Does Tea Cause or Treat Kidney Stones? [12 Tea Types Compared]

tea and kidney stones

Drinking tea is good for you right? Well, it may not be as good as you think! And, it may contribute to the formation of kidney stones. But, not all teas share this feature.

And, some teas help you remove kidney stones. So, how do you know which teas are the right ones for you?

Does drinking tea causes kidney stones? Keep reading to find out which ones are safe. And, which ones to avoid if you already have kidney stones.

Table of Contents


What Is Bad About Tea?

Tea is not a bad thing. So, you shouldn’t throw out all your tea bags and loose leaf teas. But, like anything you consume, you should drink some types in moderation.

Some teas contain oxalates. And, you are supposed to stay away from oxalate-rich foods if you are prone to developing kidney stones. But, the amount of oxalates contained in teas depends on different factors.

Oxalates Overview

What are oxalates? Oxalates, or oxalate acid, is present in many types of foods. For most people, eating foods rich in oxalates does not have a serious impact on health.

But, for some of you, oxalate acid may be very detrimental to your health. This is because oxalates decrease the amount of minerals your body can absorb. When consumed, it can be bound with minerals to form composites. This process can take place in kidneys as well as other parts of the body including the colon.

Oxalate acid is present in leafy greens, veggies, fruits, nuts, and seeds. In addition, it is present in teas.

In addition, your body also naturally produces it. Yet, most people who consume foods with oxalates don’t have serious health complications.

However, people who are sensitive to oxalates may not excrete the excess through the urine or stool. And, the oxalate acid may cause minerals to bind together, instead of naturally dissolving or being excreted.

And, when these composites form crystals and stones in the kidneys, this is when the problems begin.

Some common compounds that may form from “oxalate-mineral” binding are iron oxalates or calcium oxalates. And, calcium oxalate kidney stones are one of the most common types. Consequently, doctors may prescribe eliminating oxalate-rich foods from your diet.

But, as the body is the natural source of oxalates, diet correction will unlikely completely prevent kidney stone formation from oxalates. Yet, the combination of reducing your oxalate intake and encouraging more urine production may be helpful.

Tea Comparison Guide

One popular thought is that drinking tea is good for you. And, it is a healthy alternative to other beverages you may reach for. But, all teas are not equal in terms of their characteristics.

And, not knowing which teas can cause or treat kidney stones may worsen your existing condition. In general, if you are oxalate sensitive you need to avoid oxalate consumption.  From this perspective, all herbal teas have oxalate levels that range from non-detectable to 3.00 mg per portion. These low oxalate levels are ideal for people who are sensitive to it.

So, take a look at this ranked tea comparison guide. And, find out if your favorite tea has the potential to cause or treat your kidney stone problem.

Teas That Are Good for You

1. Azul Tea

Azul tea is one of the best teas to drink, especially if you are prone to kidney stones. It’s a great alternative to your typical herbal teas. And, it’s a natural diuretic so it increases the production of urine.

Increasing your body’s urination may help flush out your kidneys and keep them healthy.

Also, Azul tea may help prevent calcium oxalate stones from forming. This is due to the isoflavones found in the Palo Azul plant. It is another preventive perk, even if you don’t have kidney stones.

Additionally, Azul tea naturally modulates urine acid levels. So, it may help with urinary tract sediments and other kidney stone issues. This could make the oxalate acid dissolve into the urine and pass from the body, instead of forming painful deposits.

In contrast, Azul tea has other health benefits as well, like strengthening and maintaining joint health. It may also help detox your body prior to a drug test. Its natural body bolstering and cleansing properties make Azul Tea a highly recommended tea to keep in your kitchen.

2. Green Tea

Green tea is generally a good choice for tea lovers. Aside from its low oxalate content, it may also help your body prevent kidney stones from forming, too.

Calcium oxalate containing stones are one of the most common types of kidney stones. And, it’s the biggest culprit when you consume too many calcium-rich foods. But, there is an extract in green tea that may help with that.

According to researchers, green tea extract changes the shape of calcium oxalate crystals, by bonding to the oxalate. And, consequently, it lowers the risk of these crystals to clump together and eventually form larger stones.

The new shape of calcium oxalate crystals also makes it easier for your body to excrete them through urine. So, green tea helps flush out potentially harmful calcium oxalate before it can cause problems.

3. Goldenrod Tea

Goldenrod tea is another low-oxalate option that also has kidney benefits. Many like to use this tea, along with drinking a lot of water, in an effort to flush out the kidneys and urinary tract.

This “irrigation therapy” is achievable because goldenrod has natural chemicals that increase urine flow.

Because of this diuretic property, goldenrod tea is a good option for anyone suffering from kidney stones or lower urinary tract infections (UTIs). Additionally, goldenrod also contains chemicals that have anti-inflammatory effects. And, this may help with the swelling around the kidneys as wells as UTIs.

4. Citrus Tea

Maybe citrus teas such as lemon or orange are your choice? These teas may be beneficial for you if you are prone to developing kidney stones.

First, like many herbal teas, they are very low in oxalate content. Also, the citrate content from these teas may help prevent stones from forming.

In addition, citrate may break up small stones already present in the kidneys. And, because the stones are broken up, it may be easier for your body to pass them through the urinary tract.

