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'It's a laxative tea': Experts warn about detox tea sweeping social media

Health experts say detox teas are just a new way to market laxatives and can be dangerous.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Detox teas are marketed all over social media as a way to “get fit fast” and the hashtag #DetoxTea has more than 800,000 posts on Instagram.

Celebrities like the Kardashians and Grammy-winning rapper Cardi B have acknowledged they've been paid to promote the dietary supplement to millions of followers. 

Credit: Instagram
Celebrities Khloe Kardashian, Kourtney Kardashian and Kylie Jenner pitch detox teas on Instagram.

Detox teas got even more buzz earlier this year when actress Jameela Jamil, from NBC’s "The Good Place" blasted Khloe Kardashian,  Amber Rose and Cardi B after they posted about taking the products in sponsored ads on Instagram.

There is also a petition on Change.org started by Jamil asking celebrities to stop promoting these teas, and it has gotten more than 240,000 signatures. 

Sen. Richard Blumenthal recently asked the FTC to investigate these products' misleading, celebrity-backed predatory claims that make false promises of healthy weight loss to young adults.

Health experts say the teas are just a new way to market laxatives and they can be extremely dangerous.

“Some can have stimulants, diuretics... all those things can act like medicines that are very harmful to the body,” said OHSU dietician Carol DeFrancesco.

Lizzy Acker, a trending news reporter at the Oregonian and OregonLive, wrote about the teas a few years ago when she was a writer for Willamette Week.

She tried SkinnyMint tea sponsored, at the time, by Kylie Jenner.

The tea arrived from Singapore and the instructions said to drink one tea every morning and another tea every other night.

“They said it would be a 'light' laxative effect... and it was not a light effect, let me say that. I mean, it's a laxative tea. I was like, oh OK, my body is expelling everything inside of it,” said Acker.

Acker felt dehydrated after a few days of drinking the tea and eventually heard back from a doctor who urged her to immediately stop drinking the tea.

“[The doctor said] it's not regulated by the FDA, and it could have so many different things in it,” said Acker.

Ingredients on the label said the nighttime tea includes Senna Leaf, an FDA-approved laxative used to treat constipation and also to clear the bowel. The other ingredients include a blend of herbs including Ginger root, Orange leaf, and Psyllium.

The Food and Drug Administration has not had the authority to review dietary supplement products for safety and effectiveness before they are marketed since the 1990s.

“Nutritional products can be contaminated with things that we don't know about that can be really harmful,” said DeFrancesco.

The dietitian stressed you don't need a tea to detox your body.

“Every time you go to the bathroom you're detoxing, every time you get a good night's sleep, every time you exercise, you're improving your health, you're detoxing,” said DeFrancesco.

KGW News reached out to SkinnyMint, the brand Acker tried, but they never returned our request for comment.