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This week in ‘things your vagina does not need’: Your vagina does not need its very own tea stash. Along with glitter capsules, wasp’s nests, and sea sponges, herbal tea is not something that belongs in your vagina. Neither are herbs, or the steam from herbal tea, or a bath infused with herbal tea, and yet, if you have a search around Etsy you’ll find all manner of ‘yoni tea’. Yoni tea is essentially a little bag of herbs that the sellers advise you drop into hot water.
You can then either bathe in that hot water, or hover your vagina above the hot water so you can steam your vag with the magic of ~herbs~. The claimed ‘benefits’ include a vagina that’s tighter, cleaner, detoxed, and healthier, improved fertility, and a nourished womb. These benefits are likely a load of tosh. Yoni tea combines two dangerous vagina-related practices that prey on women’s insecurities about their vaginas – that they’re loose, don’t smell good, or need to be cleaned or detoxed.
First off, it replicates the same kind of potentially damaging herbs found in those detox balls that made the rounds last year (and remain on sale on Etsy, shockingly). When herbs are inserted into the vagina, they are likely to disrupt the good bacteria in the vagina that’s designed to keep the vagina clean and healthy. When that bacteria’s disrupted, you can end up with an infection – leaving you with soreness and irritation. The same goes for the steam from herbs, or tea made with herbs. The vagina is best left alone, with only the vulva (the outer parts of your genitals) needing to be gently cleaned with water. Anything you force up there – whether in the form of a liquid, steam, or little balls of herbs – will disrupt the vagina’s self-cleaning process. And on to the second bit: Vaginal steaming of any kind of really, really not a good idea. Steaming is essentially douching, but with added heat. Water inserted upwards damages the delicate bacteria balance of the vagina, while the heat disrupts that balance further, killing off good bacteria while creating ideal environments for bad bacteria. Even if you ignored those risks (which you shouldn’t), you still wouldn’t see any benefits from steaming.
The vagina is not able to absorb herbs through steam, and thus any fancy herbal steaming technique you use won’t do anything to treat fertility issues, hormonal problems, or whatever other difficulties vagina steaming fans tell you it will do. Any benefits that you do see through hovering over a tub of boiling water is likely due to arousal, caused by heat on the clitoris. But considering you’re risking scalded labia and an infected vagina by steaming, just having a wank in bed is probably a better method to feel fresher and happier. If you skip the steaming and have a bath in these herbs, using herbal yoni teas can still cause issues. Sitting in a tub of warm water for a prolonged period of time can lead to UTIs, while soaking in a herbal brew still puts you at risk of infection – just perhaps not as much of a risk as directing steam inside yourself. Now, let’s say the people selling yoni tea had managed to side-step all these risks with specially tested bags of herbs (they haven’t. These products are unregulated, unchecked, and available for purchase). You still don’t need them.
All these kind of products are doing is rooting around in your insecurities and sore spots, finding the ones that worry you, then providing magical fixes. But here’s the thing – the problems these products claim to treat aren’t actually problems. Vaginas aren’t supposed to be super tight, dry, and free of any excretions. Vaginas are supposed to be warm, and wet, and produce discharge. Vaginas aren’t supposed to smell like roses and taste like sage. They taste and smell like vaginas – and there is nothing wrong with that. Your vagina is not dirty or toxic. It does not need to be detoxed, cleansed, and freed of all toxins. Your vagina is self-cleaning. It knows what it’s doing. It does not need special products to be okay – it looks after itself. So no, you do not need tea for your vagina. And if you do fancy a herbal cup of tea, you’d be much better off drinking it than wafting it around your bits.