- What are considered hot drinks?
- Tea and coffee. “Hot drinks [defined as tea and coffee] are not for the body.” (E.T. Benson, Ensign, May 1983).
- To what does “tea” refer?
“I have heard it argued that tea and coffee are not mentioned therein; that is very true; but what were the people in the habit of taking as hot drinks when that revelation was given? Tea and coffee. We were not in the habit of drinking water very hot, but tea and coffee—the beverages in common use” (Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 182).
Tea as it is was consumed in the days of the early Saints, as it is today, was an infusion of the leaves, buds and internodes of the tea plant (Camellia sinensis). Teas derived from this plant include black tea, green tea, oolong tea, congou tea, pekoe tea, orange pekoe tea and souchong tea. They are available under numerous brand and product names.
- Are diet supplements that contain green tea against the Word of Wisdom
- The Word of Wisdom specifically states hot drinks. It does not specify ingredients that make up those hot drinks. While many prophets since Brigham Young have clarified that hot drinks means tea and coffee, they have not said that the coffee bean or the tea leaves are in violation of the Word of Wisdom (or at least not so far as I can tell). However, that being said, iced tea is also against the Word of Wisdom, so it appears that the temperature of the drink is irrelevant. One interpretation of the hot drinks portion of the Word of Wisdom could specify only the drink form.
- Are herbal teas against the Word of Wisdom?
- Herbal teas are not infusions of parts of the tea plant. They are infusions of other herbs, fruits and flowers.
- Is caffeine the reason tea and coffee restricted?
- Not necessarily. The Lord has never said that we are to abstain from tea and coffee because of the caffeine. In fact, He has never said what the physical reason is. We are to abstain from them because it is a commandment and because they “are not for the body” (D&C 89:9).
- Is decaffeinated tea or decaffeinated coffee fine to drink?
- As above, caffeine has never been revealed as the reason why we are not to partake of tea and coffee. The revelation has only been interpreted as coffee and tea. Period.
- Does tea include “iced tea”?
- Iced tea is still an infusion of the plant mentioned above, except where the drink is derived from other sources (herbs, fruits and flowers).
- Are cola drinks prohibited in the Word of Wisdom?
- No. But leaders have encouraged us not to partake of them.
“With reference to cola drinks, the Church has never officially taken a position on this matter, but the leaders of the Church have advised, and we do now specifically advise, against the use of any drink containing harmful habit-forming drugs under circumstances that would result in acquiring the habit. Any beverage that contains ingredients harmful to the body should be avoided” (Priesthood Bulletin, Feb 1972).
- Isn’t herbal tea just decaffeinated tea?
- No. Herbal tea is not created from the tea plant.
- Are all herbal teas then fine to drink without fear of breaking the Word of Wisdom?
- No. Some do contain parts of the tea plant. Care should be taken when purchasing herbal teas to read the list of ingredients.
- What about other hot drinks?
- It has been said that drinking beverages of high temperatures can cause damage to the lining of the mouth, esophagus and stomach. However, “hot drinks” only refers to tea and coffee.
What were the people in the habit of taking as hot drinks when that revelation was given? Tea and coffee. We were not in the habit of drinking water very hot, but tea and coffee—the beverages in common use” (Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 182).
- Is chocolate against the Word of Wisdom?
At no time has cocoa or chocolate been included in the prohibitions of the Word of Wisdom, and at no time has the Church said that cocoa is as harmful as coffee. Those who make these claims do so on their own responsibility, and obviously without knowing the facts of the matter (Elder Mark E. Peterson, Patterns for Living [Bookcraft, 1962], pp. 235-37).
- Are tea tree oil products made from the same plant as green tea?
- Tea tree oil is derived from the Melaleuca alternifolia plant. Tea is derived from the Camellia sinensis plant.