Gendered drinks – Not your cup of tea

Gendered drinks – Not your cup of tea

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There are many different types of tea on the supermarket shelves, from green to peppermint. But a recent trend has been those which claim to be “specially blended” for women. But these, Dr James Brown writes in The Guardian, “should be treated with some scepticism.”

Tea itself does have “biologically active compounds” that are good for you. It is second only to water in being the most drunk beverage around the world. It has even been said that its discovery held back Chinese innovation for centuries. It’s no surprise therefore that there are so many different kinds from earl grey to camomile.

But recently there has been a trend in teas claiming to be targeted towards women and for particular health benefits. These can be flavoured with ingredients such as cranberry, rose, and vanilla. “However,” Dr Brown writes, “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?”

He also disputes the marketing claims, describing them as being “so scientifically illiterate it makes my test tubes weep.” This, he notes, is part of a trend in which people turn to alternative treatments such as homeopathy or detox which are either have no evidence of any benefit or have been debunked entirely. In some cases, this can be harmful such as for those with endometriosis which affects a tenth of women.

“It is unlikely that these teas will do much harm, he concludes, “other than lightening the bank accounts of those who feel obliged to purchase them, but it is equally unlikely that they will be any more beneficial than drinking other forms of tea.”

All this is not to say that they should be avoided entirely. But the idea that these types of tea are uniquely beneficial to women is not based on any real evidence. If you are going to drink it, say because you like the taste, it’s best to keep that in mind.

 

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