rooibos tea may prevent cancer

Doug Skrecky (
Sun, 20 Sep 1998 00:35:17 -0700 (PDT)

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Komatsu K. Kator K. Mitsuda Y. Mine M. Okumura Y. Institution
Department of Radiation Biophysics, Nagasaki University School of Medicine, Japan.
Inhibitory effects of Rooibos tea, Aspalathus linealis, on X-ray-induced C3H10T1/2 cell transformation. Source
Cancer Letters. 77(1):33-8, 1994 Feb 28. Abstract
Oncogenic transformation of mouse C3H10T1/2 cells induced by X-rays was suppressed in the presence of extract of Rooibos tea, Aspalathus linealis. Transformation was reduced with increased concentration of the extract, so that at an extract concentration of 10%, transformation incidence was similar to the spontaneous level. Suppression was also dependent on treatment time with the extract and was maximal when present during the entire incubation period. In contrast, green tea extract at an equitoxic concentration showed no detectable effect on transformation incidence.


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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.