I was recently contacted… and contacted, and contacted, one of the times by the wrong name… by YourTea.com, a “teatox” company that makes their money by selling teas that make some pretty lofty claims: “detox,” weight loss, assistance with cystic acne and eczema, help with endometriosis and PMS, enhanced libido, reduces stress and anxiety, and even lean muscle growth via just two to three cups of warm beverage a day of their special blends. WOW! Initially, I was resistant, having encountered these Insta-ads previously, and declined I their kind offer. However, they were quite insistent, and I eventually gave in. Why not- send me your tea. You know why?
Because I love science. And free tea.
Scouring their website, I found teas promising all kinds of things, but many would have been difficult to asses the results of objectively. Of course, I could have chosen a weight loss tea, but I’m not trying to spend days at a time on the toilet courtesy of herbal laxative, especially being as I would be implementing my tea program in the weeks leading up to a powerlifting meet. The tea that really caught my eye, out of the many, many options, was the one called Man Tea.
What the actual fuck.
Feminist beliefs be damned, the claims on this tea are impressive!
From the website:
My ManTea blend is full of ingredients with high antioxidant properties that help to assist in cleaning up the body right down to a cellular level. This is mostly noted as speedy recovery post workouts and because antioxidants are all about making your body work better, they treat inflammation which allows for greater muscle growth. The green tea found in this blend assists in boosting these benefits and adds another layer – not only is it busting with antioxidants but it helps to maintain muscle mass.
By benefiting your gut, we can increase absorption for your body to readily convert this to energy, which in turn boosts your ability to train. It means that you grow stronger more rapidly and that your recovery is quicker – so you can train harder. All achieved without nasty ingredients, all working to support your overall health. It’s a winner!
Maintain muscle mass? Greater muscle growth? Shit, why isn’t this already in my well-researched and therefore sparsely stocked supplement cabinet?! This is EVERYTHING!
Thankfully, though, it comes with this reassurance, lest I worry:
It’s the gentle adaptive properties of this tea that make it appropriate for everybody with a heartbeat – simply because it makes your own body’s inner workings function better. So women won’t grow man arms or chunky legs – they will simply be more toned and able to train harder.
Let’s check into these ingredients, though, shall we? As in any proper, ethical research study, one should know what they’re getting into – it’s only ethical to inform your subjects! To the internets!
They really went out of their way to get all Eastern medicine on this label, but luckily my Google-fu is strong, so I’ll break it down for you:
- Lu Cha: It’s green tea, plain and simple. Nice job on finding the Chinese word for that to make it seem special, though.
- Ren Shen: Again with the good use of Google Translate, we have ginseng root. Nothing too special.
- Jiao Gu-Lan: Considered similar to, and often used as a cheap substitute for, ginseng, jiao gu-lan has been minimally researched, though may be beneficial for diabetics in improving insulin resistance, and compounds within the plant may have some slight fat burning effects, but more research is definitely needed to support this.
- Gan Cao: Licorice root, usually used as a sweetener being as it is 50 times sweeter than sugar. I couldn’t find much on this one that was definitive or from a reputable source as far as medicinal claims, but the word “toxin” appears a lot, and it comes with a lot of warnings for people who are hypertensive or pregnant. Smacks of bullshit to me. I like that alternative uses, that is, non-ingestive uses, include that it can be used as both a fire retardant and as insulation, though. I have always worried a little bit about spontaneous combustion.
The tea website makes no mention of the potential side effects of any of the herbs in the “side effects,” area…even though each of the herbs included does come with warnings as I researched regarding, particularly, overconsumption. Some touted laxative effects, others warned against pregnant women taking it, and hypertension was mentioned in more than one instance. Hmm, that’s not shady.
I should also mention that a 30 day supply of this particular tea will run you $55. For tea. Plain ass tea. That’s nearly $1 per cup.
Anyhow, I feel pretty safe taking this tea. Two cups a day- bring on the arm tone!
