New research: South African scientists discover anti-ageing potential of Rooibos
Two scientists from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University - Prof Maryna Van de Venter and Dr Trevor Koekemoer - have established that Rooibos protects preadipocytes, which are the predominant cells found in fat tissue, from degenerating. This means Rooibos could reverse the onset of age-related diseases and even keep wrinkles at bay.
The just-released research study was commissioned by the Rooibos Council in 2012.
Says Prof Van de Venter: "Our research focused primarily on the preservation of healthy fat tissue as the redistribution of fat - a natural process which occurs with age - particularly to the abdominal region, has been linked to the onset of age-related diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes and cancer. Our aim was to slow down the rate at which these diseases develop as a way to improve the quality of an individual's life."
"Loss of fat under the skin also results in the appearance of wrinkles, sunken eyes and skin folds. To put it in simple terms, in old age there is less fat in places where it should be and more fat in deposits where it shouldn't be, and it's this that significantly alters one's state of health as one ages," explains Prof Van de Venter.
Using various independent in vitro models which mimic specific aspects of the ageing process, the two scientists established that Rooibos protects preadipocytes - the predominant cells found in fat tissue - from degenerating.
The study further proved that Rooibos has the ability to partially restore the function of these aged cells and that both fermented and green Rooibos can protect cells from severe oxidative stress, which firmly establishes Rooibos as an anti-ageing proponent.
Co-researcher, Dr Trevor Koekemoer, explained that the fact that the anti-ageing effects of Rooibos can be ascribed to more than its antioxidant effects, is an important finding. "The discovery opens doors to ways in which Rooibos could prevent or at least delay the detrimental effects of ageing and holds profound implications for the industry. Our findings could spur novel therapeutic approaches for improving general health in the aged and potentially lead to a breakthrough in the field of regenerative medicines."
This is how the media reported on the NMMU research team's findings: