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Independent Research and References on Rooibos Tea
The following is a list of independent research results. They are links directly to other websites. Rooibos Herbal Products Ltd. can not be held responsible for their content. However we wish to say they are reputable sources.  
Analytical characterization of the Fermentation Process (Document.pdf)
Rooibos Tea - Summary (Document.pdf)
New research documents antioxidants and anticancer properties (Doucment.pdf)
An extract from written by:  Betty Kamen, Ph.D. - Herb Research Foundation
Research performed by Japanese scientists
Two extracts from 'The Green Pharmacy' by James A Duke Ph.D.
Extract from 'Readers Digest, The Healing Power of Vitamins, Minerals and Herbs' by Rebus, Inc.
An article that appears in, written by Laurie Erickson
An article on Honeybush
Please report any links that no longer work to:

New Green Rooibos:

The ongoing debate, about which teas brew the strongest health benefits, now has a colourful twist in the tea tale. Recent research conducted by the Agricultural Research Council (ARC), Infruitec-Nietvoorbij and the Medical Research Council of South Africa, has revealed that green Rooibos contains more antioxidants than South Africa’s traditional red coloured brew.

Rooibos is processed in two different ways, producing two distinct teas. In the cases of traditional (red) Rooibos the green leaves and stems are picked, bruised and left to ferment. The fermentation process turns the leaves and the resulting tea into a rich amber colour, which led to its African name Rooibos, meaning "red bush."

The new green Rooibos is prepared in much the same way, but it is not fermented. The unfermented brew contains higher levels of antioxidants than traditional Rooibos, as many antioxidants are destroyed during the fermentation process. The unfermented variant has a mild, "green" taste which is reminiscent of green tea but without the astringency. Red tea (fermented Rooibos) on the other hand has a stronger, sweeter, fruitier taste.

Rooibos has always been a hot topic in the health industry as it is packed with antioxidants, the lifeline that binds itself to free radicals. Free radicals (unstable molecules) can damage the DNA in cells, which in turn can cause cancer. They can also oxidise cholesterol, which leads to the clogging of blood vessels and consequently heart attacks and strokes. Antioxidants bind to these free radicals before they cause any harm.

Polyphenols are the most prominent antioxidants in Rooibos. The polyphenol group is divided into subgroups such as the flavonoids. The most prominent flavonoids in Rooibos include aspalathin, rutin and orientin. Both isoorientin and isoquercitrin are also present.

Aspalathin and nothofagin are two types of polyphenols that are also present in large amounts in unfermented (green) Rooibos. Studies have shown that these two polyphenols oxidise into other substances during fermentation, and thus, fermented Rooibos contains less aspalathin and nothofagin than unfermented green Rooibos.

In conclusion, senior research scientist at the Medical Research Council of SA, Jeanine Marnewick says, “Rooibos showed protective effects against DNA damage when tested in an in vitro assay as well as in an in vivo (dissection) animal system.” The in vitro (test tube) studies found that unfermented Rooibos was generally more protective against DNA damage than fermented Rooibos, although fermented Rooibos has a stronger effect against other mutagens.

Research on this topic is on going, Marnewick is currently evaluating the protective effect of Rooibos on liver, esophageal, colon and skin cancer induced in live animal models. Studies are in their early phases and Marnewick cautions that there is still a little known about the effect of Rooibos on cancer development.

So until then, sit back, relax and enjoy a healthy, delicious cup of indigenous South African goodness!

Japanese scientists, such as Matatoshi Nakano, have discovered that the effect of free radicals (a by-product of normal cell function) in the process of aging and the decline of the immune system is limited by the anti-oxidants in Rooibos. If the product is brewed/boiled for longer than 10 minutes, the anti-oxidant activity becomes much higher.
He found that it contained a very high content of Flavanoids which suppress nervousness and chromosome variation. It also has 50 times more SOD than Green Tea, as well as antioxidants, nutrients & essential minerals not found in other tea, making Rooibos truly unique and far superior.
They also found Rooibos to be beneficial in the treatment of high blood pressure, diabetes, mellitus, atherosclerosis, allergic diseases, various dermatitis diseases, liver diseases and cataracts.

The Green Pharmacy by James A Duke Ph.D. -  Page 277
Published: Rodale Press, Emmaus, Pennsylvania, 1997

Rooibos (Aspalathus Linearis).
South African physicians recommend rooibos (pronounced roo-i-bus) tea as an effective stomach soother that’s gentle enough to treat infant colic, according to the late economic botanist Julia Morton, D.Sc(Dr. Morton, author of some of the best books in the field, including The Atlas of Medicinal Plants of Middle America, was killed in a car crash in 1996.  It is a great loss for everyone involved in the study of medicinal plants.) Unfortunately, rooibos is available in only a handful of stores in the United States.

