Rooibos tea is a firm favourite among locals from all walks of life, many of whom consume the flavoursome red tea without much thought for the health benefits it provides. More than R4.5-million will be invested into researching how this indigenous tea can help tackle various illnesses – including heart disease, diabetes and skin cancer – by the South African Rooibos Council (SARC) between now and 2022.
When combined, these three diseases affect more than 43-million South Africans in total. The research will also investigate the impact of rooibos on flora in the gut, and how it can help to lessen the negative side effects of antiretroviral therapy.
Rooibos is an abundant source of beneficial bio-actives, including antioxidants, phytochemicals and polyphenols which contribute to its health benefits.
“Due to the large and growing use of naturally-derived substances for healthy living all over the world, it is imperative that the SARC obtains reliable data as to rooibos’ healing potential, since many other herbal-based treatments lack definitive evidence,” Director of Research for the SARC, Joe Swart, said to IOL. “We want to provide both healthcare practitioners and patients with sufficient proof of rooibos’ efficacy in helping to prevent and manage certain diseases. Over the last decade, the SARC has invested significantly in research to do just that.”
The final leg of the research phase will include an intervention trial on humans, after years of systemic and thorough research. This intervention trial will determine exactly how much rooibos is required to support heart health.
The 12-week-long trial will commence in August 2019, and the findings will only be made public in 2022.