noordelijk said

Tea and common (or un-common) Allergins

Yes, I am plagued with one of an avid tea drinker’s worst nightmares – allergies! And I can’t figure out what it is! So, there’s gotta be some allergy experts out there!

I was curious to see what other people have for allergies when it comes to common tea ingredients, so please share!

In case anyone would like to help me out to figure out what I am allergic to I’ll give a brief detail of what I think it may be -
It all started with the Vanilla Rooibos tea by Tazo. I took two sips and felt like my throat was about to swell up. This was my first time venturing into a rooibos so I thought it was that, but since then I’ve had other rooibos teas and felt fine.
Other teas that have made my throat very uncomfortable were a few Stash teas such as the acai berry tea and the blueberry tea. Also, a tetley cinnamon spice tea gave me the same reaction as the Vanilla Rooibos did.
Some common ingredients to these teas that may be the culprit are licorice root, blackberry leaves, and artificial flavouring (I say this one especially because I am allergic to aspartame and, knowing that it is an artificial compound, it may be similar to some artificial flavourings).

Thank you in advance to anyone that helps out.

May all of us avid tea-drinkers with tea allergies unite!

21 Replies
Garrett said

I don’t have any allergies to tea things in tea but I always thinks it’s funny when my mom sees my tea. She gets scared for me because she says it looks like grass and who knows where it could have came from. smh . . . lol

noordelijk said

haha your mom and I are the opposite! I think it is so interesting and beautiful that you can take almost anything from the earth, steep it in water, and it becomes a delicious and healthy treat for the body. Nature at its finest! :)

Garrett said

so do I! it amazes me the flavors that can come from something so seemingly simple as a leaf

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I am allergic to any sort of artificial flavoring, and that might be your issue.

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Pithy said

It might be sulphites. They’re a preservative used in dried fruit and are used extensively in flavored teas.

Kaylee said

This is such bad news! My doctor has made sulphites an explicit no-no due to my migraines. I wish tea companies would actually list ingredients instead of generically listing “natural [and/or] artificial flavors.”

Amen! This is one of the main reasons why I stick to straight tea…I have no idea what is put into some of the herbals or fruity teas. The last thing I want to do is be drinking pesticides used on the fruit bits, artificial colorings/flavorings, etc…

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I have issues with red rooibos but not green rooibos, nor any other tea. Red rooibos gives me horrid headaches/migraines – which I suffer from chronically anyway. I believe it is the tannins in the rooibos that causes the issue; the same thing happens when I drink red wine.

My mom is allergic to hibiscus – which is in almost every fruity and herbal-y tea/tisane. It causes her throat to close up, almost like she has a cold.

She also has the same issue with red rooibos that I do, which makes sense, since my migraines are hereditary!

noordelijk said

This is helpful, thanks! I’ll keep my eye on hibiscus as an option.

Teetotaler said

Thank your for all of your comments and insight. I can suffer from fairly severe headaches and over the years have gone through processes of elimination from my diet to figure out the culprits. Just recently I had a delicious seasonal pizza at Real Foods. I ordered the rooibos chai tea for dessert. I felt pretty queasy most of the afternoon and went to bed early with a horrible headache. I woke up the next morning with one of the worst headaches I’ve ever had. I also had the same problem (possibly) with a Teavana tea I was given for Christmas as a gift a couple of years ago. It’s a chai of some sort, but the container is unlabeled. I do ok with the Tazo passion tea (hibiscus-a possible beta blocker) mixed with lemonade, but don’t push it. I think it might be the vasodilators in some teas that may cause the headaches, but I’m not sure. Any ideas? Good luck to all of you with mysterious allergies. Thanks for any comments.

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I am not going to be very much help because I don’t have an answer, but I just wanted to UNITE as someone who has to be careful of tea flavorings- I do not do milk and there are a lot of caramel/chocolate teas out there that slip milk into their ingredients without specifically listing it, so I am the annoying one who always emails companies asking if their products are vegan. :) Hopefully once you find out what you’re allergic to it will be easy to spot in ingredient lists! Good luck! :)

noordelijk said

My boyfriends vegan so I know exactly what that is like! There’s a tea at david’s tea that has little ‘pumpkin candies’ in it that contain milk ingredients…. cool not vegan tea!

