New evidence that rooibos can protect and support the liver

A recent study at the Oxidative Stress Research Centre, Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), has proven the ability of rooibos to improve liver function and protect the liver against oxidative damage.

Photo: Dr Wale Ajuwon preparing a dried green rooibos extract.

Photo: Dr Wale Ajuwon preparing a dried green rooibos extract.

6 June 2013

In this 10-week study, 80 male rats were treated with a liver-damaging chemical known as t-BHP (Tert-butyl hydroperoxide). The study showed that giving these rats access to rooibos (instead of water) helped to protect the liver against structural, enzymatic and biochemical damage, and could even reverse some of the damage already present in the liver. The findings of the study have been published in the journal “Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine”. The full scientific paper is available online at

“These findings provide biological evidence that Rooibos can protect the liver and that it has potential to be used as a supporting treatment for liver disorders,” says Dr Wale Ajuwon, researcher at CPUT, who led this investigation as part of his doctoral study.

“Liver diseases and drug-induced liver injuries are a leading cause of death around the world, and synthetic drugs used to treat liver disorders often cause further damage to the liver,” Dr Ajuwon points out. “That is why it is so exciting to present this evidence that rooibos can be used as a liver protector and an adjuvant therapy for the treatment and management of liver disorders.”

“Although this study was done in animals, they give us insight into mechanisms of what might be taking place in the human body and I believe that they are useful to make recommendations to people.”

Dr Ajuwon came to South Africa in 2010 to study at CPUT. Three years later he is an avid rooibos fan and is now also encouraging his friends and family in Nigeria to have at least six cups of rooibos every day. “I encourage them to drink rooibos, because it is safe and contains a plethora of polyphenolic antioxidants that have been shown scientifically to have beneficial effects,” he says.

Dr Ajuwon studied at CPUT under the leadership of Prof Jeanine Marnewick, one of South Africa’s foremost researchers in the field of rooibos and oxidative stress.

This study was funded by CPUT.

Issued by Meropa, on behalf of the SA Rooibos Council.

It’s official – rooibos is good for your liver

A study proving that rooibos can improve liver function and protect the liver against oxidative damage made headlines this week.

News of the findings by the Oxidative Stress Research Centre at Cape Peninsula University of Technology was carried in a number of print titles and news, lifestyle and trade websites including The Cape Argus, IOL, Health24 and Foodstuffs SA.

Proposed trademark regulation a ‘milestone’ for the Rooibos industry

The publication of proposed regulations to protect the name Rooibos is an important first step in achieving international protection for the iconic South African plant and preventing misuse of the generic name…

The publication of proposed regulations to protect the name Rooibos is an important first step in achieving international protection for the iconic South African plant and preventing misuse of the generic name, says the South African Rooibos Council.

The Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC), a member of the Department of Trade and Industry published on 12 July 2013 published a notice for public comment in the Government Gazette which proposes regulations to protect the use of the name in terms of the Merchandise Marks Act.

This development is a culmination of the Rooibos Council’s years of research, collating information and lobbying. If approved it will be the first regulation to protect Rooibos for South Africa. The Government Gazette notice coincided with an attempt by a second French company to register Rooibos as part of their trademark.

According to Martin Bergh, a director of the Rooibos Council, the objectives of the regulation are twofold.

South Africa can only apply for international protection against overseas companies attempting to register or copyright the name Rooibos if it is protected locally in the country of origin. The other is to maintain the integrity of the brand by preventing marketers making misleading claims or insinuating that Rooibos is a substantial ingredient in a product if it is not.

“This is the start of a process which will ultimately enable us to apply for Geographical Indicator status, much like Champagne, Darjeeling Tea and Colombian Coffee. This will prevent future instances of overseas companies attempting to trademark the generic brand name for their own exclusive commercial gain,” he says.

Other indigenous products which have been grappling with similar issues of trademark protection are Karoo Lamb and Honeybush.

