rooibos tea might extend lifespan

Doug Skrecky (
Thu, 22 Apr 1999 21:11:31 -0700 (PDT)

Citations: 1-4

Shimoi K. Masuda S. Shen B. Furugori M. Kinae N. Institution
Laboratory of Food Hygiene, School of Food and Nutritional Sciences, University of Shizuoka, Japan.
Radioprotective effects of antioxidative plant flavonoids in mice. Source
Mutation Research. 350(1):153-61, 1996 Feb 19. Abstract
Radioprotective effects of tea infusions and plant flavonoids were investigated by using the micronucleus test for anticlastogenic activity and the thiobarbituric acid assay for antioxidative activity. A single gastric intubation of rooibos tea (Aspalathus linearis) infusion at 1 ml per mouse 2 h prior to gama-ray irradiation (1.5 Gy) reduced the frequency of micronucleated reticulocytes (MNRETs). After the fractionation of rooibos tea infusion, the flavonoid fraction was found to be most anticlastogenic and antioxidative. From this fraction, luteolin was isolated as an effective component. Then, anticlastogenic effects of 12 flavonoids containing luteolin and their antioxidative activities against lipid peroxidation by Fenton's reagent were examined. A good correlation (r=0.717) was observed between both activities. Luteolin showed the most effective potency. A gastric intubation of luteolin (10 micromoles/kg) 2 h prior to gamma-ray irradiation (6 Gy) suppressed lipid peroxidation in mouse bone marrow and spleen and a trend of protective effect of luteolin against the decrease of endogenous ascorbic acid in mouse bone marrow after gamma-ray irradiation (3 Gy) was observed. These results suggest that plant flavonoids, which show antioxidative potency in vitro, work as antioxidants in vivo and their radioprotective effects may be attributed to their scavenging potency towards free radicals such as hydroxyl radicals. Therefore, the flavonoids contained in tea, vegetables and fruits seem to be important as antioxidants in the human diet.


Inanami O. Asanuma T. Inukai N. Jin T. Shimokawa S. Kasai N. Nakano M. Sato F. Kuwabara M.
Faculty of Agriculture, Iwate University, Morioka, Japan. Title
The suppression of age-related accumulation of lipid peroxides in rat brain by administration of Rooibos tea (Aspalathus linearis). Source
Neuroscience Letters. 196(1-2):85-8, 1995 Aug 18. Abstract
The protective effects of Rooibos tea (RT), Aspalathus linearis, against damage to the central nervous system (CNS) accompanying aging were examined by both the thiobarbituric acid reaction (TBA) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) methods in brains of chronically RT-treated rats. Ad libitum administration of RT was begun with 3-month-old Wistar female rats and continued for 21 months. The contents of TBA reactive substances (TBARS) in the frontal cortex, occipital cortex, hippocampus and cerebellum in 24-month-old rats after administration with water were significantly higher than those in young rats (5 weeks old). However, no significant increase of TBARS was observed in RT-administered aged rats. When MR images of the brains of 24-month-old rats with and without RT as well as 5-week-old rats were taken, a decrease of the signal intensity was observed in the cerebral cortex, hippocampus and cerebellum in MR images of aged rats without RT, whereas little change of the signal intensity was observed in MR images of the same regions of 24-month-old rats treated with RT, whose images were similar to those of young rats. These observations suggested that (1) the age-related accumulation of lipid peroxides in the brain was closely related to the morphological changes observed by MRI, and (2) chronic RT-administration prevented age-related accumulation of lipid peroxides in several regions of rat brain.


Sasaki YF. Yamada H. Shimoi K. Kator K. Kinae N. Institution
Laboratory of Food Hygiene, School of Food and Nutritional Sciences, University of Shizuoka, Japan.
The clastogen-suppressing effects of green tea, Po-lei tea and Rooibos tea in CHO cells and mice.
Mutation Research. 286(2):221-32, 1993 Apr. Abstract
The suppressing effects of crude extracts of three kinds of tea-green tea (GT) from Japan, Po-lei tea (PT) from China, and Rooibos tea (RT) from South Africa-on the induction of chromosome aberrations in cultured CHO cells and mice were studied. When CHO cells were exposed to each tea extract in the presence of rat liver microsomal enzymes (S9 mix) together with benzo[a]pyrene (B(a)P) or mitomycin C (MMC), a decrease in the frequency of chromosome aberrations was observed. PT and RT, but not GT, also suppressed the induction of chromosome aberrations by MMC in the absence of S9 mix. When cells were treated with tea extract after B(a)P or MMC treatment, RT suppressed the induction of chromosome aberrations in the presence and absence of S9 mix whereas GT and PT showed suppressing effects only in the presence of S9 mix. These data suggest that catechines, well-known antimutagens in tea samples, might account for the inhibitory effect in the case of GT and PT. Since RT contains few catechines, several unknown antimutagenic components could be responsible for its effect. The antimutagenic effects of tea extracts at concentration levels consumed by humans were examined in mice using micronucleus induction with B(a)P or MMC. When mice received oral gavage of 0.2% GT, 0.1% PT, and 0.1% RT at 1.0 ml/mouse 6 h before intraperitoneal injection of MMC, a decrease in the frequency of micronuclei was observed. The induction of micronuclei by B(a)P was suppressed by oral dosage of GT, PT and RT at 1.0 ml/mouse/day for 28 days. This was not due to a delay in the maturation of micronucleated reticulocytes. In conclusion, intake of tea might suppress the mutagenic activity of certain potent mutagens in human beings.


Hesseling PB. Klopper JF. van Heerden PD. Title
[The effect of rooibos tea on iron absorption]. [Afrikaans] Source
South African Medical Journal. 55(16):631-2, 1979 Apr 14. Abstract
A study was carried out to determine if rooibos tea (Aspalathus linearis) has a deleterious effect on iron absorption similar to that of ordinary tea (Camellia sinensis). Three groups of volunteers, each consisting of 10 healthy young men comparable with regard to iron status and body dimensions, were studied. After ingestion of 1 muCi 59Fe and 16 mg of elemental iron, group A drank rooibos tea, group B ordinary tea and group C boiled water. Iron absorption was measured 14 days later with a whole body counter. Mean iron absorption after ingestion of rooibos tea, ordinary tea, and water was 7,25%, 1,70% and 9,34% respectively. In contrast to ordinary tea (P less than 0,0001), rooibos tea did not affect iron absorption significantly. The ascorbic acid content of rooibos tea varies between 121,8 and 154,9 mumol/l, depending on the method of preparation. Rooibos tea contains small amounts of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, chloride and potassium. These findings have practical nutritional and therapeutic implications.