Tea and Allergy - Cause Sore Tongue?

by Sore Tongue
(Clive, IA, USA)

I bought this wonderful loose leaf tea from our brand new store in our new mall It was great! After drinking three 16 oz. mugs of this tea, my tongue began to feel a little numb. By the next day my tongue felt sore. It stayed sore. I knew I needed to just lay off the tea.

I went to a Nutrition Health food store. They suggested I take a Coenzyme B Complex vitamin. Maybe I have a lack of vitamin B6 and B12. This would take care of it. Also suggested Aloe Juice to soothe my tongue. By now, it has mostly gone away (It's been about a week).

Tonight I drank regular iced tea (black tea) and I felt it affecting my tongue a little. I later made hot tea... herbal tea (the lemon and honey flavor). It doesn't seem to affect my tongue.

Have you ever heard of such a thing? Should I avoid tea altogether, or would you say herbal teas are okay? Do I have an allergy to certain teas? Or is it just a lack of Vitamin B?


Hey, I am not a doctor, but from what you describe, it looks like you are having a food allergy.

And yes, tea contains tannins (catechins, caffeine) that may cause allergy. It is not well known, but is actually quite common.

This article below will explain more:

Tea and Allergy

Herbal teas do not contain catechins/caffeine so it is possible they are less likely to cause allergy.

I am not entirely convinced by Vitamin B, but if it works for it that is good.

If you still want to experiment with proper (non herbal) tea, try get an unflavoured version next time, as food additives may cause allergy.

I hope this helps. Good luck and keep in touch.

Comments for Tea and Allergy - Cause Sore Tongue?

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Dec 30, 2009
tea allergy - possibly mold?
by: Anonymous

I have the same problem. Green tea in particular causes my tongue to inflame, which makes it sore. I went to a doctor many years ago, who said it was likely due to mold. Many teas are stored in containers that have a minute amount of mold, which is what he expected was my allergy.

I live in Japan - and find that many different varieties of tea (oolong, green, and some black) cause this problem. Hence I do not drink much tea

Jan 07, 2010
sore tongue
by: Anonymous

I get a sore tongue from tea whether it is black or green. I once visited India and my tongue was always sore and nearly raw. When I returned to the US, it cleared up and then I had a cup of tea and it came back. Thats when I discovered it was Tea causing the problem. Coffee does not cause this for me--only tea. It is not widely known as I can't find anyone else on the net that has these symptoms but for me, if I drink tea, my tongue gets sore. It might be the tannins

Feb 09, 2010
by: Anonymous

I thought I was going crazy. Why was my tongue and even the top of my mouth so sore? I realized it MUST be from the green tea I had been drinking. I've drank it before but not as much as I have lately. Now it hurts so much and it's hard to eat. I don't seem to have this problem with other teas.

May 05, 2010
numb tongue drinking herbal tea
by: Marissa

This has been happening to me. I have been drinking more tea to stay away from soda and my tongue feels numb. I finally put the peices together.

The two teas were both Herbal, Green Tea and Hibiscus.

Weird becuase I am from Texas and we drank Tea all the time. Wonder if it is just herbal tea.

Sep 09, 2010
Sore Tongue & Tea
by: Anonymous

I as well have this issue with green & black tea. I thought something was wrong with me at first, but when i sat down and thought about it, I had made a recent change from coffee to these two teas, so i decided to go back to coffee mornings, and only herbal teas in afternoon & evenings, the pain & swelling went away. My tongue was so raw i could hardly eat or even talk.

Oct 29, 2010
Sore tongue
by: Anonymous

I've found I can't drink tea with hibiscus in it, as it makes my tongue sore and itchy.

Jan 21, 2011
by: Cara

I can't drink tea either. I had a sore tongue for 12-13 years and couldn't find out what the problem was, I tried cutting out things in my diet on a structured basis to find out what it was and found it was tea.

If i drink one cup of tea my tongue is sore for 3 days. Most annoying, cos I love the stuff.

Mar 03, 2011
Mixing helps!
by: Tiki

I have the same problem. I love to drink extremely strong, black tea, but if I drink it for more than 2 days in a row, my tongue gets covered with a thick, white coating and is threaded through with slits like little cuts. After three days it starts to bleed in places.

