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Rooibos health benefits backed by evidence

rooibos health benefits backed by evidence - blog post - carmien tea

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.

Five Tips to Stay Healthy This Winter

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Stay healthy this winter with these tried-and-true strategies that are still the best way to prevent illness.

We have made a list of five simple things you can do this winter to keep yourself and your family happy and healthy.

Wash your hands often: practising good hand hygiene is not new to anyone, but as we know, the winter months is a peak time for contagious illnesses such as cold and flu. The most effective way to prevent the spread of illness-causing germs is to wash your hands frequently.

Get a flu shot: you can protect yourself and your loved ones from getting sick by getting a regular flu shot at a doctor or pharmacy.

Eat and drink well: it is important to consume healthy foods and drinks that support your immune system. Rooibos tea is an excellent immune-boosting drink that also helps to warm you up while keeping you hydrated. Other immune-boosting foods include mushrooms, garlic, citrus fruits, herbs and spices, probiotics, prebiotics, and chicken soup.

Don’t stop moving: it’s easy to get a little more comfortable during the colder months, but try to stick to your regular exercise routine. It will keep your blood pumping and oxygen flowing!

Get some sun: it is important to spend time outside even when it is cold. Sunlight helps to improve your mood by boosting the release of serotonin and helps to regulate your circadian rhythm, which controls your body clock and affects sleep habits.

Start your winter wellness journey today by stocking up on your favourite Carmién rooibos teas, available at selected major retailers and online here.

Role of rooibos in managing diabetes becoming clearer, experts say

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The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) says an estimated 4.5 million South African adults are likely to have diabetes.

Original article published on 3 November on IOL by the African News Agency.

Decades of local and international research into rooibos’s anti-diabetic properties confirms its effectiveness at improving sugar levels when used in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle and should form part of a holistic strategy to tackle the disease, according to experts.

The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) says an estimated 4.5 million South African adults are likely to have diabetes. What’s even more frightening is that diabetes rates in the country have increased by an alarming 155% in the last decade alone, making it the second-most common cause of death in South Africa.

Professor Christo Muller, chief specialist scientist at the SA Medical Research Council (SAMRC), says approximately 463 million people suffer from diabetes around the world, 90% of whom are type 2 diabetics.

“Diabetes is possibly the biggest non-communicable (NCD) epidemic of the 21st century. It’s a major public health threat everywhere in the world and there is a growing incidence of type 2 diabetes among adolescents and children as well, which is of grave concern,” said Muller.

In most cases, he said, type 2 diabetes is as a result of poor eating habits and sedentary living, aggravated by other detrimental lifestyle behaviours, such as smoking and excessive alcohol intake. Research has shown that in many cases the disease (if intervened early on) could be reversed by making the necessary dietary and lifestyle modifications. Rooibos tea could play an important role in this approach.

“Aspalathin – a unique phenolic compound found only in the rooibos species – has been shown to improve blood glucose levels and therefore could help to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. Our research found that green rooibos, which is more abundant in aspalathin, was especially effective at lowering raised blood glucose levels in animal studies,” Muller explained.

“In these studies, aspalathin enhanced insulin activity, the hormone that controls blood sugar levels, by reducing inflammation and oxidative stress, which are factors that underlie the development of metabolic diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.”

Diabetics are two to four times more likely to die from heart diseases or stroke. Here, rooibos can be of benefit, too. Aspalathin also protects the heart by suppressing vascular inflammation and atherosclerosis (plaque build-up inside artery walls) that occurs as a result of high blood sugar levels.

Due to rooibos’s rich antioxidant activity and potential for clinical use, it is gaining more attention worldwide.

Joe Swart, research director for the SA Rooibos Council (SARC), said in view of the limited access, long-term inefficacy and side effects of oral anti-diabetic medication in Africa, plant-based therapies for the treatment and prevention of NCDs are gaining considerable prominence.

“Scientists have already developed a method for the synthesis of aspalathin into an active pharmaceutical ingredient and for use as a nutritional supplement,” he said.

Swart explained that aspalathin-rich green (ARG) rooibos extract can be utilised in novel therapeutic preparations for the treatment and management of metabolic dysfunction, including the control of glucose and cholesterol, which in turn reduces the risk of heart disease.

“The products have application in the complementary medicine, nutritional supplement and veterinary markets. Rooibos shouldn’t be viewed as a panacea, but in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle it could significantly improve health outcomes,” he said.

In the lead-up to November 14, which is World Diabetes Day, the aim is to bring attention to diabetes and to encourage cleaner living as a preventive measure.