The Green Pharmacy by James A Duke Ph.D. -  Page 298

Published: Rodale Press, Emmaus, Pennsylvania, 1997

Rooibos (Aspalathus Linearis).
Although not usually grown in the United States, this shrubby African legume is available in selected herb stores.  Tea made with this herb is a bedtime favorite among South African herbalists, consumers and even physicians.  South Africans also use it to improve appetite, calm the digestive tract and reduce nervous tension.  They regard it as safe enough to give infants.

Readers Digest, The Healing Power of Vitamins, Minerals and Herbs by Rebus, Inc.
Publisher, Rodney M. Friedman, Executive Editor, Sandra Wilmot, 1999

Rooibos tea, Aspalathus linearis.  The brick-red tea made from this plant has long been a refreshing beverage in South Africa, and rooibos, or ‘mountain’ tea is a household name in this country.  Its popularity worldwide has increased recently, partly because of research into its ‘anti-aging’ properties.

Common Uses
As an antispasmodic for infants prone to colic
Soothes skin irritations like nappy rash, eczema and acne
May improve constipation
May improve liver function
May play a role in improving blood sugar levels
May promote longevity

Dried herb/tea

What it is
The shrub Aspalathus linearis, which grows up to two metres high, is endemic to the slopes of the Cedarberg mountain range in the Western Cape.  Its Afrikaans name, rooibos (red bush), comes from the fine needle-like leaves of the plant, which turn red when they are fermented.

For centuries the indigenous people of the Clanwilliam region made a tea from the rooibos by first cutting off the twigs and then bruising the leaves, fermenting them and then drying them in the sun.  Today it is one of the few local wild resources that has made the transition to a commercially cultivated crop.  The fermenting process is similar to that used for black or oolong tea.

This unique beverage with its characteristic sweet flavour is regarded as ‘healthy’ partly because of its lack of caffeine and its low tannin content.  But rooibos tea is also rich in volatile compounds, minerals and other active ingredients which give it its favourable medicinal effects.

What it does
Rooibos contains a wealth of flavonoids, which include aspalathin (found only in rooibos tea), nothofagin, vitexin, isovitexin, orientin, isoquercitrin, luteolin and quercetin.  Many of its health-promoting properties are linked to the antioxidant effect of these flavonoids.  Recent studies have demonstrated that the antioxidant effect of rooibos tea is made possible by superoxide dismutase (SOD) mimetic substances.  SOD is one of the best-known enzymes in the human body capable of neutralizing free oxygen radicals as soon as they are formed.  Free oxygen radicals cause damage to body proteins and fats, as well as to our DNA (or hereditary material).  An imbalance in the body’s oxidant levels is believed to be a contributing factor in a broad spectrum of diseases, including atherosclerosis, inflammatory disease (for example, arthritis), heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer and AIDS.

The antioxidant effect of rooibos tea is thought to be similar to that of green tea, although current research has shown it to be less than that of green tea.  However, the mechanisms by which rooibos produces its health giving benefits are still unclear because of a lack of detailed human studies.

Major Benefits: Rooibos tea is said to have had an effect on dermatological diseases such as Behcet’s disease, Sweet disease and photosensitive dermatitis.  It is also said to have antispasmodic effects and is therefore useful as a drink for infants suffering from colic.

Additional benefits:  Rooibos tea is rich in several minerals including iron,  calcium, potassium, magnesium, zinc and sodium, as well as the trace elements copper, manganese and fluoride.  The mineral content of rooibos tea contributes to the maintenance of healthy skin, teeth, bones and metabolic processes.

Possible Benefits:  The evidence currently available on the therapeutic value of drinking rooibos tea gives some credibility to the ‘anti-ageing claims.  Until further research is made available, however, the expectations of a healthier life, rather than an increased lifespan, would seem more realistic.

How to take it
:  Internally: You can get the benefits of rooibos tea by drinking several cups of the brew each day.  Topically:  To soothe nappy rash, eczema and acne, apply a rooibos cream or the tea to the affected area as needed.  Make your own rooibos cream by adding two tablespoons of strongly brewed rooibos tea to twice that amount of aqueous cream or emulsifying ointment.

Guidelines for use:  Rooibos tea can be enjoyed at any time, on its own or with meals.  It can be drunk safely at night as it contains no stimulants.  The tea should be freshly brewed.  To prepare it, allow one teabag or heaped teaspoon of loose tea per cup.  Pour boiling water onto the tea, and keep warm.  Infuse for two to three minutes.  Slow brewing on the stove gives good results too.

Possible side effects
Rooibos tea is very safe, with no reported adverse effects.  Since it contains no oxalic acid it can be drunk safely by people who suffer from kidney stones.


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Rooibos Herbal Products Ltd. Trading as: Montego Rooibos Herbal Tea
#5 - 1253 Silvan Forest Drive, Burlington, Ontario, L7M 0B7, Canada    Tel: & Fax: 1.866.824.8057

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