Are Tea Leaves Edible?

It’s customary to throw away loose tea leaves or tea bags after being steeped once or sometimes twice or thrice. But because they are the dried leaves of the camellia sinensis plant, you might be wondering if you can eat them.

If a cup of tea is healthy, then the leaves from which it comes must be healthy as well, right?

Tea leaves are edible. Provided that they are free of mold, they can be eaten before steeping or after steeping them. However, many individuals who consume tea leaves prefer to eat already steeped ones. Tea leaves may be eaten as they are. They may also be added to baked goods, smoothies and others.

Whether you are thinking about consuming used tea leaves or simply looking for nifty ways to use them just to keep them from winding up in the garbage bin, continue reading.

Below, you will come across things such as why you should consider eating tea leaves and how you can consume them in different ways. You will also learn about the many surprising uses of used tea leaves. By the time you reach the end of this article, it’s guaranteed that you will never see tea leaves the same way again.

tea leaves

Why Do Some People Eat Tea Leaves?

Tea leaves are eaten by some in order to take advantage of traces of antioxidants and other vitamins and minerals in them. They also do so to keep their digestive system in tip-top shape as tea leaves are packed with fiber. Many of those who consume tea leaves want to stay healthy or stay in shape.

It’s after steeping them when tea leaves are best eaten. That’s because they would be softer and thus easier to chew. What’s more, they would be less bitter, which makes consuming them effortless.

Like most other plant-based food products, tea leaves are rich in fiber that’s good for both the tummy and heart. Used ones also contain health-giving nutrients, including antioxidants that fight off cell-damaging free radicals, although in smaller amounts only as most of them already went into the water when they were being steeped.

As a general rule of thumb, the more times tea leaves are steeped, the lesser the nutritive content becomes. However, the fiber content stays the same as fiber does not dissolve in water.

There are basically a couple of types of people who eat tea leaves:

  • Health-conscious ones who will do anything and everything to stay in the pink of health.
  • Budget-conscious ones who want to make sure that nothing they pay for goes to waste.

No matter if you want to stay healthy or stay within budget, it’s perfectly fine to add tea leaves to your diet. But besides putting used tea leaves in your mouth and chewing on them, you can also consume them in an assortment of ways — you may even find some of them surprising!

Related Article: Is Mint Tea the Same as Peppermint Tea?

The following are some of the ways to consume used tea leaves you probably didn’t know about:


You can boost the antioxidant and fiber content of your favorite smoothies by adding some used tea leaves to them. Because tea leaves that have been steeped many times already are practically tasteless, you will find that they will not keep you from fully enjoying your favorite smoothie blends.

Energy bars

Love DIY energy bars? You can make yours more filling and nutritious with the addition of used tea leaves, which go well with various ingredients such as oats, peanuts, almonds, raisins, dried apricots, shredded coconut, etc.


One of the things that make salads some of the healthiest on the face of the planet is that a serving is loaded with fiber. This is why adding salads to your diet may help keep at bay digestive and cardiovascular issues. You can make your favorite kind of salad richer in fiber by sprinkling used tea leaves on it.

Baked treats

Cookies, muffins, biscuits, bread rolls, pie crusts — if it’s a baked goodie that you can make at home, chances are that some used tea leaves can make it more nutritious.

Love making pizza from scratch but hate that it’s not the healthiest indulgence of yours? Choose your toppings well — and add some tea leaves to the dough!

Meat rub

Tea leaves have tannins. It’s exactly because of this why they make for excellent additions to your favorite meat rub as they will help tenderize it. Tea leaves will also lend their nutty, grassy and astringent flavor to meat, thus making it more flavorful without really screaming their presence.

tea leaves

What are Other Uses for Used Tea Leaves?

Tea leaves that have already been steeped can be used for beauty purposes, such as for reducing eye bags and removing dead skin cells. Used tea leaves can also help remove all sorts of unwanted odors from the body and in the house. Tea leaves can help plants to grow faster and healthier, too.

Believe it or not, tea leaves are not only good at giving you a cup of a refreshing and healthy beverage.

They are also very good at making sure you look and feel your best all the time and keeping various areas in and around the home in excellent condition.

Here are some surprising used for used tea leaves you probably didn’t know about:


Caffeine and tannins in used tea leaves can help reduce puffiness and redness, which is why you can count on used tea bags each time you have eye bags or pimples. You can also add some used tea leaves to your favorite body oil — the mixture is great for getting rid of excess dead skin cells, thus making your complexion glow.


Besides various health problems, tea is also very good at fending off bad odors. Let used tea bags dry completely and then place them in the fridge to absorb all kinds of refrigerator odors. You can also stash some used tea bags in the closet, bathroom or just about anywhere that could use some deodorizing.

Got stinky feet? Allow some used tea bags to steep in warm water and soak your feet in it for several minutes.


Earlier, we mentioned that used tea leaves can be used for getting rid of dead skin cells. Well, you can also use them to remove stubborn dirt and grime on pots and pans and kitchen tiles and countertops.


Store-bought fertilizers contain nutrients plants need, such as nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus.

Guess what?

All of these nutrients are present in used tea leaves, too!

Needless to say, you can sprinkle some used tea leaves on the soil or bury used tea bags around your ornamental plants or garden vegetables to make them grow.

Just Before You Consume Tea Leaves

Tea leaves are edible, which means that it’s perfectly safe and fine to eat them. Tea leaves, in particular already steeped ones, contain trace amounts of antioxidants and plenty of fiber that’s good for the digestive system.

However, it’s a good idea to keep your intake of tea leaves to a minimum in order to keep unnecessary problems at bay — in some people, too much fiber consumption can lead to abdominal distress and constipation, too. Consider eating tea leaves after they have been steeped, and don’t forget to drink plenty of fluids.

But before you eat tea leaves, make sure that it’s the organic kind. Otherwise, besides the nutrients in tea leaves, you may also end up ingesting pesticides and other synthetic chemicals, thus making the intake of tea leaves do more harm than good. Whether or not you plan on consuming tea leaves, it’s a good idea to stick to organic tea.

What is considered the healthiest tea?

The general consensus among health authorities is that green tea is the healthiest among true teas. While it’s also from the leaves of the camellia sinensis plant just like black tea, white tea and others, green tea is the least processed, which is why the majority of its health-giving components remain intact.

Which is healthier: tea or coffee?

Both tea and coffee are healthy beverages. Tea may fend off heart disease, cancer, obesity and a weak immune system. Meanwhile, coffee may prevent Parkinson’s, liver disease and type 2 diabetes. However, since tea has less caffeine than coffee, it’s more ideal for those who wish to avoid too much caffeine.

Read Also: Can You Drink Expired Tea?

Similar Posts