dangers of this tea arise when people incorrectly drink the beverage to lose weight or detox their body.
It is vitally important to keep in mind that drinking senna tea for a few days to treat a bout of constipation is usually fine but drinking it for a week or two can lead to problems. Here are a few side effects of improper or prolonged consumption of Senna:
Dehydration is easily one of the most common side effects of senna tea, or the prolonged use of any laxative. Just like all laxatives, senna tea flushes toxins from the body but also dries out the body in the process because bodily fluid is released as well. People often make the mistake of drinking a lot of this tea believing that they are getting water from the tea itself. When drinking senna tea you must greatly increase your water consumption to compensate.
- Headaches or Migraines
A second very common side effect of senna is a headache, which may become a migraine. This is often a secondary symptom of dehydration and can be quite painful. If you’ve been drinking senna tea and begin to get a headache you should drink more water and stop consuming the tea.
- Allergic Reaction
While having an allergic reaction isn’t a common side effect, it can be a very dangerous one. Allergic reactions to senna can present itself in a number of ways but typically the person will experience itchiness, hives, swollen mouth and difficulty breathing. Senna is an herbal supplement which can make it very difficult to guess whether you’ll have a reaction or not if you’ve not taken it in the past. It does seem that most people who experience such a reaction are those that drink too much, too often… for too long.
- Stomach Cramps
Stomach cramps and other types of abdominal pain can happen in conjunction with these other symptoms. Senna tea’s laxative effect can cause some mild discomfort all the way to severe pain that can result in a visit to your doctor. This is common with any laxative that is taken more than what is typically suggested
- Reliance on Laxatives
Drinking senna tea too often can cause serious bowel trouble, one symptom being an inability to go to the bathroom without taking a laxative. This problem may dissipate on its own or you may end up having to see your doctor for help. Also, reliance of laxatives for weight loss can be a form of bulimia (eating disorder) such that you are relieving yourself of each meal instead of throwing it up.
- Organ Failure
Though rare, the ultimate danger of prolonged use of laxative or diuretics like senna tea is organ failure. While there haven’t been many cases of this happening, some cases have involved women who drank some sort of diet/slimming tea daily for weeks in an effort to lose weight. Kidney or liver failure is certainly not worth losing some extra weight. Don’t risk it.
It can be tempting but avoid fad diets and laxative-based drinks when it comes to losing weight. When in doubt do your research because senna is just one ingredient too look out for. Find out what is in the tea before you buy it and do some research online. Really, you don’t need something like this that just provides temporary results. You can kick start your metabolism and weight loss safely just through healthy eating and exercise. Save drinks like senna tea or laxatives for times when you are constipated and then never drink it for longer than a few days.