5. Dandelion Tea

Need an herbal tea that may help with your kidney stones? Drinking a cup of dandelion tea may do the trick. This pretty weed may help increase your urination frequency.

This diuretic tea helps flush out your kidneys and may keep your urinary tract healthy.

In addition, it is also low in oxalate content.

6. Oolong Tea

Next, oolong tea is another choice if you want to drink tea with low oxalate levels. The amount of oxalates is relatively low and comparable to drinking green tea in terms of oxalate content.

Oolong tea is a partially fermented tea from the same plant as black tea and green tea. The difference comes from the way the plant is processed.

This is especially evident in the oxalate level, which is very high  in black tea. Yet green tea and oolong are relatively low in comparison with black tea.

Also, it is a good tea alternative for drinkers who want the kick of a stimulant in their drink. Because this tea contains chemicals that act like caffeine. And, it leaves tea drinkers feeling more alert.

7. Peppermint Tea

Is peppermint tea your favorite? If you have kidney stones, you don’t need to cut this from the menu. Peppermint tea is low in oxalates.

This type of tea is commonly used to treat a variety of ailments. From sinus mucous membrane inflammation problems to stomach ailments, peppermint tea is both soothing and healing. And, there is no reason to stop drinking it if you are oxalate-sensitive.

8. Chamomile Tea

Is your favorite chamomile tea safe to drink in case of having renal problems? Since it is a herbal tea, the answer is anticipated to be yes. So, you don’t have to say “goodbye” to the calming effects of chamomile tea.

Although chamomile tea doesn’t have direct benefits to your kidneys, you can still reap the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of this tea. And, the anti-inflammatory properties may help reduce any inflammation by promoting the immune system.

Teas That Are Okay for You

9. Rosehip Tea

Rosehip tea has a variety of benefits, ranging from antioxidant properties to boosting your immunity. There are different reasons to drink this herbal tea.

But, it does contain a moderate amount of oxalates. So, if you are sensitive or already have kidney stones you may want to practice moderation when drinking this tea.

10. Yerba Mate Tea

Additionally, if you enjoy the South American Yerba Mate tea you may want to limit your daily consumption. It, as previous, contains a moderate amount of oxalates. So, despite being a stimulating alternative to coffee, you may rearrange your regime to avoid excess consumption.

11. Black Currant Tea

Lastly, black currants have a moderate amount of oxalates. So, if you enjoy this flavored tea you may want to be careful about how much you drink.

Teas that Are Bad for You

12. Iced Tea/Black Tea

One of the biggest culprits of increased oxalate intake in the tea world is iced tea. As research finds that high-oxalate content may cause kidney stones, that creates a backlash to drinking iced tea.

But, is the iced tea the root of all evil teas? Not necessarily. Probably, iced tea has endured an unfair reputation of being the main drink that contains high oxalate levels. So, it isn’t the “iced” part that is the problem.

Actually, the iced tea is mostly brewed from black tea leaves, which contain a high amount of oxalates.

But, many people wouldn’t drink enough hot black tea daily to contribute to kidney stone formation. Iced tea, on the other hand, is easy to consume.

So, when you chug gallons of iced tea instead of water, you really increase your risk of forming kidney stones.

Oxalates in Black Tea

How much oxalate acid is in black tea? In one study, research data showed that a regular tea drinker would have an intake of between 26.46 and 98.58mg a day from loose black tea and 17.88 to 93.66mg soluble oxalate when using tea bags.

These results are based on drinking six cups of tea a day. In comparison, tea drinkers receive approximately 18mg per day, from herbal teas. So, black tea leaves may strongly contribute to kidney stone formations.

Additionally, this is supported by one case linking renal problems with iced tea. The patient drunk 16 8-ounce glasses of iced tea per day for an unknown period of time. but it was long enough to cause his kidneys to fail.

Also, another study found that oxalate levels may depend on the tea’s brewing time. And, in how much liquid the tea is diluted.

Increasing the brewing time also increases the amount of oxalate acid in the tea. Conversely, increasing the amount of liquid the tea is diffused in, may decrease the oxalate acid.

So, does this mean you should stay away from iced tea and black tea? Not necessarily. If you are sensitive to oxalates or have kidney stones, you may want to restrict drinking tea in general.

However, regular tea drinkers can drink this tea in moderate amounts. And, by controlling the consumption amount, the will avoid suffering serious health consequences.

Final Thoughts

Does tea cause or treat kidney stones? The answer depends on which teas you drink. Teas have gotten a bad reputation recently from the findings that iced tea may increase the likelihood of developing kidney stones.

But, that is not the full story. Drinking one or two glasses of iced tea a day doesn’t automatically relate to the formation of kidney stones. The problem lies in the amount of iced tea consumed a day, not the iced tea itself.

Although black teas, including iced tea, contain very high oxalate levels, drinking restricted amounts won’t have adverse negative effects.

And, there are alternatives if you are a heavy tea drinker. For example, green tea has many beneficial health perks without excess oxalate levels. And, Azul tea is one of the most beneficial herbal teas if you want you drink tea to contribute to your kidney health.

Lastly, moderation is the key factor when drinking teas. But, when in doubt, reach for a tea that may help out, not hurt your kidneys in the long term. There are plenty to choose from, and you may find a new favorite.