Rooibos tea has the potential to prevent, delay and even reduce the progression of Type-2 diabetes, according to new research. The recent studies were conducted by the SA Medical Research Council (SAMRC) and its research partners, the Agricultural Research Council, (ARC, Infruitec-Neitvoorbij, Stellenbosch), the Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, the Polutechnic University of Marche (based in Italy) and the National Health Research Institutes in Taiwan.
Prof Christo Muller, chief specialist scientist at the SAMRC, who has led a number of research projects focusing on the effectiveness of rooibos in the treatment of Type-2 diabetes, confirms rooibos’ potential to help control diabetes, in conjunction with healthy lifestyle changes.
“Diabetes is among the most prevalent diseases of lifestyle in our time, with about one in 14 South Africans between the ages of 21 and 79 suffering from the condition. Many are also unaware that they have diabetes and are living with dangerously high blood sugar levels, increasing the likelihood of developing diabetic complications. Our research found that an aspalathin-enriched extract of green-rooibos effectively lowered raised blood glucose levels in diabetic rats.”
Muller adds that aspalathin, a unique phenolic compound (an element produced by the plant to protect itself from negative environmental factors) found only in the rooibos-plant, has been shown to contribute significantly to the biological benefits of rooibos. In a more recent study, just completed by Muller and his team of researchers, rooibos extract achieved significant glucose-lowering results in diabetic non-human primates, which has been described as a breakthrough discovery. These results will be published next year and human trials have been earmarked for 2018.
Muller says the local and international studies span more than 10 years’ worth of intensive work and point to the feasibility of developing a rooibos-based anti-diabetic nutraceutical. “Such a product could be of tremendous value to diabetics, given that it could reduce the risk of some side-effects of traditional pharmacological treatments that are currently on the market. Rooibos is a unique South African plant, which offers almost limitless health benefits. The plant’s medicinal properties continue to astound scientists. I believe we’ve only just scratched the surface of this local plants’ incredible healing potential,” he remarks.
The benefits of drinking rooibos tea:
- Improved insulin sensitivity;
- Reduced risk of developing Type-2 diabetes;
- Reduced risk of developing Type-2 diabetes-associated cardiovascular disease;
- Maintaining healthy blood pressure and;
- Preventing blood clots
For delicious diabetic-friendly recipes that include our beloved local tea, visit Cooking From The Heart at the following link.