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Which Herbal Teas Can Mormons Drink?

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Camomile tea
J Shepherd/Photographer's Choice RF/Getty Images
Question: Which Herbal Teas Can Mormons Drink?
I received an email asking the following question: "I've heard that some herbal teas are okay to drink, but could you please clarify what is allowed and what isn't? Thanks so much for your help!"

So in the Word of Wisdom which herbal teas are Okay to drink?
Answer: Official doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints states that drinking tea is against the Word of Wisdom. Under the Gospel Topic of Word of Wisdom at LDS.org it states:

"The best course is to completely avoid the substances that the Lord prohibits in the Word of Wisdom."

But to clarifty, herbal tea is not against the word of wisdom, although we have been cautioned: "Some people enjoy herbal teas, but even these should not replace more nutritious drinks in the diet" (Lora Beth Larson, "The Do's in the Word of Wisdom," Ensign, Apr 1977, 46.)

The following types of tea made from the tea plant are NOT herbal teas:
  • Black
  • Green
  • White, and
  • Oolong
According to the Tea page at Wikipedia it states that herbal tea "usually refers to infusions of fruit or of herbs (such as rosehip, chamomile, or jiaogulan) that contain no C. sinensis. (Alternative terms for herbal tea that avoid the word "tea" are tisane and herbal infusion.)"

Also see the Ensign article that answers this question, "Do herb drinks fall into the classification of 'hot drinks' forbidden by the Word of Wisdom or are they 'herbs to be used with prudence and thanksgiving?'" by Clifford J. Stratton, "I Have a Question" Aug. 1979, 24–25. (You'll need to scroll down).

Read more about herbal tea (or tisane) at About.com's Coffee/Tea topic and at Wikipedia.

The Word of Wisdom is a Personal Commandment: Often Latter-day Saints become focused on the letter of the law and not the spirit of the law. How to obey the Word of Wisdom is something that each individual must study and ponder on their own. In Section 89 of the Doctrine and Covenants the Lord has revealed that alcohol, tea and coffee (hot drinks), and tobacco are harmful. He also told us what foods are good for our bodies. The Lord has not given us a specific list of each and every kind of substance that is/isn't good for us. He has given us the agency to study it out for our own understanding and to choose how we will accept and obey the Word of Wisdom. When searching for specific answers I suggest turning to the Lord through fasting and prayer to receive personal revelation.

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