Can You Drink Too Much Hot Tea?

A hot cup of tea can feel like the answer to everything in life sometimes. From a sore throat to a broken heart, there's nothing like a soothing mug of earl grey or oolong. But is it possible to overdo it on the tea?

It's worth noting the difference between herbal tea and tea made from tea leaves. Despite the name, herbal tea isn't actually true tea, since it's typically made from dried fruits, flowers, spices, and herbs, rather than the Camellia sinensis plant leaves known as tea (via Healthline). Tea leaves can be black, green, or white, and will always contain caffeine. While tea leaves actually have more caffeine than coffee beans, the way they're processed means that you're consuming less caffeine when drinking tea, according to Healthline. Black teas can contain as much as 90mg of caffeine, while green tea can contain up to 45mg and white tea up to 60mg. Herbal teas, on the other hand, contain practically no caffeine.

How too much tea can affect your health

Moderate tea drinking of three to four cups a day is considered okay, but if you're drinking more than that, there could be negative side effects. Tannins in tea, which is what gives it that slightly bitter taste and is also found in wine, might prevent your body from properly absorbing iron when consumed in excess (via Eat This, Not That).

Since tea leaves can absorb toxins like heavy metals from the soil they're grown in, drinking too much tea can lead to excess amounts of toxins in the body. A study published in the Journal of Toxicology found that of the 30 types of tea they tested, all of them contained lead. And the longer the tea steeped, the higher the levels of lead.

A study published in Food Research International found that fluoride levels were high in tea in the United Kingdom. This could lead to teeth damage if consumed in excess amounts. Additionally, when drinking too much tea you're also consuming a high amount of caffeine. Too much caffeine can lead to sleep disruption, heartburn, headaches, and anxiety.