Elemental Composition of Commercial Herbal Tea Plants and Respective Infusions

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This study evaluated the elemental composition of 25 herbal tea plants commonly used in infusions by Portuguese consumers and the contribution to the elemental daily intake of some essential elements. Hydrocotyle asiatica (L.), Matricaria chamomilla (L.), and Melissa officinalis (L.) samples are a rich source of K with around 6.0 mg g−1 while the Asteraceae Silybum marianum (L.) and Echinacea angustifolia (DC.) exhibited 4.9 and 5.6 mg g−1 Ca, respectively. The highest concentrations of S and Zn were noted in Hydrocotyle asiatica (L.), while the highest concentration of Sr was found in Cassia angustifolia (Vahl.). In general, a large variability in the concentrations among different families and plant organs had been observed, except Cu with levels around 30 µg g−1. The principal component analysis (PCA) showed positive correlations between Zn and S and Sr and Ca, also revealing that Hydrocotyle asiatica (L.), Echinacea angustifolia (DC.), Silybum marianum (L.), and Cassia angustifolia (Vahl.) samples, stands out about all other samples regarding the enrichment of macro and micronutrients. The elemental solubility of macronutrients in the infusion is greater than the micronutrient solubility, despite the contribution to the recommended daily intake was weak. As a whole, Cynara scolymus (L.) and Hibiscus sabdariffa (L.) are the species with the best elemental solubilities, followed by Hydrocotyle asiatica (L.). No harmful elements, such as As and Pb, were observed in both the raw material and the infusions.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1412
Number of pages14
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 26 May 2022


  • elemental composition
  • herbal infusions
  • herbal tea samples
  • inductively coupled plasmaatomic emission spectroscopy
  • PCA analysis
  • X-ray fluorescence


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