There has been much debate about the host of benefits claimed to be present in South Africa’s miracle plant, rooibos.
According to this research fact sheet by the Cancer Association of South Africa, “Evidence of the health benefits of Rooibos Tea is growing by the day. Health benefits, especially the ones associated with drinking Rooibos tea, are most significant. Rooibos tea contains extremely high levels of antioxidants, powerful substances that fight free radicals in the bloodstream and keep bodies healthy and strong.”
The fact sheet highlights research proving the strong anti-mutagenic effect that phenolic compounds found in herbal teas have:
The ability of South African herbal teas (Rooibos and Honeybush extracts) to act as ‘chemopreventors’ in skin cancer was highlighted by a South African research team (Marnewick, et al.) using an animal model. They showed that topical (external) application of tea fractions significantly suppressed tumour growth in mice with skin cancer, when using processed and unprocessed tea. South African researchers (Van der Merwe, et al.) collaborated to compare the potential of different kinds of tea (Rooibos, Honeybush, black oolong and green tea) to suppress mutations, and thereby prevent cancer. Their results confirmed that the phenolic compounds in herbal tea extracts have a strong anti-mutagenic effect (in vitro study using cell lines).
Research into the health properties of the miracle plant links back to not only cancer, but health concerns such as stress-related illnesses, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, allergies, diabetes and more, and continues to intrigue the scientific community.
As more research becomes available, we can say with certainty that rooibos is a fantastic, healthy product that should form part of a balanced diet.