Can You Swallow Tea Bags?

Can You Swallow Tea Bags? Is It Safe?

There isn’t anyone that hasn’t tasted tea before. Apart from the lovely taste that comes from it, the mere exercise of sipping tea is therapeutic. In the world today, there are a good number of different types of tea, as well as different flavors.

The purpose of drinking tea ranges from weight loss to detoxification to just enjoyment. However, one thing is common for all teas and that is that they all require that you steep them in hot water, this is to extract the flavor and health-promoting compounds from the solids used to make tea.

Globally, the use of tea bags has become a common method for packing and distributing tea. The good thing is you do not have to get your tea powder or leaves out of the tea bags, before steeping them.

You simply steep your tea while it is in the teabag. Attention has been drawn to the various materials that are used to produce the tea bags, leading to the question “can you swallow a tea bag”? If you also have this question in mind, here is all you need to find out on that.

It is not safe to swallow or eat tea bags, this is because tea bags are made of various materials that are chemically produced i.e., food-grade plastic, cotton, filter paper, etc. the process of making tea bags also include the use of various materials that may be harmful to the body such as bleach, glue, microplastic, etc. 

What Are Tea Bags Made Of?

Tea consumers all over the world are familiar with the usage of tea bags to pack their tea, but many are unaware of the materials used in tea bags and how dangerous or safe they are to their health and the environment.

Teabags are created from a variety of basic materials such as paper, nylon, plastics, cotton, and so on. The tea bags’ openings are sealed with sticky compounds like glue.

Normally, these materials are safe for consumers; however, because you must dip these tea bags in hot water to extract the flavor, microplastics form, and many billions of them, as well as bleach, chemicals, and glue, are absorbed into the water as the tea flavor is removed.

It is the ingestion of all of these that is hazardous to your health. As previously stated, plastic bags are made of a variety of materials, each of which has its own set of health risks, which are listed below:

1. Nylon

Nylon is one of the materials used to make plastic bags. Nylon is known to have a high heat resistance level however they are still susceptible to releasing dangerous components into the hot water during the process of making tea.

When this tea is consumed, we take these harmful substances into the body, putting human health at risk.

Tea bags
Photo by Charlotte May on

2. Plastic

Polyethylene is the type of plastic used to make teabags. When compared to other materials such as paper and nylon, plastic tea bags are known to be much larger and capable of holding more tea leaves.

Tea leaves in plastic tea bags are harmless on their own, but when steeped in hot water, they release a large number of plastic particles into the drink. One tea serve releases over 11 billion microplastic particles, according to research.

When these substances enter the digestive system, they become detrimental to the body. Plastic tea bags are not only harmful to human health, but they are also harmful to the environment because they are non-biodegradable.

3. Paper

Paper tea bags may sound safe, when compared to other materials, considering that they are made from wood and trees which are natural products, however they are not.

Paper, unlike plastic, does not add microplastic to your drink, instead, it adds bleach. Bleach comes into contact with your paper tea bag because most of the producers want the tea bags to be as white as possible hence; they take the paper through a bleaching process.

When your paper bag is dipped into water, chemicals such as chlorine and dioxin also accompany and parts of them stay in the water. Some producers are also known to make use of epichlorohydrin to increase the strength of paper tea bags; this substance is toxic and harmful to human health.

Healthier Tea Bag Alternatives

Are there alternatives for tea bags? Yes, there are. However not many are familiar with them and their use. The following are alternatives to tea bags that are healthy for you.

1. Tea Infuser

Aside from using tea bags, using a tea infuser to steep your tea leaves to extract the flavor and health benefits is another common method. You may get a more flavored tea by using a tea infuser.

To use your tea infuser, simply boil some water, add your tea leaves to the infuser, and place the infuser in your preferred cup. Your tea is ready when you pour hot water into the infuser in your cup. For a long-lasting result, keep the infuser clean and dry.

2. Tea Basket Strainer

A tea basket strainer is a type of tea infuser. The strainer is made of mesh or metal, the filtered cup is placed deep down in the teapot, all you have to do is place a loose leaf tea in middle.

This strainer is particularly suitable for tea which may have large leaves or stems.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Teabags Eco-Friendly?

No, tea bags are not eco-friendly. This is because most of the materials used in producing the tea bags are non-biodegradable which means that they are incapable of decomposing by bacteria or other living organisms.

Can I Use Tea Bags For Other Things? 

Yes, tea bags can be used for a lot of things. One of such is the use of tea bags as a popular home remedy for the eyes. Teabags are known to help reduce dark circles, puffiness, or redness. It can also be used for hair purposes, to soothe sunburn, etc.

Final Thoughts 

While tea is one of the most satisfying drinks in the world, tea bags on the other hand is non-consumable and is harmful to human health and the environment.

It is recommended that you make use of other means such as a tea strainer or infuser to steep your tea.

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