Sedentary life and questionable dietary choices are causing an increase of the so called metabolic disease, namely a condition in which many factors coexist such as high values of blood pressure and blood sugar, increase of the waistline, high values of triglycerides and bad cholesterol. In the long term, this may cause an increase of the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. For this reason, research is focusing its attention on all those natural remedies that may be helpful in this case. Among these remedies, it seems that rooibos tea may be beneficial, according to a study published a few months ago in the journal Planta medica (Johnson et al, 2018).
Rooibos tea is obtained through water infusion of the leaves of the plant Aspalathus linearis. This plant is considered, until now, the only natural source of a substance called aspalathin. Aspalathin has a powerful antioxidant action and, on the basis of the research, it is beneficial in case of type 2 diabetes and obesity since it is able to improve glucose tolerance, to stimulate insulin secretion, to reduce the levels of blood sugar but also those of cholesterol LDL, the so called bad cholesterol, and triglycerides while it increases the values of good or HDL cholesterol. The mechanism of action is not still well understood but on one point the studies are certain, that aspalathin is hydrosoluble, this means that rooibos tea contains this precious substance. However, a consideration should be done. The type of rooibos tea that contains the highest quantity of aspalathin is the green, or unfermented, rooibos, while the most known variant, namely the red or fermented rooibos, contain aspalathin but in a lower quantity. Both these types of tea may be found in herbalist’s shops.
Research is still at its very beginning and other work remains to do, in particular, scientists have to investigate eventual interactions between the tea and medicines.