Dry rooibos and extracts, liquors and infusions of the plant are used in a variety of products including herbal teas, fruit juices and other foodstuffs as well as health and beauty products. It is a popular ingredient in food products because it is a good carrier of flavours and has well-publicised health benefits. Its anti-ageing potential and proven skin protection and anti-allergenic characteristics are amongst the properties which make it attractive to cosmetic manufacturers.

“The Rooibos Council’s mandate is to grow the industry, so these regulations are not intended in any way to inhibit companies from using Rooibos in their products. What we do want to prevent is spurious or misleading claims that products contain Rooibos and by implication deliver its benefits if they do not,” explains Bergh.

The notice clearly states holders of prior trademarks in Rooibos will not be affected by the notice. In terms of the proposed regulations any manufacturer may use the name Rooibos provided they comply with the rules of use as stipulated. If it is comprised of more than 50% Rooibos it can be described as a Rooibos product. If not, it can only claim to contain Rooibos and declaring the actual Rooibos contents on the label.

“The South African Rooibos industry has long been asking for protection of the name Rooibos and these proposed regulations are the first milestone in achieving that. The regulations also seek to ensure that consumers are able to make an informed choice when buying products containing Rooibos.”

Clinical Trials

9 November 2007

The first clinical trial to investigate the health benefits of Rooibos in adults, especially people at risk of developing heart disease, is underway in Cape Town. Forty-one men and women, between 30 to 60 years, are participating in the 14-week trial. The research leader is Dr Jeanine Marnewick, a senior researcher in the Antioxidant Research Group at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT). The South Africa Rooibos Council is announcing this study in Cape Town today (9 November 2007) at its first Rooibos Science Café, held at the MTN ScienCentre in Cape Town. The Council co-funds the research on behalf of its industry members…. [Read more on the link below]

Announcement of first clinical trials at Science Café, at MTN ScienCentre, Cape Town, on 9 Nov 2007 (PDF file)

See the press photos of this event on our Photo Gallery , or  Download high resolution press photos (9.9Mb Zip file)


12 November 2007

The first clinical trial to determine the potential health benefits of Rooibos in adults at risk of heart disease was announced in Cape Town on Friday 9 November 2007. More than 150 guests, including several science journalists and health writers, attended South Africa’s first ever Rooibos Science Café at the MTN ScienCentre in Canal Walk Mall. The event was hosted by the South African Rooibos Council, a co-funder of some of the research projects.

The clinical trial on Rooibos is run by Dr Jeanine Marnewick, a senior researcher in the Antioxidant Research Group at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. A panel of researchers joined Dr Marnewick to present their findings on Rooibos health research, based on work done in the laboratory. The presentations were followed by a lively discussion with the audience about Rooibos and health.

Dr Marnewick emphasised the following health benefits, already known and proven for Rooibos.
– It is naturally caffeine free;
– It has a low tannin content;
– It has a unique mix of antioxidants;
– It has powerful antioxidant and cancer-fighting properties;
– It protects living cells against oxidative stress;
– It can slow down the development of skin cancer.

To date Rooibos health research focused on laboratory work and animal studies. The challenge now is to verify these health benefits in people.

Dr Marnewick and her team decided to focus on the potential benefit of Rooibos in heart disease, because it is one of the top five causes of death in South Africa. She outlined the clinical trial in which 41 adults are participating (including herself). This pioneering study focuses on the potential of Rooibos to protect against oxidative stress and inflammation associated with the development of heart disease in people. Each participant in the trial has one or more risk factors for developing heart disease, but not at a level requiring medication. Examples of these risk factors include raised serum cholesterol levels, pre-hypertension, overweight/obesity, inactive lifestyle or a family history of coronary heart disease.

During a 16-week period participants had to follow a restricted diet to exclude other antioxidants as far as possible. Their food and drink intake, as well as blood test results, were closely monitored during the trial. During a key part of the study the participants drank six cups of Rooibos per day. At other times they drank mainly water and beverages without significant antioxidant content. The researchers will now compare their test results for these different periods. Results are expected by mid 2008.

