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Health risk: Again dangerous plant poisons in herbal teas


Herbal and chamomile teas from well-known manufacturers contaminated with plant toxins

Although experts have been calling on the suppliers of herbal teas for years to exercise greater care when growing and harvesting plants for the production of herbal teas and teas, dangerous plant poisons are repeatedly detected in teas. This is also the case in a current research by Norddeutscher Rundfunk.

Herbal teas loaded with pollutants

The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) has been appealing to suppliers of herbal teas for some years now to exercise care when growing and harvesting plants for herbal tea and tea production. Nevertheless, there are always headlines such as: Many chamomile and herbal teas contaminated with pollutants, organic herbal baby teas contaminated with carcinogenic substances, or: Harmful substances found in black tea. A recent research by Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR) shows that herbal and chamomile teas from well-known manufacturers are partially contaminated with plant toxins.

Classified as harmful to health

"Herbal teas from well-known manufacturers are partially contaminated with plant toxins to such an extent that their intake is classified as harmful to health," the NDR writes on its website.

This has been researched and sampled by the NDR consumer magazine “Markt”.

According to a laboratory analysis in six of thirteen common herbal and chamomile teas from supermarkets and discounters in a sample, so-called pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PA) were discovered.

These substances can lead to liver damage and liver cancer.

Mutagenic and carcinogenic effects

“PA are secondary ingredients that plants make to ward off predators. They are undesirable in food because they damage the liver and have shown mutagenic and carcinogenic effects in animal experiments, ”wrote the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) in a statement.

“Herbal teas contaminated with PA, including rooibos tea, black and green tea and honey are the main sources through which consumers can ingest PA. The PA amounts contained in these foods can be harmful to health for both children and adults if they are consumed for a long time (chronically), ”it continues.

"There is a possibility that even the smallest amounts are sufficient to cause cancer," said Prof. Edmund Maser from the Institute of Toxicology at the University of Kiel, according to the NDR.

The toxicologist demands that all foods - including teas - should be free of PA.

According to the information, the poisons are contained in weeds, which grow between the tea herbs and can get into the tea with the harvest.

No legal limit

Although there is no statutory limit for PA in food, the BfR has calculated a maximum intake. It is 0.49 micrograms per day in an adult weighing 70 kilograms.

However, the laboratory commissioned by “Markt” measured values ​​of up to 1.7 micrograms PA per liter.

With a large cup of tea, the maximum intake would have been reached afterwards.

Three peppermint teas and three herbal blends were examined

According to the NDR, the companies concerned reacted differently when confronted with the results.

Some companies indicated that there is no legal limit, others said they were already pursuing a minimization concept for their teas.

Three peppermint teas and three herbal blends were examined: "Yes! Peppermint ”by Rewe,“ Mint ”by Teapot,“ Westminster Peppermint ”by Aldi,“ Kloster Herb Mix ”by Edeka,“ Pure Herbs Spicy Fresh ”by Messmer and“ Lord Nelson 6 Herbs ”by Lidl. (ad)

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