My instructions for taking my Man Tea are as follows:
Drink me either twice or three times a day – depending on how much energy you derive from our Man Tea
For two teabags a day: take one teabag in the morning and one in the evening – 30 minutes before or after eating.
For three teabags a day: take one teabag in the morning, one at midday and one in the evening – 30 minutes before or after eating.
Hot tip: Feel free to add a squeeze of lemon or dash of honey
Initial reaction: Fuck, this smells terrible, and All I’ve done it open the freaking plastic wrap. Now I’m worried about how it’s going to taste- definitely not good. But, for muscles, I’ll do it. it’s almost cutting season, so, grow muscles, grow!
I assume the “hot tip” is because it smells like dog ass. It’s very clearly “tea” scented. You know, probably because it’s tea.
Tastes like tea. Plain ass tea. Unsweetened tea. It’s not great, but it’s not bad either.
This is fine. This is manageable.
So for the next 30 days, I carried little packets of ManTea around with me- I kept them in my work bag, in my desk drawer, in my gym bag, everywhere. I did not skip even a single dose of my tea. I did very carefully conceal the packets in with my other tea in my teacher’s lounge mailbox, though, to avoid questions about it. I just didn’t want to have to explain myself to the other teachers- as though I don’t raise enough eyebrows with my gym habits. I took a few selfies as proof of my dedication. In retrospect, I should have taken one every day- damn.
Some thoughts along the way:
- Girls don’t poop! Only I totally pooped- must be a side effect of the ManTea.
- I have to pee so many times. (Turns out adding 2 EXTRA cups of tea to your day is a lot for a bladder to deal with, when you already drink something like 150-200oz a day!)
People keep asking if I’ve grown a weiner. I’m so sad to keep disappointing them.
Not even so much as a hint of face stubble. No sweet mustache. No chest hair. Where are my muscles?
I’ve had literally zero discernible changes since beginning, and I’m starting to think I’ve been duped. Was there some activator tea that I missed, or something?
The last day of my tea experiment was the day of my powerlifting meet. Tea should always be enjoyed in a singlet, I think. Britain- make this a thing!
Anyhow I did end up PRing all of my lifts, so I clearly got stronger, but, I can’t really attribute that to the tea for sure. You see, along with my borderline excessive tea consumption, I was also running some really good powerlifting programming. Seeing as I didn’t have the forethought to plan a four week pause in my training to isolate the tea as a variable, I cannot for certain attribute these strength gains to the tea.
Starting day: 123
Ending day: 122
Muscle mass gain:
I might be a little bit leaner, but my calories were ever-so-slightly lower by the fourth week, too. As far as muscle gain, I’m not sure I see any noticeable difference. Please let me know if you see something, though- a person is always their own worst critic.
Improved training and recovery:
Now, this one isn’t particularly quantifiable, so, you’re going to have to trust me.
I did not notice any differences in my training abilities, energy, or recovery. None of these are areas where I’ve struggled, though, in the past, either. I did not notice any reduced muscle fatigue or soreness, nor any enhanced sleep. If anything, adding two cups of black and green tea to my day made it harder to sleep- I’m already a highly caffeinated person. I was always careful to drink my tea before the end of the school day so I wasn’t laying in bed thinking of all the tedious shit I had to do the next day. During week 1 I made the mistake of actually following the directions and drinking a cup in the evening, and my sleep was negatively impacted.
No facial hair.
No chest hair.
No deepened voice.
No man arms.
No distinctly manly traits to be seen.
I’m so sorry to disappoint.
Overall, I think this tea is a bust.
I’m so shocked. Absolutely astounded.
But nobody can say I didn’t try. I follow the instructions, I drank so goddamn much tea. Actually now that it’s over I kind of miss the tea- I grew accustomed to the taste and grew to like it! I’m certainly not going to shell out freaking $55 for this tea, nor will I give the company the satisfaction of ordering it with such asinine claims, but I will be buying some plain tea to add to my already-bursting tea cupboard.