Rooibos health research at the MRC

In her presentation on research about the antimutagenic (cancer-fighting) properties of Rooibos, Dr Kareemah Gamieldien of the Medical Research Council (MRC) also elaborated on the extensive range of anecdotal evidence about the health benefits of Rooibos. These include that Rooibos is an effective antidote for vomiting, stomach cramps, lack of appetite and chronic restlessness. Many people also believe in the anti-ageing, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic properties of Rooibos. She told the audience how she bathes her own baby daughter in Rooibos tea, because she found that it helped to soothe and relieve skin conditions, including eczema, but this local knowledge must still be proven in the lab.

MRC researchers already have evidence confirming that Rooibos protects against DNA damage and oxidative damage in living cells, and that Rooibos can significantly reduce the number and size of skin tumours. Their current research focuses on the ability of Rooibos to slow down and possibly treat skin cancer and cancer of the oesophagus. So far they have confirmed that traditional and green Rooibos can significantly reduce the number and size of papillomas (cancerous growths) in laboratory rats. They also grow human skin and oesophageal cancer cells in the laboratory and have found that that Rooibos inhibits cancer by interfering with the energy production in cancer cells, thereby slowing down the growth of these cells. The overall results show that green Rooibos is an even more powerful anti-cancer agent than traditional Rooibos. Based on these encouraging results, the team is now working on a Rooibos-based skin product to treat skin cancer.

What happens to Rooibos in the body?

Debora van der Merwe, a doctoral student in Food Science at Stellenbosch University, presented her research on what happens to the active ingredients of Rooibos in the body and why it is important to know?

She explained that increasingly sophisticated consumers and international markets require the anecdotal evidence about the health benefits of Rooibos to be backed up by scientific evidence. They are therefore focusing on finding out whether the antioxidants in Rooibos are absorbed, and whether they are metabolised (or changed) in the body. Metabolism can make these active compounds more effective or less effective as antioxidants, depending on the changes that take place. If the antioxidants are not absorbed, they cannot contribute to antioxidant activity in the body.

Rooibos contains a rare phenolic compound, called aspalathin. To date, aspalathin has only been found in Rooibos, contributing to its uniqueness. Aspalathin is a potent antioxidant in test tube studies, but the team is now looking for evidence of its antioxidant activity in the body. Her research to date already showed that aspalathin can be metabolised by the liver. This research will form the basis of future trials investigating the importance of aspalathin as a health promoting compound.

Rooibos questions

The science café concluded with a session where the audience could engage with the researchers and debate some questions around the health benefits of Rooibos. For this session, two senior researchers with years of Rooibos research to their credit joined the panel. They were Professor Wentzel Gelderblom of the MRC and Professor Lizette Joubert of the Agricultural Research Council. Some of the key points from the Q&A session:

– While the antioxidant activity of Rooibos may be lower than that of black tea, Rooibos has the significant health advantage of being naturally caffeine free.
– Because Rooibos is low in tannin compared to black tea, it does not bind iron to the same extent as black tea. Some more research is needed to determine the extent to which the polyphenols in Rooibos may also bind iron.
– Research abroad showed that Rooibos can protect the liver and is recommended for people with chronic liver problems. More research is needed on its possible anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties.
– There is no conclusive evidence yet about whether adding milk to Rooibos tea will affect its antioxidant activity in the body. Researchers investigating this issue for black tea found varying results.

The Rooibos Science Café is an initiative of the South African Rooibos Council to make research on the health benefits of Rooibos widely accessible. The Council co-funds some of the research on behalf of its industry members. Funding also comes from CANSA, the Medical Research Council, the Agricultural Research Council and the National Research Foundation in South Africa.

– END –
Issued by:
South African Rooibos Council
Enquiries: Soekie Snyman; Mobile: 082-6497077; Email:


18 November 2008

When: Wednesday 26 November 2008, 10:00 for 10:30
Where: MTN ScienCentre, Canal Walk Mall, Cape Town

At the Rooibos Science Café on 26 November 2008, the preliminary findings of a clinical trial designed to determine whether Rooibos reduces the risk of heart disease development will be announced.

