Slimming teas are different from regular teas in that they either contain little or practically none of the tea leaf Camellia sinensis. That’s because slimming teas are herbal preparations that contain any of the following: dried buckthorn, senna, rhubarb root, Hoodia gordonii (an appetite- and thirst-suppressant), ma huang, kola nut, and flavorings like licorice, ginger, or citrus extracts. Different blends of these herbs are packaged, marketed, and sold for their reported ability to speed up metabolism, keep a person feeling full longer, and burn body fat.
So, how can a bunch of leaves do all these things? For starters, herbals are potent, though sometimes not only in things for which they were intended. In slimming teas, different herbal leaves are combined to help the body shed pounds, though not in the way you’d expect. For instance, slimming tea components like kola nut and ma huang—which supposedly help speed up metabolism and burn fat—are actually stimulants. Like coffee (and some are even stronger than coffee), these herbals can make one jittery, fatigued, and restless, all of which can result to weight loss.
Some slimming tea herbals, such as senna, are actually laxatives. They contain compounds that stimulate the colon, encouraging bowel movement. The more of this concoction a person drinks, the higher the chances it will lead to diarrhea. Diarrhea can bring about weight loss, but at the expense of one’s health. It’s bad also in the long run because constant intake of laxatives can cause laxative-dependence.
If they don’t stimulate bowel movement, some herbals act as a diuretic, which means they cause a person to pass water faster. Weight loss does happen in this case; however, it’s just the water-weight that is lost.