Rooibos health research on quality parameters and stress

Rooibos (Aspalathus linearis) is a versatile plant with a myriad of health-enhancing properties confirmed by research. Scientists around the world are working on Rooibos to gain a better understanding of this unique South African herbal tea. Some are investigating the health benefits of Rooibos and its potential to combat a range of diseases while others are trying to understand exactly how the bioactive components in Rooibos work.

Scientific articles published over the last decade prove the therapeutic ability of Rooibos to fight cancer, protect the liver against disease, boost the immune system as well as to relieve allergies and treat digestive disorders.

Most Rooibos researchers recommend using the complete Rooibos extract (tea) rather than taking individual, isolated compounds.

Rooibos studies from South Africa showed that people can get the optimum health benefits from drinking six cups of Rooibos spread throughout the day.


Developing objective quality and sensory parameters for Rooibos

Research leader: Professor Lizette Joubert, Agricultural Research Council
This project aims to characterise a typical cup of Rooibos according to its total polyphenol content and antioxidant capacity. The research team is analysing hundreds of Rooibos tea samples from different regions and seasons, from 2009 to 2011. The research is complemented by a project aimed at a comprehensive description of the taste, flavour and aroma of Rooibos, and the development of a “flavour and mouth-feel wheel” to support the local and international Rooibos trade. THRIP (Technology and Human Resources for Industry Programme) is a co-funder. Professor Joubert collaborates on several other research projects on the health benefits of Rooibos in South Africa and abroad.

The influence of Rooibos on stress

Research leader: Professor Amanda Swart, Stellenbosch University
Rooibos is widely used as a herbal tea for enhancing well-being, supporting the immune system and combating stress. During stress, which is characterised by anxiety, sleeplessness and depression, there is an increased production of stress hormones. This project will look at the influence of Rooibos on the biosynthesis of cortisol since the inhibition of cortisol biosynthesis may alleviate stress symptoms, thus validating the anti-stress potential of Rooibos.