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Herbal teas have been identified as a source of health-promoting fats – a healing practice

Herbal teas have been identified as a source of health-promoting fats – a healing practice

Herbal teas have gained popularity all over the world not only because of their taste, but also because of their various health benefits. A Japanese working group has now identified various types of herbal teas as a valuable source of healthy fats for the first time.

Researchers at Hokkaido University analyzed the components of a common Japanese herbal tea as part of the current study. They discovered a group of previously under-researched compounds in tea: lipids that have potential health-promoting effects. The results of the research were recently published in the specialized journal “Food chemistry” foot.

An in-depth look at the fats in herbal teas

The results mark the beginning of a new era in understanding the health effects of herbal teas. Although herbal teas have been consumed in Japan for centuries and have been associated with health-promoting effects, the reasons behind the purported effect remain largely unexplored.

The team, led by Professor Sidbasav Gowda and Professor Xu Binghui, analyzed 341 different molecular types from five classes of fats. The following four herbs, native to Japan and enjoyed as tea for their potential medicinal properties, were the focus of the research:

  • Docudami (Houttuynia cordata, newt tail, lizard tail),
  • Comazasa (Sassa vici, dwarf bamboo),
  • Sugina (Equisetum arvense, field horsetail),
  • Umuji (Artemisia princeps, Japanese Mugwort).

Herbs of Japanese naturopathy

“These herbs are native to Japan and have been drunk as tea since ancient times due to their medicinal properties,” Professor Goda explains. It is said to have, among other things, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral as well as anti-aging effects.

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Fat in tea?

Fats are a variety of natural substances that have the property of being insoluble in water. They include all the fats and oils found in many foods, but have not yet been studied as important components of tea.

Discovery of new bioactive lipids

Using advanced analytical methods, the research team was able to identify significant differences in fat levels in teas. Of particular note is the discovery of a special class of lipids, short-chain fatty acid esters of hydroxy fatty acids (SFAHFAs), which had not been discovered in plants before.

These can represent a new source of short-chain fatty acids, which are essential for maintaining gut health.

The discovered fats also include alpha-linolenic acid, known for its anti-inflammatory properties, and arachidonic acid, which has been linked to various health benefits.

“Long-term importance for health and nutrition”

“Our first study paves the way for further research into the role of lipids in herbal teas and their long-term importance for human health and nutrition,” Gowda concludes.

His team now wants to characterize more than 40 herbal teas in the same way in another study.

The results of this study highlight the potential of herbal teas as a source of health-promoting components and offer exciting new perspectives for physical therapy. They invite you to rediscover and appreciate the diverse possibilities of these tried and tested medicinal beverages. (FP)

Author and source information


Graduate Editor (FH) Volker Blasek


  • Hokkaido University: Fats with potential health benefits in herbal tea (Published: March 29, 2024),
  • Lipsa Rani Nath, et al. Dissection of novel lipids and their composition in herbal teas using untargeted LC/MS. Food chemistry. 2024. DOI: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2024.138941,

important note:
This article contains general advice only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment. It cannot replace a visit to the doctor.