Tea is a type of beverage made by steeping plant materials--such as leaves--in hot water. There are many types of tea, including black, oolong, and green tea.1 Each is processed differently, and tea can be made from multiple types of plants, but all are said to have medicinal benefits, though those benefits might vary. These benefits come from the high concentration of antioxidants and other beneficial compounds.1
Tea bags are small synthetic bags filled with the plant material used to make tea. Simply add the bag to your hot water, let it sit for about two minutes, and drink the tea. The bag keeps the larger contents of the plant--which you don’t want to drink--out of the water but allows the flavors and other healthy contents through.
Tea Bag Uses and Health Benefits
Teas of all kinds come with numerous health benefits, but what people fail to realize is that tea bags can be used for multiple purposes aside from brewing a healthy beverage. Tea bag uses also include for:
- Abscessed Tooth (Dental Abscess) - An abscessed tooth is an infection of the root of the tooth or between the tooth and gums and can occur when the tooth is broken or injured.2 Biting down on a wet tea bag can help.3 With tea bag benefits comes the ability for them to help reduce inflammation and draw out the infection.
- Canker Sores - Another dental use of tea bags include placing them on canker sores, which are painful sores in the mouth.4 Multiple types of tea contain antibacterial properties,5 so a wet tea bag benefits canker sore infections.
- Conjunctivitis - Conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye, is inflammation of part of the eye called the conjunctiva.6 Using wet green or black tea bags and placing them on the affected eye is believed to help reduce symptoms. Warm compresses can help promote eye comfort in patients with viral conjunctivitis, so soaking the tea bags in warm water first can help.6
- Herpes (Cold Sores) - Cold sores are caused by an oral herpes virus and appear as sores on the mouth.7 Placing tea bags on the sores may help improve symptoms.
Tea Bag Side Effects and Precautions
Tea bags are generally considered safe for brewing into tea and placing on the skin or wounds. Rare allergic reactions may occur when taking green tea or other teas, so seek medical attention immediately if the topical application of tea bags triggers an allergic reaction.8