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Can I drink herbal tea on the Master Cleanse?

The Master Cleanse, also known as the lemonade diet or maple syrup diet, is a liquid-only detox and weight loss program. It involves drinking 6-12 glasses per day of a lemonade-like concoction of lemon juice, maple syrup, cayenne pepper and water for a period of 10 days to 2 weeks. During this time, only the Master Cleanse drink is consumed, along with herbal laxative tea at night and salt water flushes in the morning. So can you drink herbal tea during the Master Cleanse? Let’s take a look at what the protocol allows and why herbal tea fits in.

What is Allowed on the Master Cleanse

The rules of the Master Cleanse are very strict. The only items allowed during the full detox period are:

  • Master Cleanse lemonade drink
  • Herbal laxative tea (at night)
  • Salt water flush (in the morning)
  • Water (for dilution or rinsing)

That’s it! No food, snacks, juices or supplements are permitted. The intention is to give the digestive system a rest while flooding the body with nutrients from the lemonade drink. This combination is supposed to detoxify the body, eliminate waste and lead to rapid weight loss.

Why Herbal Tea is Allowed

The Master Cleanse was designed to provide complete fasting from solid foods while still delivering vitamins, minerals and calories from the lemonade drink. However, creator Stanley Burroughs recognized that drinking only one liquid could get monotonous. He allowed the option of an herbal laxative tea at night to add some variety and keep the bowels moving.

Tea is made from soaked herbs, spices or other plants and contains no calories or nutrients. As long as herbal tea contains no added sweeteners, flavors or supplements, it won’t break the fasted state achieved on the Master Cleanse.

In addition to easing boredom, the benefits of herbal tea on the Master Cleanse include:

  • Adds more flavor and variety
  • Provides hydration from a different source
  • Satisfies the desire to chew or eat something
  • Acts as a mild natural laxative
  • Soothes the digestive tract
  • Contains antioxidants and phytonutrients
  • Boosts energy and mental focus

Herbal teas also come in an endless array of flavors, from fruity and floral to spicy and earthy. Having different options makes the cleanse protocol more interesting.

Recommended Herbal Teas

Any unsweetened, non-flavored herbal tea is permitted during the Master Cleanse detox. However, some choices are better than others for supporting detoxification and weight loss. The best teas include:

Tea Benefits
Dandelion Liver detoxification, diuretic, improves digestion
Peppermint Relieves bloating and gas, curbs hunger
Ginger Reduces nausea, anti-inflammatory
Green Tea Boosts metabolism, antioxidants
Sencha Green Tea More antioxidants than regular green tea
Yerba Mate Natural energy lift, supports fat burning

Dandelion root tea is highly cleansing for the liver, which is the main detox organ. Peppermint is a digestion soother that can reduce cravings. Ginger tea battles inflammation and nausea, which may crop up during fasting. Green tea provides a metabolic boost, while yerba mate gives an energy lift without calories or sugars.

Herbal Tea Preparation Tips

To get the most benefits and flavor from herbal tea during the Master Cleanse:

  • Use loose dried herbs instead of tea bags when possible
  • Steep the tea for 5-10 minutes to fully extract the herbs
  • Try different herb combinations like ginger with peppermint or green tea with lemon
  • Sweeten with a pinch of stevia if needed, but avoid honey, sugar or artificial sweeteners
  • Sip the tea slowly and mindfully
  • Drink 1-3 cups per day as needed for variety

When to Drink the Tea

Herbal tea can be consumed at any time of day during the Master Cleanse detox, but it’s best to drink it in the evening. Reasons to have it at night include:

  • The mild diuretic effects won’t disrupt sleep
  • It provides comfort and satisfaction before bed without extra calories
  • The herbs can help fight hunger and cravings
  • Hot tea promotes relaxation and sleep

Feel free to also have a cup or two during the day if needed for an energy boost or to fight hunger. Just be aware of the diuretic effect and try to avoid drinking right before bedtime.

Stopping the Herbal Tea Before Ending the Cleanse

At the end of the Master Cleanse, you’ll want to slowly ease yourself off the liquid diet and transition back to solid foods. It’s recommended to stop drinking the laxative herbal tea 1-2 days before you plan to start eating again.

This gives your digestive system a chance to activate and be ready for food. Continue drinking the lemonade drink up until you break the fast.


To wrap up, herbal tea is definitely allowed as part of the Master Cleanse detox protocol. It provides a nice change from the lemonade drink and offers a variety of health benefits. Focus on cleansing, detoxifying teas free from sweeteners or flavorings. Drink 1-3 cups per day, ideally in the evening for best results. And be sure to stop the herbal tea 1-2 days before finishing the cleanse and transitioning back to solid food. Enjoying herbal tea makes the Master Cleanse a little more enjoyable and sustainable.