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I'm not much of a coffee or straight tea fan, but I do like something hot to drink in the morning, before bed and, well, at most hours of the day when I'm working! I'm a great believer in the health benefits, as well as the general well-being benefits, of herbal tea, so was intrigued when I saw a box of Dr Stuart Detox Tea in Holland & Barrett. As I've got finals coming up and I'm generally stressed and eating a bit badly at the moment, I like the idea of detoxing at least a bit and trying to improve my skin - so I bought them and got ready to give them a try. The fact that the ingredients sounded absolutely delicious was the clincher for me.
If he's going to put his name on the box, you'd better have a little bit of the back story about Dr Stuart himself, right? There is a real Dr Malcolm Stuart who is apparently "a man of enormous creative energy" and "one of the first highly qualified scientists in recent times to widely support and promote the many beneficial values of the plant kingdom", if we are to believe what his website tells us. It also states, rather suspiciously, that "his worldwide contributions to the subject of 'herbs' have led to him being described as 'the Father of Modern Herbalism'", and apparently he's also involved with making organic tea for the Duchy of Cornwall. So far, so guffy, but what does Dr Stuart actually make? Basically it's a range of tea which does all sorts of different things, from Skin Purify to Throat Relief or Tranquility. He also offers a range of herbal teas, green teas and fruit teas.
So why choose Dr Stuart's Detox Tea? It's supposed to be good for cleansing and refreshing your system and giving you a kick-start; it's a rather heady, not to mention complex, blend of dandelion and burdock, corn silk, milk thistle, bearberry leaves, liquorice, sage, ginger, peppermint, galangal leaves, artichoke leaves and spearmint. Each box contains 20 bags and has some of the best packaging I've ever seen - it's a white square-ish box with "Dr Stuart" and the recurring logo of a pointing hand down one side and with a clever, well-drawn picture of a woman whose skirt opens up like a tea caddy. The effect of the packaging is funky and modern, definitely not what you'd associate with herbal tea!
Getting into the packet is a problem, though, as you have to tear a strip away and it's very difficult to do so without ripping the whole packet. Inside, the teabags are individually sealed in white, Dr Stuart-stamped packets: I'm not sure what I think about this as on the one hand, this is a nice touch and it does mean that you can pop a couple of bags in your bag if you're going out, on the other, what a waste of packaging! I think I'm coming down on the side of convenience, as it has also just occurred to me that it definitely keeps the bags fresher without having to seal them away or be really careful about light getting to them.
The bags themselves are equally well presented, normal bag-sized with a string and a Dr Stuart tag with the pointing hand logo. The bits and pieces inside are clearly visible and gratifyingly, it's possible to spot a good few chunks of this and that, indicating that the ingredients are probably good quality. The back of the box recommends that you brew this tea with fresh water poured over the bag, and then leave it to infuse for 2-5 minutes; it also suggests that you use two bags if you're having it in a mug rather than a cup. Well, I always have mine in a big mug, and if you leave it to really infuse for the full 5 minutes there's no problem with strength of flavour - seems to me that Dr Stuart might like us to use up his tea a bit faster and buy some more!
The smell of this is weird, kind of vegetal yet herby. It's difficult to put your finger on exactly what it does smell of, but it's not particularly nice - kind of dark and not very appetising. I've also noticed that it always, always has an oily kind of scum on the top, no matter how fresh the water, how clean the mug or how long I leave it, so I can only conclude that something in the tea is making a really oily mess on the top. It doesn't taste bad but it does look bad, so be aware. The taste is actually the best thing about it; it's rich and generically herby at first, with a definite dandelion and burdock aniseedy quality, then has a tang of really fresh mint before developing a really rich, round and full aftertaste of liquorice. As a die hard aniseed and liquorice fan, this was like heaven!
And how does it perform in the detox stakes? Actually, it's very good stuff if you drink enough of it - two cups a day for three days and my skin looked much, much better, not just a bit better but noticeably smoother, fewer spots and generally healthier.
They're also not overly expensive - I bought mine for £1.99 in my local Holland & Barrett, which works out at just under 10p per cup. Cheaper than a cup of tea in a cafe and better for you too! I've also seen them in independent health food shops but unfortunately not in any large supermarkets - though this might just be my area so keep an eye out.
Overall, recommended for their fantastic detox ability and strangely moreish taste. Just try to get past the oiliness and the vaguely unpleasant smell - oh, and if you're a liquorice hater, steer clear!
A couple of years ago, my wife and I decided we needed to explore some herbally healthy hot drinks - we felt we were automatically reaching for coffee or tea every time we wanted a drink, or were bored, or got a bit cold. There was a bit of caffeine overload going on, and ultimately, we felt there was too much. However, we didn't want to give up on having a hot drink, and aren't too keen on those acidic fruit teas that are in abundance, so we opted for Dr Stuart's range of herbal remedial teas.
My wife chose 'his' Skin Tea, and I went for this Detox Tea, thinking that a few of these would serve to cleanse and purify my innards, mainly my liver and stomach. On the face of it, this looks to be just the ticket, with a simple yet convincing box that promotes it as being something to 'spruce up your insides', and a naturally caffeine free tea.. Inside the box, there are 20 individually enveloped Detox Teas, each paper envelope with instructions on them as to what to do to make the perfect cup of this 'wonder' tea.
The idea is to leave the bag in the hot water for 5 minutes in order to allow the contents to infuse themselves and release their goodness. Upon doing so, the aromas of some of the ingredients come out: some mint aromas, liquorice and the dandelion and burdock that are in there. It bodes well for the taste and the bodily improvements I was hoping for from this product.
