The pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries have long sought to restore and reverse the effects of ageing, now scientists are investigating whether Rooibos may hold some answers… The contention that this indigenous plant could be beneficial in countering the effects of time is not far-fetched. The most accepted theory of ageing is the free-radical hypothesis. Rooibos is rich in antioxidants, which bind with free radicals and prevent them from damaging cells.

Numerous local and international studies have proved that the antioxidants in Rooibos slow down and prevent various forms of cancer, reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke and provide a plethora of other health benefits. Currently, research is being led by prominent, independent researchers at South African universities and science councils on Rooibos’ anti-ageing properties. And the local researchers are encouraged to collaborate with experts around the world.

Professor Maryna van de Venter of the Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology is investigating the potential influence that the antioxidants contained in Rooibos may have on molecular mechanisms thought to cause preadipocyte dysfunction. Preventing this may slow or even reverse age-related adipose redistribution and associated cosmetic changes and health risks.

The findings will contribute to our understanding of the health benefits of Rooibos and provide much-needed scientific evidence to substantiate its anti-ageing properties, beyond what is already known about its antioxidant capacity.

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