My solution is to mix the black tea with red bush (rooibos) tea - approximately 2/3 red bush tea to 1/3 black tea. You can get both teas in the same flavors and mix and match them easily.

I have even created some new flavors by mixing one type of black tea with another flavor of red bush tea.

Also, it is extremely important to always drink the tea mixed with milk (or cream); this helps to dilute the acids in the tea.

Apr 15, 2011
Reaction to Green Tea
by: Anonymous

It was a relief to find it's not just me. I usually drink a cup of green tea here and there but the morning I was on my second cup I noticed my tongue feeling numb and my throat felt swollen and it was hard to swallow..sharp stomach pains, so I waited it out not sure what to do.


No more tea for me.

Jun 24, 2011
Green tea and sore tongue
by: Anonymous

I had the same problem with green tea. I can drink herbal teas and black tea with no effect. Only the green tea gives me this problem.

Sep 13, 2011
So im not alone!
by: Anonymous

I have found tea coffee and chocolate all have the same efffect coke also makes my tongue sore.
I wonder if it is due to caffine?

Oct 05, 2011
Tea tongue syndrome
by: Anonymous

I get up and stretch in the morning and drink loads of tea. My tongue is sore at the back on the left side, and it feels as if the tea is irritating it. I will stop for while and report back to say if it helps

Oct 16, 2011
Sore tongue
by: Anonymous

I am thinking it may be the green tea or coffee, thought it may of been fish oil pills or some other supplement. I'm gonna cut out the tea and see what the deal is. So frustrating!!

Feb 15, 2012
Sore tongue from tea
by: Anonymous

Yeah, I have the same problem--- so sad, because tea is so great! Also have the sme problem with walnuts, tomatoes, kiwi, melon. Some sites reference "oral allergy syndrome" as a possible cause.

Mar 20, 2012
Sore tongue
by: Sharon

Unbelievable! I just figured out that green tea was the only thing I had different in my diet. For about 2 months, I had a cup every night. The last 2 weeks I noticed that my tongue was burning when I brushed my teeth & some weird coating on it in the AM. Having survived throat cancer, of course I thought I was dying. So glad I found this site. Just stopped the tea last night. We'll see.

Jun 17, 2012
Is strong tea making my tounge sore?
by: Anonymous

When sipping cool but strong black tea i get a wierd sort of puckery feeling in mouth, almost a dry feeling, but at same time excessive saliva! My toung is sore , it can hurt to talk. After eating it seems to get worse.I have started to wonder if it is the acid in the tea! Neither my Doc. or Dentist have any idea what it is! I do get a coating at times but don't want to use tounge scraper as tounge is so irritated. I finally started to connect this to the strong tea. I am glad i found this site i see i am not alone in this and not crazy! I will switch to water and see what happens!

Jun 30, 2012
Allergic to Tea
by: Anonymous

I have been drinking tea (black and herbal) without any problems, three weeks ago I was introduced to a tea called sweet and spicy and I loved it, a few days ago my mouth and lips felt so dry I found my tongue have a white coating the center two cuts and the mouth feeling numb. I guess I have to back to drinking only coffee and water.

Jul 10, 2012
Tongue swelling
by: Anonymous

I have had this problem of my tongue swelling and getting sores, it was in the back of my mind that it is tea and coffee, I usually feel tired also, so glad this site exists.

Jul 29, 2012
Possibly b complex
by: Anonymous

I have been drinking tea my entire life. Green & black. Recently I started a b complex and now my toughie gets numb & things don't taste right. Also I seem to be swelling up & feel awful. I miss the b complex some days & now that I think about it those days I don't feel so bad. It may just be a bad combination.

Sep 18, 2012
Sore tongue
by: Anonymous

It's likely due to a methylfolate/methylcobalamin deficiency. Tea and coffee contain caffeine and they can lower your levels of both, especially if you have a methyl block to begin with. Try methylfolate (metafolin) and methlycobalamin. Stay away from straight folic acid as this only makes things worse.

Sep 29, 2012
Tea Allergy
by: Bill

I've had this problem for years, doctors told me I had geographic tongue, I tried fighting it with vitamins to no avail. Just figured out it was tea over the last week. I quit drinking ice tea for about 5 days, it started to go away, drank one glass of tea today and it's coming back. So glad to hear that it's more common than I figured it to be and other's confirm what I have been dealing with.

