The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been asked to investigate a herbal tea drink for engaging in false advertising over health claims for the product.


The Council of Better Business Bureaus is asking the FDA to investigate Hornell Brewing over its Rx Memory Mind Elixir product. The drink contains gingko biloba, a herbal extract that some studies suggest helps recall among Alzheimer’s patients, but the council says the drink implies unrealistic health benefits.


The council invited Hornell to provide evidence that the tea aided memory function six months ago after spotting the labelling on the drink that said it was ‘mind enhancing’, while the Rx symbol in the product name implied that consumers need a prescription to drink the tea. The council has also questioned the safety of the product’s ingredients. 


Although there is evidence to demonstrate the herb’s effectiveness, Hornell chose not to submit it for the council’s review. The tea was never intended to cure anything except a consumer’s thirst, the company says.


Hornell’s product has already raised previous concerns at the FDA and Hornell had agreed to revamp the label on Rx Memory Mind Elixir at its prompting. But despite Hornell recently changing the tea’s name to Rx Memory Herbal Tonic, the council has still asked the FDA to intervene.


“The public has been confused and misled,” said Andrea Levine, director of the council’s national advertising division in New York. “There are hundreds of other products out there trading on this mystique of herbs.”