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Wednesday, 01 September 2021

Rooibos could play supportive role during pandemic

HEALTHY: A new article by CPUT researchers looks at whether Rooibos could play a supportive role during the Covid-19 pandemic. HEALTHY: A new article by CPUT researchers looks at whether Rooibos could play a supportive role during the Covid-19 pandemic.

An article by two CPUT researchers has focused attention on the supportive role South Africa’s indigenous herbal tea, Rooibos, could play during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The article by Dr Naeem Sheik Abdul and Prof Jeanine Marnewick from the Applied Microbial and Health Biotechnology Institute has been published in the Journal of Functional Foods.

It outlines “how Rooibos can potentially play a supportive role by modulating the risk of some of the comorbidities associated with COVID-19 in order to promote general health during infections”.

Sheik Abdul and Marnewick analysed peer-reviewed scientific studies published on Rooibos stemming from all over the world during the past 20 years and found several bioactivities being reported on, some perhaps also pertinent to the current pandemic.

“The bio-activities reported on include the antioxidant capacity of rooibos stemming from its composition of unique polyphenols and other bio-active compounds, it also reported on the anti-inflammatory properties, as well as the beneficial effect on blood glucose levels, aberrant cholesterol profiles, reshaping the gut microflora, decreasing oxidative stress and increasing the body’s own antioxidant molecule, glutathione, all aspects that have been identified as being affected in one way or another by the SARS-COV-2 virus and/or disease,” the two scientists explained.

They added that scientists from the Durban University of Technology have done computer simulation and cell culture studies and suggested the use of rooibos compounds as a promising platform for developing anti-viral drug(s) in the future.

“When considering all these Rooibos bio-activities reported on, it can be put to good use as a supportive dietary mechanism to assist our bodies to strengthen our antioxidant defences and ensuring a redox balance is maintained within our bodies. By modulating certain risks, it is proposed to promote general health.”

The scientists pointed out that Rooibos is not a substitute for any clinical treatment, but rather falls within the realm of a Functional Food, a term first coined by the Japanese in the 1980s, being a food or beverage with additional function than originally proposed.

“The next step will be to put Rooibos to the test and confirm these bio-activities within the context of the current pandemic.”

Written by Ilse Fredericks

Email: Frederickskennediji@cput.ac.za