Ballerina Tea Benefits and Side Effects

Ballerina tea

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

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Ballerina tea, also known as 3 Ballerina Tea, is a drink made from malva verticillata and cassia angustifolia. The tea is widely rumored to help with weight loss and weight maintenance. But people who drink the tea may suffer uncomfortable side effects. Scientific studies do not support the benefits of ballerina tea or its use as a health or weight loss aid.

What Is Ballerina Tea?

Ballerina tea is not made from tea leaves, as you might suspect. This warm drink is usually a blend of two powerful ingredients: malva verticillata and cassia angustifolia. Each Chinese herbal ingredient contributes to the effects of ballerina tea in a different way. 

  • Malva verticillata (Chinese mallow). Both leaves and seeds of this herbal plant (grown in China, and also in Africa, Europe, North America) are edible. Seeds of the plant may be used in diuretic products to increase urine production and reduce water retention. Chinese mallow might also be used as a laxative to relieve constipation or to treat kidney disorders. Some women also use this herbal product to stimulate the flow of breast milk. Currently, there is no evidence to support the effectiveness or the safety of this product. 
  • Cassia angustifolia (senna). This herbal ingredient comes from a shrub grown in India and China (some varieties are also grown in California). The leaves and the fruit of the plant are harvested to make the ingredient that is used in many commercial laxative products. Senna is an FDA-approved nonprescription laxative. Consumers may use the product to relieve constipation or to clear their bowels before having diagnostic tests (such as a colonoscopy) performed in a medical facility. 

Some popular brands of ballerina tea only list senna as an ingredient. 

Making It

Ballerina tea (or 3 Ballerina Tea) is usually sold in stores and online as a dieter's drink. Consumers use tea bags to create the drink, but the strength of the tea can vary.

Usually, when dieters begin drinking the tea, they pour 2 to 3 cups of water into a cup with one teabag. Users are advised to drink the beverage three times a day after a meal. After a week or so of consuming a drink, they often decrease the amount of water used, eventually using one cup of water with one teabag. 

Health Benefits

You'll find bloggers and some beauty writers promote the benefits of ballerina tea. Some say that it is a powerful weight loss agent that can help you get your dream body by banishing body fat and promoting fitness. Fans of the drink sometimes also say that it can promote digestive health. And others claim that it helps to detox the body and even fight off disease. Unfortunately, these claims are not based on any scientific fact.

While you might lose weight with Ballerina tea, the changes that you see on the scale will happen as a result of lost water weight and the tea's laxative properties. There is no evidence that the tea burns body fat or has any power to increase your metabolism. Once your eating habits and your fluid intake returns to normal, your weight is likely to go back to normal as well. 

On the upside, many devotees of the product point out that it is not a stimulant. There is no caffeine in ballerina tea and it does not contain bitter orange or ephedra—two herbal ingredients that have been used for weight loss and are known to be harmful to the body.

Side Effects

Because the ingredients in Ballerina tea increase bowel movements and urination, you're likely to experience some abdominal discomfort (and inconvenience) when you use the product. Many bloggers suggest that you stay near a bathroom after you drink it. 

Long-term use (more than two weeks) of products containing senna is not advised. Overusing ballerina tea may cause dependence on laxatives or problems with your bowels.

According to The Therapeutic Research Center Natural Medicine's database "long-term use can also change the amount or balance of some chemicals in the blood (electrolytes) that can cause heart function disorders, muscle weakness, liver damage, and other harmful effects."

A Word From Verywell

If you're trying to lose weight, or if you're aiming to slim down quickly for a special event, it can be tempting to use a diuretic or a laxative product like ballerina tea to gain fast results. Unfortunately, however, you may pay a high price. 

Even though senna is approved for use by the FDA, the recommended dose is 17.2 mg daily, not more than 34.4 mg per day. Most packaged ballerina tea products don't provide information about the dose you consume when you drink the tea.

There are safer ways to lose water weight quickly. For most people, losing weight the old-fashioned way—with a healthy diet and regular exercise—is the safest and most effective method for weight loss.

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  • Senna. Medline Plus. The National Institutes of Health, National Library of Medicine.

  • Chinese Mallow. Therapeutic Research Center. Natural Medicines Database.

  • Senna. Therapeutic Research Center. Natural Medicines Database.