Scientists at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, have discovered that the local “wonder herb” is effective in protecting against the degeneration of preadipocytes, the predominant cells found in fat tissue, and therefore could reverse the onset of age-related diseases and even keep wrinkles at bay.
“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 many age-related diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes and cancer,” said lead researcher Professor Maryna van de Venter. “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.”
She told the Joburg East Express that as well as those more serious conditions, loss of fat under the skin also results in the appearance of wrinkles, sunken eyes, and skin folds. To put it in simple terms, she said, “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.”
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.
Co-researcher, Dr. Trevor Koekemoer noted that further research is needed to establish the best route of administration, which will ultimately determine the potential for new product development, specifically aimed at targeting healthy fat tissue.
The just-released research study was commissioned by the Rooibos Council in 2012.
Rooibos is native to the Cederberg region of the Western Cape of South Africa. Made from the leaves of the Aspalathus linearis (or “red bush”) plant, rooibos tea is enjoying a surge in popularity globally, due largely to its well-known health benefits.
According to rooibostea.com, the many antioxidants and minerals in rooibos tea make it an extremely healthy choice for tea drinkers, and these include markedly better skin. It is an effective antibacterial and is thought to help with eczema, acne, and the effects of aging due to its abundance of the enzyme superoxide dismutase.