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Open Access Unexpected Occurrence of Caffeine in Sleep-Inducing Herbal Teas

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Caffeine acts as a weak psychostimulant and is known to cause trouble with sleeping. Therefore, the presence of caffeine in sleep-aid herbal teas was somewhat surprising, and confirmatory investigations were conducted to exclude any possible misidentification. The botanicals of the sedative mixtures were analysed individually by ultra performance liquid chromatography (UPLC) coupled with a time-of-flight high-resolution mass spectrometer (TOF-HRMS), and caffeine was detected in linden (Tilia spp.) extracts. The presence of caffeine was unambiguously confirmed by means of its characteristic mass spectrum acquired during direct analyses of powdered linden by thermal desorption coupled to a GC×GC-TOF-MS. Caffeine content was determined in 11 linden-based samples, with a validated UPLC-MS/MS method using two mass transitions. Concentrations were between traces and 110 mg kg–1 in the herbal material while those in the corresponding prepared sleep-inducing hot beverages ranged from traces to 226 μg per cup.

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Keywords: CAFFEINE; HERBAL TEA; LINDEN; TILIA SPP; UPLC-MS/MS

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Official Food and Veterinary Control Authority of Geneva, Quai Ernest Ansermet 22, CH-1211 Geneva 4, Switzerland; School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, EPGL, University of Geneva, University of Lausanne Quai Ernest Ansermet 30 CH-1211 Geneva, Switzerland 2: Official Food and Veterinary Control Authority of Geneva, Quai Ernest Ansermet 22, CH-1211 Geneva 4, Switzerland 3: School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, EPGL, University of Geneva, University of Lausanne Quai Ernest Ansermet 30 CH-1211 Geneva, Switzerland. [email protected]

Publication date: October 1, 2014

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  • International Journal for Chemistry and Official Membership Journal of the Swiss Chemical Society (SCS) and its Divisions

    CHIMIA, a scientific journal for chemistry in the broadest sense, is published 10 times a year and covers the interests of a wide and diverse readership. Contributions from all fields of chemistry and related areas are considered for publication in the form of Review Articles and Notes. A characteristic feature of CHIMIA are the thematic issues, each devoted to an area of great current significance.

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