I had to go to the doctor after doing a teatox and I’m not the only one

I couldn’t eat without huge amounts of bloating, cramps and then feeling sick

If you have any form of social media, it's almost impossible to escape celebrity advertisement. There are a huge range of teas, pills, sweets among other things that claim to offer you the ‘perfect figure’, and this is a huge market. I’ve always been really sceptical of any of these products, as I think they can actually be really dangerous for impressionable young people.

I came across BooTea on half price in Holland and Barratt, and I thought I’d give it a go. I am not a fool, I knew that drinking these teas combined with ‘a healthy diet plan and some light exercise’ wasn’t going to give me a flat stomach over a fortnight. I wanted to try it though as I was curious to see what it would actually do. Reviews online and on the site I purchased it from claimed it made you go to the loo regularly, but in general left customers feeling quite detoxed and fresh. Perfect.

The idea of the teas is that you get 28 morning teas and 14 night-time teas in a pack. I will spare the gory details, but these are meant to ‘cleanse’ you. I started the night time teas on a Saturday night and then had a morning tea the next day. The night time tea had a kind of liquorice taste and was a weird green colour, and the morning one was a lot lighter in colour and tasted more like what I expected from herbal tea. They did both taste strangely similar, but were actually quite nice. I only managed to have two of the teas, as the effect was almost immediate.

The problems started while eating Sunday lunch, having had my morning tea. I started to feel sick, and a normal portion of food made me feel really stuffed and bloated. For the next few days, proper meals and high fibre food just wasn’t digesting, and causing huge amounts of bloating, cramps and then making me feel queasy.

As well as being in quite a lot of discomfort, and not being able to eat properly, I was really starting to worry about what I had done to cause this. It sounds pathetic but it was actually really upsetting, especially as I was eating really healthily and still feeling this ill. By Wednesday I had to ring the doctor who prescribed me a laxative.

Looking back over my diet and routine in the last few days I realised the only thing that could have caused this was the teas. I decided to google ‘Bootea stomach side effects’ and I almost wish I hadn’t. This revealed article after article of people experiencing the same side effects, and I just wish I had seen these before I drank the tea. Nowhere on BooTea’s or Holland and Barratt’s official website were any of these side effects listed. What’s even worse is that contacting BooTea revealed that the product I bought should not be available, but stockist’s still had a few batches in stock.

As the customer service team at BooTea pointed out, different people react to different things, and there are over eight different herbs in the teas which could produce side effects. Obviously this product works for some people and although it will probably not give you a flat stomach and shed pounds, it has helped some people feel less bloated over the course of the month or fortnight.

For me, it is something I am never going to use again, and I would be really wary of any form of detox in the future. During the week before my body normalised I was in quite a lot of pain, and it was really distressing as I didn’t know what to do to solve it. If you have been tempted to use these teas, my word of warning to you is Google the hell out of it before you do, and just bare in mind that everyone is different and can have really bad side effects to a small amount of a substance.

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Royal Holloway, University of London