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Can Rooibos really prevent and treat heart disease?

A number of studies have been done, articles have been written but the question still has not been fully answered.

by: Pumelela Ntsezo | 15 Sep 2017

Rooibos tea is South African staple loved across the country as much as it is loved across the world. The tea, which is grown in the Western Cape and nowhere else, is known for its earthy-red colour and lack of bitterness. However, in the past years it has been known for something else; the possibility of it lessening chances of getting heart disease. 

Heart disease is number 2 on the list of diseases that take the most lives in South Africa and the continent at large, the first being HIV/AIDS. 

Speaking to Eyewitness News; Dr Davie van Velden said "the prevalence of major heart risk factors behind cardiovascular disease has increased substantially in the last decade. Across the world, we are seeing a huge move towards alternative and more natural ways of treating illnesses, such as heart disease, which is primarily a result of poor lifestyle behaviours. These natural methods include everything from diet, exercise, smoking cessation to distressing via music therapy, meditation, and even drinking home-brewed rooibos tea,”. The natural methods are not anything new as health experts have been advocating for incorporating alternative ways to prevent and treat heart disease for the past few years. 

The studies that academics have undertaken, shed a little more light and aim to make the everyday man understand just exactly how Rooibos can prevent and or treat heart diseases. A swedish study has been the favourable source for many people including publication such as Eyewitness news; 'A study conducted in Sweden found that 30 to 60 minutes after drinking 400ml of Rooibos, the activity of the angiotensin-converting enzyme or ACE is significantly suppressed. This enzyme is believed to be involved in the development of heart disease and therefore ACE inhibitors are often prescribed to treat hypertension and heart disease.' 

The SA Rooibos  website goes into more technical details of how Rooibos can be said to aid in the treatment of heart diseases: 'Chrysoeriol, an antioxidant in Rooibos, can prevent and treat vascular disease in people. This is the latest findings from scientists in Japan where Rooibos has been extensively researched in the past 20 years.

Although chrysoeriol is not the most abundant antioxidant in Rooibos, we are now beginning to understand its other properties that may contribute to the overall health benefits of Rooibos,” Professor Jeanine Marnewick, specialist researcher at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology commented after reviewing these latest findings from Japan. As scientists unravel the health contributions of the complex mix of compounds in Rooibos, we are finding more and more evidence to substantiate the traditional uses of Rooibos as a remedy for a variety of ailments'. What this essentially means is that the antioxidants we love Rooibos for, have health benefits that (while you take the prescribed medication) will help lessen the chances of you getting a heart disease, working together with your medication. 

The Irish times reiterate this and also mention that " The small amount of research conducted to date indicates that rooibos tea may have beneficial effects that can be linked to heart disease. However, the studies have examined various biomarkers for disease and not the impact on heart disease itself. Such effects are similar to the sorts of general benefits to be expected from consuming more plant products". Basically, while Rooibos tea can aid your heart health, you cannot depend on it and hope it will heal you. However, pairing your medication, and healthy eating with a few cups of Rooibos a day, can help.

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Read more on: rooibos  |  tea  |  health

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