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Residues in Medicinal Tea

How can tea manufacturers ensure the safety of their products?


When met with a cold, many of us are quick to reach for a cup of medicinal tea. We believe that this warm fluid will ease a sore throat, clear the sinuses, and hydrate the body. While tea may offer symptomatic relief, there is little evidence to suggest that it speeds up the recovery process.

Teas used in treating colds can contain various pestsicides and natural toxins. An example of a natural toxin  are Pyrrolizidine alkaloids. They are natural toxins that are formed by a multitude of different plants worldwideas a defence mechanism against herbivores. They can cause damage to the liver and have carcinogenic potency, meaning it alters the natural transcription and replication of DNA which leads to an increased risk of cancer.

There is no law specifying how much Pyrrolizidine alkaloids a product may contain. The European Medicines Agency mentions that a person weighing 50 kilo is discouraged to consume more than 0.35 microgram of Pyrrolizidine alkaloids per day.


In a test out of 18 teas all but one contained pesticides or pesticide traces.*


Besides other pesticides like Glyphosat the pesticide DEET (diethyltoluamid) was also found in teas that combat bronchitis. DEET is an insect repellent used by tea manufacturers, as insects tend to feed on tea leaves. DEET, when consumed by humans, can cause allergic reactions or mucus membrane irritation. The health implications are negligible as long as the critical limits are not exceeded.

To guarantee customer safety, Tentamus uses its wide range of lab equipment to test every batch of tea the manufacturers produce for pesticides and toxins.

Medicinal teas are subject to stricter controls than normal teas. In order to meet these requirements, Tentamus laboratory QSI offers the analysis of pyrrolizidine alkaloids and pesticides also under GMP conditions.

In addition Tentamus also offers analyses according to pharmacopoeia monographs (e.g. Ph. Eur.), these include for example the determination of beneficial ingredients.vv


If you have further questions related to this subject, please reach out to our contact:

Nicole Schröer
+49 30 206 038 133

Dr. Johannes Junemann
+49 421 596 607 0

Source: *Ökotest

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