Research on health benefits of Rooibos gets R4,5 million injection

Indigenous Rooibos contains unique antioxidants and phytochemicals such as flavonoids and polyphenols which hold certain health benefits. To back these claims, the SA Rooibos Council (SARC) has made R4.5 million available for research on the ability of Rooibos to help reduce allergies, heart disease, diabetes and skin cancer. In South Africa alone, these diseases combined afflict more than 43 million people. SARC Research Director Joe Swart said that there is a growing demand for naturally derived substances to support healthy living all over the world. That is why it is imperative that SARC obtains reliable data on the healing potential of Rooibos.

Said Swart, “We want to provide both healthcare practitioners and patients with sufficient proof of Rooibos’ efficacy in helping to prevent and manage certain diseases.”

He said that after years of research conducted on the impact of Rooibos on heart health, they will be progressing to trials on humans. The intervention trial, which will be led by Prof Jeanine Marnewick, Head of Cape Peninsula University of Technology’s Oxidative Stress Research Centre, will determine just how much Rooibos (equivalent to a cup of tea) is required in a condensed form to serve as a nutraceutical to support heart health.

Prof Marnewick says the 12-week trial is key to understanding how a dietary intervention such as Rooibos can change the outcome of cardiovascular disease risk factors. “We will investigate the impact of Rooibos on various risk factors associated with the development of heart disease, including cholesterol profile, oxidative damage to lipids, redox status, inflammatory responses, metabolic disease, blood pressure, and genetic variability in 300 adults.” The trial will commence in August 2019.

Other studies that have been given the green light include the impact of Rooibos on hayfever and chronic rhinitis, which will be conducted by the UCT Lung Institute, while the Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology and the Massey University in New Zealand will combine their expertise to look at how the herbal tea can improve glycaemic control in people with pre-diabetes and/or type II diabetes. Further research will also be conducted by various teams of scientists at CPUT into the potential of Rooibos to boost athletic performance, its effect on autoimmune skin diseases such as psoriasis and vitiligo, and its chemo-preventative properties on the early stages of skin cancer.

Stellenbosch University will examine the cardio-protective effects of Rooibos on ART, since HIV-positive individuals on antiretroviral therapy have an increased risk of heart disease. Stellenbosch University is also investigating how aspalathin, a flavonoid unique to Rooibos, could counter the effects of obesity. If successful, work will commence on an anti-obesity Rooibos supplement. The study has already caught the attention of the international scientific community who will be following the progress closely.

Tim Harris, CEO of Wesgro, says it is encouraging to see the volume of research being done on Rooibos, which has become one of South Africa’s most sought-after exports. In addition to providing more than 8 000 jobs, Rooibos is boosting the Western Cape’s coffers through agri-tourism, turning Clanwilliam – the heartland of Rooibos – into an attractive tourism destination. The recently launched Rooibos Route, which combines agricultural production with tourism, is evidence of this.

This is how the media picked up on SARC’s announcement of the research funds:

702 Talk Radio:
R4.5m poured into research on health benefits of Rooibos tea

Cape Talk:
R4.5m poured into research on health benefits of Rooibos tea

Cape Town Biz Online:
R4,5-million will be invested into further researching Rooibos

Cape Town ETC:
Millions pumped into Rooibos research

Rooibos research get R4.5 million injection

Creamer Media’s Engineering News:
Rooibos Council invests over R4m in research to tackle diseases

MSN News:
Rooibos Council invests over R4m in research to tackle diseases

Food Business Africa:
South African Rooibos tea research gets financial boost to promote medical research

Green Family Guide:
Rooibos research gets a R4.5-m injection

Independent Online:
Rooibos research gets R4.5 million injection

Longevity LIVE:
Rooibos: Why the world can’t get enough of it
Rooibos research gets a R4.5-m injection

MSN South Africa:
Rooibos Council invests over R4m in research to tackle diseases

Nog geld vir Rooibos in hoop op deurbraak

Research Channel:
Rooibos research gets R4.5m injection

Retail Brief Africa:
Research into health benefits of Rooibos gets R4.5 injection

Rooibos research gets R4.5 million injection

The Newspaper:
Rooibos research gets a R4.5-M injection

Red-letter day for Rooibos as R4.5m is invested on health research