A group of Dutch researchers has demonstrated, for the first time, that Rooibos tea has strong antiviral activity against rotaviruses that cause serious infections, often with fatal consequences.
The research was carried out at the Danone Research Centre for Specialised Nutrition in Wageningen, the Utrecht Institute for Pharmaceutical Sciences and the Wilhelmina Children’s Hospital in Utrecht. The study was published in the Virology Journal and the full text is available online at http://www.virologyj.com/content/9/1/137.
The research team investigated 150 extracts with known nutritional uses to test its effect on rotaviruses. They found 11 extracts able to inhibit rotavirus, but only three, including Rooibos, were found to have strong and significant antiviral activity. They have concluded that these plant extracts, including Rooibos, are potentially useful in the treatment of rotavirus infections. Worldwide, rotaviruses are a leading cause of severe dehydrating diarrhoea in children under the age of five and cause the deaths of nearly half a million children younger than 5 every year. It is therefore important to find potent, accessible and widely affordable ways to restrain rotavirus and to treat patients.
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