My highschool biology teacher once gave us (her class) a tea which made everything taste like dirt. I remember that chocolate candies, spicy hot sauce, and salty crackers all tasted the same after drinking the tea. The effect only lasted a minute or two. It's been a long time, and I can't remember the name of this tea - can anyone identify it?

(I am not certain if this question is appropriate for this SE, please let me know if it is not.)

  • $\begingroup$ This is probably the most appropriate SE, only alternative I could think of would be the cooking SE and it's probably more off-topic there. Did you see the (presumably) leaves used to brew it? $\endgroup$
    – Koen vd H
    Commented Oct 26, 2017 at 22:10
  • $\begingroup$ Got it, thanks. I considered the cooking SE, but I thought that maybe this was a standard highschool bio experiment/demonstration... I think the leaves were a very dark green/grey. They came packaged in a bag, so they must have been bought from a store or something. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 26, 2017 at 22:22

1 Answer 1


This sounds like gymnemic acid, which can be isolated from the leaves of Gymnema sylvestre. It’s an “anti-sweet” compound, which wouldn’t necessarily make everything taste like dirt but might do so for you particularly. When I had it, it made my tongue slightly numb and candy tasted like nothing rather than sweetness, so it may not be what you’re looking for.

Lactisole (from coffee beans) is another option, but I haven’t tried that one personally so I’m not sure what its taste effects are like.

  • $\begingroup$ I'm accepting this for now because I think it's correct, but I'm not totally sure. If anyone else has any ideas, please let me know! $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 27, 2017 at 4:39

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