Commercial herbal detoxification tea products in Singapore: compositions and claims
Keywords:Detoxification, detoxification herbal tea, detoxification herbs, health claims, non-health claims
AbstractHerbal detoxification products are generally well-received by consumers due to their belief that these products remove toxins from the body and benefit health. However, data on herbal detoxification products commercially available in Singapore are limited. This study examined the product marketing information (delivery format, selling platform, pricing), health claims and non-health related claims, composition (herbs and other ingredients) and reported efficacies of herbal ingredients found in commercial herbal detox products in Singapore. Glycyrrhiza uralensis (42.5%), Flos chrysanthemum morifolium (27.5%), and Zingiber officinale root (22.5%) were the top three most prevalent herbs found in the surveyed products. None of the surveyed products contained colourings. Flavouring was found in 47.5% of the products and almost all the products (92.5%) were sweetened. Glycyrrhiza uralensis was the most popular added sweetener (42.5%), followed by sugar (17.5%), and stevia (12.5%). Preservatives were seldom added and were found in 2.5% of surveyed products. Most of the products stated health claims (72.5%). Digestion (35%), liver health (20%) and immunity (15%) comprised the top three detoxification health claims. Non-health claims, such as the absence of preservatives (30%), colourings (27.5%) and caffeine (27.5%), were stated on 55% of the products. The active herbal ingredients used in commercial detoxification herbal tea products seem credible based on the limited clinical and scientific evidence available. More studies are required to evaluate the efficacies and pharmacological properties of these herbs. The health claims stated on these products are applicable to the concept of detoxification that relates to the domains of digestive, liver, and immune health. However, the scientific and clinical concepts of detoxification should be better communicated to consumers to avoid misinterpretation.