Contrary to their reputation, certain herbal teas can pose a health hazard. The Federal Office for Risk Assessment (BfR) is now warning of this. Carcinogenic substances have been found in some teas.
Beneficial, digestible and healthy: herbal teas have a good reputation. This could now be damaged because the Federal Office for Risk Assessment (BfR) surprisingly issued a warning on Monday (July 15): In certain herbal teas and other types of tea, “unexpectedly high levels of pyrrolizidine alkaloids” were measured. These plant substances were previously considered harmless, which is why there were no prescribed limit values. However, animal experiments have shown that pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PA) can have a carcinogenic effect. For the study, scientists examined 221 different tea samples, including fennel, chamomile, herbal, peppermint, nettle and lemon balm tea. The researchers found worryingly high levels of carcinogenic PA in some samples. Where these come from is still unclear. And the researchers cannot make a final assessment of the study either. There were too few samples for this, so that incidental finds or possible contamination of individual samples cannot be ruled out. However, the BfR is taking the study results as an opportunity to demand, on the one hand, stronger controls for herbal teas and other types of tea before marketing. On the other hand, the Federal Office warns against long-term high consumption. Children, pregnant and breastfeeding women in particular should refrain from doing this. However, there is still nothing to be said against enjoyment in moderation. The BfR draws the limit at an amount of five tea bags for one adult per day.