What kind of twigs and bark do you prefer in your herbal tea?

Herbal teas often contain unlisted extra ingredients such as weeds, ferns or bits of tree, according to a study by New York high school students that could help tighten labeling rules.

A third of the herbal teas had things in them that are not on the label,” Mark Stoeckle, of the Rockefeller University who helped oversee the project…

The students collected dozens of teas and herbal teas and found extra ingredients in some including ferns, grass, parsley, other weeds and even traces of an ornamental tree, Taiwanese cheesewood, they said…

The students said that three of 70 tea products tested and 21 of 60 herbal products contained rogue ingredients not on the labels…

Stoeckle said extra ingredients such as camomile or parsley might be added deliberately to provide flavor or color. Or manufacturers may seek to sell full-looking tea bags and so pad them with filler.

“This is something that manufacturers and regulators could use,” Stoeckle said of the DNA technique for tea. Importers, for instance, could double check if a shipment of dried leaves is really tea.

We used to have a fave herbal tea that we called Monty Python tea because – one of the major ingredients was “The Larch”.

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