The antioxidant effects of Rooibos

Helping to protect the liver

In this 10-week study, 80 male rats were treated with a liver-damaging chemical known as t-BHP (Tert-butyl hydroperoxide). Giving these rats access to Rooibos (instead of water) helped to protect the liver against structural, enzymatic and biochemical damage, and could even reverse some of the damage. These findings provide solid evidence that Rooibos can improve liver function and protect the liver against oxidative damage.

Ajuwon et al., 2013. Protective effects of Rooibos (Aspalathus linearis) and/or red palm oil (Elaeis guineensis) supplementation on tert-butyl hydroperoxide-induced oxidative hepatotoxicity in Wistar rats. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine: eCAM, 2013.
Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/984273

Prolonging the shelf-life of ostrich meat

In the first study to examine the antioxidant activity of Rooibos on meat products, researchers found that unfermented Rooibos increased the shelf-life of ostrich patties by delaying the oxidative degradation of meat fat. Fermented Rooibos also slowed fat oxidation in ostrich salami. These promising preliminary results merit further studies into how the tea exerts its protective effect, and whether any long-term effects exist.

Cullere, M., Hoffman, L.C. & Dalle Zotte, 2013. First evaluation of unfermented and fermented Rooibos (Aspalathus linearis) in preventing lipid oxidation in meat products. Meat Science, 95(1), pp. 72-7.
Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23659927

Fighting oxidative stress in nematodes

Researchers used Caenorhabditis elegans, a worm-like nematode, as a model to study the effect of Rooibos and aspalathin on oxidative stress. In high glucose environments Rooibos extracts and aspalathin caused the nematodes to live longer and reduced evidence of oxidative stress.

Chen et al., 2013. Ameliorative effect of aspalathin from Rooibos (Aspalathus linearis) on acute oxidative stress in Caenorhabditis elegans. Phytomedicine: International Journal of Phytotherapy and Phytopharmacology, 20(3-4), pp. 380-6.
Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23218401

Improving male fertility

Oxidative stress can negatively affect mammalian sperm. Fermented and unfermented Rooibos significantly improved the number of sperm produced by male rats that had undergone artificially-induced oxidative stress. Rooibos also improved sperm motility, which measures how well sperm are able to swim towards an egg to fertilise it. In other words, Rooibos may improve male fertility (sperm quality and function).

Awoniyi et al., 2012. The effects of Rooibos (Aspalathus linearis), green tea (Camellia sinensis) and commercial Rooibos and green tea supplements on epididymal sperm in oxidative stress-induced rats. Phytotherapy Research: PTR, 26(8), pp. 1231-9.
Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22228422