Some studies suggest that tea, coffee or other caffeinated drinks can inhibit the absorption of iron, can herbal tea do so?
Tannins and oxalates are compounds of tea that are said to hinder the absorption of iron –on non-heme iron (found in non-animal products such as grains or supplements) but not the heme iron that is found in animal products. Tannins found in black tea –the compound that fives the tea its brown color and body– in greater concentrations than in other types of teas.
Herbal teas can contain tannins as well some of them are:
Hibiscus, Chamomile, Cinnamon, Cloves, Guarana, Nettles, Peppermint, Rosehip, Sage, Yerba mate, among others.
There is little research on the effects of herbal tea on iron absorption and they have also found that adding milk has little or no influence on iron absorption. It is true that if tea is drunk an hour after the meal, it does not decrease hem iron absorption to the same extent as when people drink it during the meal.
The bottom line is that if you have an iron deficiency or you are following a plant-based diet, you should consult a doctor about your tea consumption. If you regularly drink tea, try not to drink it during meals.