Consumer NZ chief executive Sue Chetwin said the teas contained senna, a source of sennosides, which are used to treat constipation.
“These types of products make various claims about weight loss or ‘detoxing’ but they can be little more than laxatives in disguise,” Chetwin said.
Detox claims were also meaningless, she said. “You don’t need to buy a pricey tea to ‘detox’. Your body is already primed to get rid of toxins by itself.”
Companies need consent from Medsafe to advertise or sell products containing senna. However, none of the teas had this approval.
Chetwin said it was concerning companies didn’t appear to be aware of the rules. Senna can lead to liver damage if taken for too long, she said.
The brands found by Consumer NZ included Healtheries Naturally Slim teas, sold at supermarkets; Senna Klenz, promoted as a detox tea and sold at health food stores; Red Seal’s Alpine Lax-A-Tea; and a senna “teatox” advertised by influencer and personal trainer Sera Lilly on her website fat2fitnz.co.nz.
Chetwin advised consumers not to waste money on diet and detox teas. “There’s no good evidence these products provide any benefits and they could even do you harm.”