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Does Kirin's "Harecha Tea" Contain Banned Substances? Kirin Denies Claims After Athlete Warns Others Not to Drink It

translated by Brett Larner

A prominent member of the athletics community has warned the public that Kirin World Kitchen Harecha Tea may contain banned substances, but in response to an inquiry Kirin PR issued a statement saying, "Nothing which could be referred to as a banned substance has been detected."

Kirin World Kitchen Harecha Tea is a new product that was released on Feb. 24, an herbal tea combining lemon grass, mint, rosemary and geranium with green tea.  The problem in question is the use of geranium.  Geranium includes the banned substance methylhexaneamine, leading members of the athletics world to say, "Don't drink it before competitions," on their blogs and Twitter.  In particular, two-time World Championships bronze medalist Dai Tamesue's warning on the subject has had a great impact, retweeted more than 2000 times as of this writing.

"I received information that this tea contains a banned substance called geranium and that athletes should not drink it in the 5 days before a competition." -- Dai Tamesue (@daijapan) March 8, 2015

In response to an inquiry on the subject, Kirin's public relations department responded, "This product has been inspected and nothing that could be called a banned substance was detected."  The banned substance methylhexaneamine is often listed as "geranium oil" or a similar name on supplement ingredient lists but is typically artificially produced through chemical synthesis.  Studies seem to indicate that it has not been detected in natural geranium, and at the present time no positive doping test results have occurred as a result of drinking Harecha Tea.

All told it looks safe to say that the chance that drinking Harecha Tea will result in testing positive for doping is extremely low.  To be completely sure, athletes may be better off not drinking it before competitions, but there seems to be no problem whatsoever with drinking it in normal day-to-day life.


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