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Is Tea High In Oxalates? (& Why They Cause Concern)

Herbal teas have many health benefits, but should oxalates be something of concern for tea drinkers? You may be wondering what oxalates even are. Here we will address concerns regarding the question Is Tea High In Oxalates and provide clarity if it is okay for you to drink this comforting beverage.

Is Tea High In Oxalates

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Oxalates are something that some people need to be aware more than others. This depends on how their body is reacting and breaking down oxalates in the body. One often first knows that oxalates are a problem when they begin having problems with kidney stones. These natural compounds are sometimes overlooked but need to be taken into account..

If you have a plentiful supply of Oxalobacter formignes, a gut-residing bacteria, then oxalates will be broken down in the body for energy. However, if you are one who is prone to digestive problems or have underlying issues, then this bacteria may be lacking, causing a greater risk for problems with oxalate intake.

If you think oxalates may be a concern for you, there are tests that can be done to check your body's level of oxalates and bacteria levels. Seeing an experienced physician or knowlegeable professional in this field can help you figure out the best avenue for you and your health.

What are oxalates?

Oxalic acid is a natural compound produced after the metabolic process in both humans and certain plants tissues take place. The oxolic acid binds to plant minerals. When this happens, oxalates are formed. Oxalic acid and oxolates are often interchangeably used.

Oxalates are broken down for energy in humans. However, they also bind to minerals and calcium. After the body uses what it needs, the oxalates travel through the kidneys to be secreted out of the body through the urine. 

These compounds are regulated in plants by the plant's tissues. They regulate plant growth, plant development, food quality and moderate the stressors on the plant's life.

Plant tissues moderate the oxalate levels because too much oxalate can be harmful to the plant, just as it can be to humans. These compounds are sometimes notes as an antinutrient because they can deplete calcium and mineral levels.

Related Post:  Best Teas for Histamine Intolerance

What is the concern about oxalates?

As stated above, gut bacteria can affect the amount of oxalate a person is able to break down. When a person has high level of oxalates, a couple different problems occur.

  • Firstly, calcium and mineral levels may be lowered. This is due to oxalates binding to calcium and minerals in the body making them not able to be absorbed properly by the body.
  • Secondly, crystals can form when oxalates are not able to be secreted properly from the body.

Let's address the first concern quickly. I am sure it is obvious to many that proper calcium and mineral levels are important for the body to best function. Low levels can affect emotional, mental, and physical health.

When the oxalate binds to the calcium, a calcium oxalate forms. This crystalization of calcium oxalates cause health problems and one of the most common types of kidney stones.

This formation of kidney stones can cause pain until they are able to be passed by the body. Often times when chronic kidney stones occur, a doctor checks to see if the person has a high oxalate content.

A person can moderate their food intake to include foods with lower oxalate levels if they are at high risk for kidney issues. Additionally, the intake of lot of fluids is highly recommended and helpful to keep the body hydrated to help out the kidneys.

Is tea high in oxalates?

When talking about the amount of oxalates in tea, one needs to consider a multitude of factors. These factors include the type of tea, the form of tea, brewing time, dilution, and production quality.

According to studies and findings, oxalate content can vary quite a bit in tea. Surprisingly, however, the main findings indicate that most teas do not contain a high enough content of oxalates to pose problems. 

These findings seem to be factoring in the fact that most people will not be consuming high amounts of tea and eating a high amount of oxalate foods. Recent studies do indicate that the tea's oxalate content is minimal in comparison to those found in other plant foods such as leafy vegetables..

Although this is the case, factors will vary according to the individual. For the person who wants to eat foods that contain a substantial amount of oxalates, they may want to take into account the type of tea they consume. The list of high versus low oxalate teas are listed below.

Therefore, the individuals susceptible to high levels of oxalates will want to factor in the type of foods they consume, and if they are willing to consume less high oxalate foods for a cup of tea or two.

If one has adapted a low oxalate diet, they may want to consider drinking warm water squeezed with lemon as an alternative because lemons have citric acid which help fight against the formation of these stones.

What else to consider?

Tea comes in prepackaged tea bags and in loose form. Loose leaf teas typically come sold in bulk form as a certain type of tea. However, sometimes there is an mix of berries and teas which can add to the oxalate levels of the tea.

It is preferred for one to purchase teas that are packaged in unbleached tea bags or in loose form to avoid the chemicals in some tea bags. These types of bags will add harsh chemicals such as plastics and bleach that can cause additional harm to the kidneys.

teas Higher in Oxalates

Teas from the camellia sinensis plants have higher concentrations of oxalate than some others. These teas include:

  • White Teas
  • Green Tea
  • Oolong Teas
  • Black Tea

The oxalate content of black tea was higher than in the other teas from this plant. According to the Kidney Nutrition Institute, the soluble oxalates contents of black tea were higher the longer it was left to brew. They suggest drinking the tea with milk in order to offset the calium and oxalates binding in the urinary tract.

teas Lower in Oxalates

These tea have lower levels of oxalates that are generally safer to drink for those looking to consume lower oxalate amounts.

  • Ginseng
  • Chamomile
  • Ginger
  • Peppermint
  • Rooibos
  • Orange Blossom
  • Hibiscus

One should consult a doctor or physician in order to know if oxalates are problem for them. Testing can be done as well to see if oxalate levels are in the normal range.

This post gave you a thorough overview answering the question is tea high in oxalates, and if so, why this is a concern for some people.


  1. https://www.chhs.colostate.edu/krnc/monthly-blog/should-i-be-avoiding-oxalates/
  2. Noonan SC, Savage GP. Oxalate content of foods and its effect on humans. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 1999 Mar;8(1):64-74. PMID: 24393738.
  3. https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/calcium-oxalate-stone
  4. Lotfi Yagin N, Mahdavi R, Nikniaz Z. Oxalate content of different drinkable dilutions of tea infusions after different brewing times. Health Promot Perspect. 2012 Dec 28;2(2):218-22. doi: 10.5681/hpp.2012.026. PMID: 24688937; PMCID: PMC3963632.
  5. https://kidneynutritioninstitute.org/tea-for-kidney-disease/

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