Nov 08, 2012
I have noticed the same problem
by: Anonymous

I started drinking tea to stay off soda when I work (night shift). I had noticed my tongue and mouth getting sore. I kind of thought it was the tea or that I was burning my mouth with it; but I can see from here that it is probably the tea. I am happy though to see that it is fairly common. I have been drinking the name brand tea they have at work, maybe I will try some different varieties after laying off it until I feel better and see how they go.

Dec 07, 2012
green tea white tongue
by: 77cole

I thought I was going crazy also! A few months ago I started drinking green tea instead of black and around the same time my tongue started bothering me. I was drinking a lot of tea, many cups daily. Bothering me a lot. It had a thick coating of white and was dry and uncomfortable. I went to mexico recently and ran out of the green tea I brought with me and then got lazy and started drinking a little coffee instead in the mornings and my tongue started to get better! I couldn't believe it. A week later and it is about 90 percent better and I do believe now that it was green tea, both decaf and regular that was making my tongue white and painful. If it turns out not to be the case I'll let y'all know.

Jan 04, 2013
tea? that makes sense
by: playloudy

I just got a Keurig / Mr Coffee for Christmas and had just "overdosed" ON the coffees and teas I got with it, including Earl Grey tea. My tongue started getting so sore the last day or two, and so now I will stop drinking them in order to test this theory. So glad I found this site!

Feb 18, 2013
Same experience
by: Anonymous

I am also feeling sore throat and sore tongue. Thanks all for comment. At least I could diagnose what exactly is the problem.

Apr 14, 2013
Really? So I should try giving up tea? :(
by: EnglishTeaDrinker

I smoke rolled up cigarettes, but have given up a few times. Don't actually smoke that many either really. Each time I give up I always hope my tongue will get better. Have had a coated tongue for a few years now, and there are times it seems to get worse.

I'd really hate to give up tea as I'm English and I drink more tea than most people I know. Probably between 5+10 a day I guess. Mostly regular black tea, one sugar and splat of milk.

Seems like I'll have to give up and see how it goes. Shall come back on here and let you all know my progress.

May 29, 2013
Causes of a swollen tongue
by: Anonymous

Common causes of a swollen tongue and sore throat are mononucleosis, tongue cancer and allergic reaction. A simple infection can also cause due to the before mentioned causes in mouth.


Jul 01, 2013
stroke like symptoms
by: Anonymous

Thank you all for helping me figure out this strange thing happening to me. I have lived on green tea for years since other forms of caffeine exacerbate my IBS and as a cancer preventative since I get precancerous colon polyps. Now at only 3 cups per day for only 3 days my tongue goes numb, my throat, neck and face itch. I had the same problem 3 weeks ago when my whole right side went numb and I could not write and was sent to the hospital for possibility of a stroke, which was negative since I was too healthy and with no brain damage. 2 days later I drank green tea and felt the numbness only in my tongue and thought it may be pesticides in the tea so I bought organic, but now have the same problem again. Back to ginseng and ginger tea for me. Thanks again!

Jan 17, 2014
Oregano tea and numb toungue
by: Diana

Hi, I've being sick for 5 weeks with a cold, flu and now sinus. I read that oregano tea helps a lot, I've being making the tea and drinking it for two days now, but the problem is that with the first cup I had, I felt my toungue getting numb. Has this ever happened to somebody else or it's only me? PS.. Am nit alergic to any of the oregano/mint herb family.

Feb 19, 2014
Ulcer under tongue
by: Anonymous

I just started drinking oolong tea and a few others over the past few days. I have developed a ulcer under my tongue. My throat is feeling a little sore also. I really hope it's not the tea because I was looking toward to health benefits!

Apr 29, 2014
Painful tongue.
by: Anonymous

I too experienced a painful tongue, almost like it was on fire and numb at the same time. I had just started taking an inhaled prescription allergy medicine and I thought it was the cause. But it wasn't . I remembered that there was a leaf that escaped the strainer and I bit into it.
I love green tea with honey, and hope that this was a one time occur acne. If it happens again I will have to give it up, it was very, very painful. It lasted for about 5 minutes, several times that day, it would fade away and come back again. Glad to see I'm not alone

Jun 12, 2014
Sore tongue
by: Anonymous

I have the same problem. Coffee bothers my tongue. Any kind of tea bothers my tongue, and soda may even bother my tongue. Maybe it's the caffeine.

