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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

Health Note: Herbal Tea

Air Date: Week of

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Living on Earth's Diane Toomey reports what drinking some herbal teas can do to your teeth.


CURWOOD: Coming up, when nature meets the subdivision. Mountain lions come 'a calling on a South Dakota neighborhood. First, this Environmental Health Note from Diane Toomey.

TOOMEY: Many people are turning, these days, to herbal teas as a healthy alternative to caffeinated drinks. But some of those beverages may have their own downside. Researchers in Great Britain studied the erosive effect of certain herbal teas on tooth enamel. They brewed up black currant, ginseng, and vanilla tea for their experiment. Then they placed extracted teeth in baths of the various teas for 14 days. That's the equivalent of drinking three cups a day for 18 years. For comparison, they also placed teeth in solutions of regular black tea, as well as water. The researchers found that enamel on the teeth in the herbal solutions eroded five times faster, compared to teeth bathed in black tea. Researchers say that's because the herbal teas were made from fruits with high acid content and it's the acid that damaged the tooth enamel. The researchers say their results indicate that regular consumption of herbal teas based on citrus fruits may have a cumulative effect. And so they advised teetotalers to think about how much herbal tea they drink every day. That's this week's health update, I'm Diane Toomey.

CURWOOD: And you're listening to Living on Earth.



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