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Oh lordy don’t get my started on my tea allergies… I know most people here are likely tired of hearing me gripe about them :)
but since you asked…
I’m slowly learning what works for me and what doesn’t. Earl Grey (Bergamot) and Jasmine Oil turn me right off. I get super nauseous if I push it(been there/done that. NOT a good idea). I have a hard time swallowing the tea, like a lump in my throat… almost as if my body wants to reject it before it’s too late. Also, they don’t taste like what they are supposed to, for me. Jasmine has an eggy sort of flavour, and Bergamot tastes like soil. Certain green teas don’t sit well with me either but to a lesser degree. Jasmine leaves vs the oil seem to be ok in small degrees, say if it’s one ingredient in a blend.
Oh and vanilla additions apparently have the same effect on me, which is a somewhat new development over the last few months. Odd, I can handle it in cakes and such.
Finally, I can’t do coconut shavings. It makes my throat all scratchy.
I hope this info helps! maybe your doctor can help shed some light on the issue. I asked mine but his answer was pretty much: well then don’t drink it if it makes you sick! ha.
Good luck in your tea journey! I hope you figure it out :)

noordelijk said

Oh no that’s awful! All of these things you mentioned are some of my favourite things! Definitely nothing that has aggravated me at all.
That’s really weird that jasmine tastes eggy.

I agree!! but a girl can’t have everything right :P
—I’ve googled it to death and haven’t found anything similar, I find it strange too. It’s sortof an egg tart flavour… not unpleasant in that aspect though.
Ah well, I must be one of a kind!

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Erin said

I’m not going to be any help either, but I hope you figure out what it is! The only thing I’m allergic to is kiwi, which has not been in any tea I’ve seen, so I consider myself very lucky.

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spearmint said

I have multiple food allergies and the only one that I worry about is corn since it can hide in eco packaging, flavoring and many other places. The other ones are easily avoided or not found in tea, even herbals. Flavored teas or teas that are bagged and in sachets can sometimes cause some anxiety on the first try as I don’t know the corn level found in it I will try things that are considered corn light but still know I will have at least a minor reaction, and my corn reaction is usually not the same twice. I have tried the Verdant puerh grown with the corn from the select box a few moths ago after I gave it an extended 40 min rinse with only an itchy tongue but I now save it for the fiance when he gets in a tea mood and I only drink teas flavored with artificial or natural flavorings that I know have been suspended in a corn solution about twice a month due to the “corn light” issue with reactions ranging from a headache to itchy mouth. Plus we also deal with milk ingredients as the guy has a minor milk allergy.

That being said it does sound like the issue is something to do with the flavorings or preservatives. There could also potentially be something in the packaging but that one would be less likley.

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TeaJoy1 said

I have noticed a swelling in my throat when I drink Capital Tea’s “Fountain of Youth.” Then today, I got it terribly when I drank a Smith tea. I think I have a slight allergy to something herbal — so far, my best guess is either rose petals, hibiscus, or maybe lemon myrtle. (I need to start tracking those ingredients more closely, and seeing if other teas with either of those ingredients does the same thing.)

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annez0r said

I don’t know if you have seasonal allergies, but for me that’s where my problems comes from. I have what they call Oral allergy syndrome. It’s a reaction to fruits and veggies that have a similar structure to your seasonal allergies. In my case, I am highly allergic to pollen and birch which as a cross-reaction with : apple, apricot, cherry, kiwi, peach, pear, plum, cantaloupe, honeydrew, orange, tomato, watermelon, carrot, celery, parsley, white potato, swiss chard, peanut, soybean, aniseed, caraway, coriander, fennel, almond and hazelnut.

I had big enough reactions to be scared for my life, I even used an epi pen once. But ! Luckily, right now, I am only allergic to honey and citrus in general. It’s totally new for me. I am 22 years old and just started reacting to those. Yesterday I bought David’s tea new tea of the month to find out that it may have too much citrus for me to tolerate. It’s the first tea in my life that I may have to discard for this reason :( it’s sad because I like it.

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