Nov 13, 2014
by: Anonymous

I have the same my tongue sore if I drink tea or some foods it could be anything one day I could eat or drink something will be fine next day eat and drink the same thing tongue sore and mouth get little white spots on side told doc looks at me as I am not all there sick and fed up.

Dec 03, 2014
Odd tea phenomenon
by: Georgia

I discovered hot teas were making my tongue dry, cracked, & sore. I wake up in middle of night with dry mouth, I drink a 16oz bottle of water & still wake up with sore, dry tongue.

I noticed hot tea in caused my mouth to pucker. I drank 1 cup hot tea last night & same symptoms occurred, switched herbal tea & didn't have dry tongue. Learn something new everyday!

Dec 31, 2014
sensitive mouth and tongue
by: mms

Interesting reading comments about green tea causing problems. I seem to have the opposite happen. If I drink tea with flowers or spices I have a burning and cut tongue. I can drink green and white tea, mint tea, fruit flavored teas as long as they don't have a flower or spice in them. I do not like coffee but I drink a lot of tea. I also have a problem if I eat several fresh fruits - peaches, plums, pears, apples - my tongue breaks out and feels like it has paper cuts on it (sometimes lips swell also). I can eat canned fruit. Celery seed and pepper also cause my tongue and lips to break out, swell, itch, etc. but I can eat cooked celery. I eat a lot of chocolate; thank goodness that doesn't cause me problems. For me it is not the caffeine causing the problems. It is the flower / spice / seeds in the food and drinks.

Jan 01, 2015
Sore Tougne
by: Anonymous

I've been making my own tea with the dried hibiscus from the nutrition store, and other dried herbs. I've been drinking this, I say almost year. And now, just today I was thinking, could it be the hibiscus. Because I've been sick with the flu, so I've been drinking it hot with honey like crazy. So after reading everyone else's comments. I'm going to stop drinking this tea and see what happens. I'm not sure if my other herbs effect me. But I'm very I checked up on this.

Jan 21, 2015
Numbness on bottom side of tongue
by: Tommy-Nebraska

I think I have figured out the mystery of why my tongue has been going numb. Specifically the bottom side of my tongue goes completely numb. I am a heavy drinker of the Lipton instant unsweetened tea. The second I take a drink my tongue goes numb. I am trying to figure out if it's tied to a medication I am on, or possibly a bad batch of instant tea. I guess my mini-refrigerator is also a factor as that is where I store my pitcher of tea. I have never had this issue before, so some other factor may be playing a roll. I hope it's not a food allergy because I gave up soda to drink tea.

Feb 02, 2015
Dry Mouth/Sore Tongue
by: Anonymous

I have been battling a burning tongue, tingly, sometimes swollen feeling and DRY tongue/mouth for almost 7 months now. I quit drinking pop about 2 years ago and went to brewed tea instead. I hadn't changed anything 7 months ago but I noticed my tongue starting to burn then after the burning phase passed (about 2 months later) it started feeling a bit swollen at times and I would catch myself messing with it alot (rubbing it against my teeth and top of my mouth etc). The most sensitive place was on the top of my tongue initally, but following the 2 month mark it became sensitive along the sides where my tongue touches my teeth. I switched toothpaste brands and it's gotten better a little but not completely healed. My mouth feels so dry most days. I'm guessing it's a combination of coffee/tea that I'm consuming. ?? Maybe I too will have to test this by ceasing the tea and see what happens.

Apr 08, 2015
So happy I found this forum
by: Anonymous

I looked up the cause of dry mouth, tongue and throat because of excessive discomfort. The past two days I have been adding green tea to my morning green smoothie and it totally dried me up. Since it was the only thing I was doing that was different I suspected it must be the tea. It has been 12 hours since I drank it and my tongue is still sore. In the past I have had stomach aches from black or Earl Gray teas but not the mouth distress. Now I know I am sensitive to green tea as well. I'm also now wondering if it could be a preservative, toxin or insecticide. I get an itchy/burning mouth if I eat pine nuts from China but pine nuts from Italy don't affect me.

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