The taste, though, is somewhat different from the smell. I enjoyed the aroma, and it was very calming and soothing, making me think that drinking it would actually make me better straight away. But the taste was quite arresting, and not really in a good way. The first taste mirrors elements of the smell, although the soothing aromas translate into a harsh taste that makes me grimace somewhat. The aftertaste definitely has similar elements, and if anything is a little harsher, perhaps with some of the stronger ingredients coming out, such as the milk-thistle, ginger and sage. Not something that's particularly nice to taste, if I am honest.
Yet all this is surely moot, when you consider that the idea behind it is to cleanse and detox your innards. Does it work? Well, I have this on and off for a couple of years now, and I find that if you have one a day for a bout a week, you do feel somewhat better. I'm not sure whether this is a placebo effect that the tea has on me, or whether it actually does do the job properly, but whatever it is seems to work. The box proclaims the best parts of each of the ingredients are blended together for medicinal purposes, and this is why I tend to think that it's something that works.
Sure, it would be nice if the taste was somewhat better, but you never know whether the inclusion of something more substantial would adversely affect the effects of the tea itself. I shall continue to use this and probably some other Dr Stuart products. They are advertised as 'extraordinarily good teas', which I think may be a step too far, but they're certainly very good, and I'm happy to recommend this one. Don't discount it after just one cup, or you'll be judging it solely on its taste, and this is unlikely to win anyone over. This is not an instant cure, as you have to give the herbs time for their natural properties to take effect. Give it a week or so, and then make your decision. You may as well, as you're unlikely to find them in individual sachets for buying purposes. A box of 20 individually enveloped bags of this herbal tea will cost you around the £2 mark, varying depending on where you buy it, of course. Recommended.
As a lover of quality green tea, chai and good ol' fashioned builder's tea, I am also an occasional dabbler in other herbal drinks. I cannot stomach fruit teas (they are highly acidic, and have more scent than flavour) but I am willing to give anything with liquorice in it a go.
This is not really a tea for those who are unaccustomed to very mild flavoured drinks, as it does not have much flavour at all. Besides liquorice, it contains various detoxifying herbs such as sage, dandelion, burdock, peppermint and spearmint.
The trick is to let it really stew in the hot water - give it at least five minutes, and don't remove the bag even as you drink it. This will maximise the moderate flavour, and also give the herbs a chance to draw out some of their goodness. The liquorice gives it a slight hint of sweetness, and the other minor, recognisable flavours come from the peppermint and spearmint, mild though they are.
Overall, this is one of the nicer-tasting teas of the (often quite scary) "detox" variety, but I would hasten to add, for all you peeps out there who like to try the occasional detox, that there really is no such thing as a quick fix. The body is a very complex organism that has its own clean-up processes that go on, in its own sweet time; it cannot be forced to do a "quick vacuum round the lounge", if you like. While this tea contains herbs that can stimulate the liver, it would take quite a few mugs of the stuff to get any real herbal strength out of it.
Having said that, simply drinking something other than normal tea/ coffee/ beer/ sugar-in-a-can is alone a plus to your health, generally speaking and over time. (Sorry folks, but it would have been better not to get that hang-over in the first place!)
Dr Stuart's - Extraordinarily good teas - or are they...
For those of you who have read a few of my reviews, you'll realise that i'm the sort of person who seeks out food and drink which is said to be good for the body. Usually this is to done so I can feel better about myself after a week of eating junk food and general overindulgence.
Unfortunately, quite a few of the food and drink products which are marketed as being beneficial to the body and mind can taste quite nasty. Therefore, when seeing 'Dr Stuart's Detox Tea' in my local 'Holland and Barratt', I decided to give it a go and hope for the best.
The box is beautifully designed and minimalist. Each tea-bag is individually wrapped in a white sealed envelope - the product reaks of quality as well as potential herbal nastiness.
There are 20 'naturally caffeine free' tea-bags in each packet, and the cost of £1.99 seems a reasonable price to pay.
According to the text on the box, Dr Stuart claims to be a practising medical herbalist who has been making botanical based teas with health-giving properties for more than 20 years.
Well Dr Stuart - if you really exist, I hope your product tastes great after this positive build up that i've given it.
The claim is for a "cleansing herbal infusion with dandelion root, burdock root, peppermint and spearmint to help detoxify the body".
A closer inspection of the ingredients also shows that the product contains Artichoke, Milk-thistle, Sage and Ginger, which does indeed sound like a potent mix!
The blurb on the box's label suggests a brewing time of four to five minutes for each cup - this is apparently the time needed to release all of the valuable 'essential oils' into the water. I initially thought that this seemed like a long brew, but I decided 'what the hell', and went for it.
There are also instructions for Dr Stewarts iced tea, which is made by brewing six tea-bags in one cup, and then adding two honey sweetened cups of chilled mineral water to the mix. Possibly one for the summer then, but probably not my cup of tea - if you'll pardon the pun.
So here goes... The taste test.
I took a sip of what is marketed as being the "most aromatic, flavourful and benificial tea possible" and was ultimately quite shocked... pond-water would be this products better tasting brother.
The first wave of flavour is spicy with licquorice overtones - only mildly unpleasant so far, wheras the aftertaste is bitter and lingering - I almost wanted to rinse my mouth out with water.
I suppose if it tastes this bad then it must be good for you... or maybe it just tastes bad.
Anyway, i've got nineteen more tea-bag to use up, and i'm feeling brave - so i'm going to stick it out and stay the course.
On the whole I couldn't recommend this product to anyone, due to its unpleasant nature - however, the beneficial ingredients may well have done me some good. I may well wake up tomorrow with a set of superpowers, who knows.
If you're a sucker for punishment, or have a nasty taste fetish, then give these a go - you may actually be pleasantly surprised.
Never judge a book (or box of tea) by its cover.
Cleanse your body inside out. Caffeine Free.