Herbal drinks that claim to be specially blended for women should be treated with some scepticism, writes Dr James Brown
Tea is a fabulous drink. In its various guises it is the second most consumed beverage worldwide after water and contains many biologically active compounds that can improve health. Recently, tea has seen a product revitalisation similar to coffee’s over the past decade, with flavoured teas and herbal teas now sitting next to the traditional red label on our supermarket shelves. Alongside this, a slightly more insidious change has occurred, the emergence of teas targeting women for specific health benefits (The rise of women’s teas, 31 July).
These products are claimed to be specially blended for women, with ingredients including cranberry, rose, shatavari and vanilla. So far, so tasty. However, without the input of food scientists, or even basic clinical trials, it is impossible to make any robust claims for beneficial effects for womankind, as one will have no idea if these ingredients make the perilous journey though the stomach and into the bloodstream, and if they do, are they found in sufficient quantities to do anything good for the body?