The trial (entitled “Modulation of blood oxidative stress markers by Rooibos in volunteers at risk for coronary heart disease”) was conducted by Dr Jeanine Marnewick, senior researcher at the Oxidative Stress Research Centre at Cape Peninsula University of Technology in Cape Town South Africa.

Forty men and women between 30 and 60 years old participated in the study. Each participant had two or more of the following cardiovascular disease risk factors: raised cholesterol, raised blood pressure, smoking, increased body mass index (BMI 20 – 35) and/or family history but did not need any oral medication for these conditions. The actual risk of each participant was determined using a calculation based on the well-known multi-year Framingham heart disease trial based on the patient’s age, gender, smoking status, blood pressure, triglycerides and HDL cholesterol (so-called “good cholesterol”). A person with two major risk factors has a risk of heart disease or stroke six times as great as a person with no risk factors. With three factors, the risk of cardiovascular disease is 20 times as great.

Participants had to drink six cups of Rooibos per day for six weeks, with the six cups spread across the day. In order to maintain a high degree of consistency, the preparation was standardized as 2% weight of dried Rooibos to volume of water. Each cup consisted of 200 ml boiling water added to one Rooibos tea bag, brewed for five minutes before drinking. Subjects drank the Rooibos with or without milk and/or sugar, as previous research on green and black teas (from the tea plant, Camellia sinensis) have demonstrated that milk does not eliminate the increase in plasma antioxidant activity in humans. 1 (The class of beneficial antioxidant chemicals found in Rooibos, black and green tea, and chocolate are called flavonoids; the flavonoids in Rooibos are different from those in tea and chocolate.) The six-cup amount of Rooibos consumed by participants in this trial was based on a human trial published in 2003 where the consumption of 6 cups of green tea increased the antioxidant capacity in the blood of human subjects.2

In a study of this type, it is important to modify the diet of participants in order to remove the consumption of other flavonoid-rich foods which may confuse the study results. To do this, the participants were requested to omit flavonoid-rich beverages (red wine, black or green tea and/or herbal teas, coffee, fruit juices, etc.) and to restrict flavonoid-rich foods (grape products, citrus fruits and their juices, berries and their juices, apples, onions, broccoli, etc.) from their diet for two
weeks before initiation of the intervention study. (Analysis of participants’ fasted blood samples taken after this period served as a baseline standard to help determine the extent of participant compliance with the study guidelines.)

Funding for this study came from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, National Research Foundation (Technology and Human Resources for Industry – THRIP – project), and the South African Rooibos Council.

The results of this clinical trial will now be submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. Also on the menu at the Rooibos Science Café is a presentation by Dr Carl Albrecht of CANSA on ten years of research on the anti-cancer properties of Rooibos, as well as a honeybush overview by Professor Lizette Joubert of the Agricultural Research Council.

Issued by the SA Rooibos Council

RSVP & enquiries: Marina Joubert, 083409 4254;

1. Leenen R, Roodenburg AJ, Tijburg LB, Wiseman SA. A single dose of tea with or without milk increases plasma antioxidant activity in humans. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2000;54(1):87-92.
2. Rietveld A, Wiseman S. Antioxidant effects of tea: evidence from human clinical trials. J Nutr. 2003;133(10):3285S-3292S

Issued by:
South African Rooibos Council
Enquiries: Soekie Snyman; 082-6497077; Email:
Interviews: Dr Jeanine L Marnewick, CPUT
Tel: 021-460 8314; Fax: 021-460 3193; Mobile: 082-8979352; Email:

Background information on Rooibos science and industry:



February 2009: Statistics show that one in four South Africans will be affected by cancer in his or her lifetime, and according to the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA), this disease will be the leading cause of death globally in 2010. With 12 million new cases of cancer diagnosed last year alone, the pressure is mounting to better understand the development of cancer and ways in which you could protect yourself against it. Rooibos, a tea grown exclusively in South Africa, may just hold some of the answers.

“We have been investigating the effect of Rooibos on various kinds of cancer for years and have been able to prove the benefits of Rooibos in preventing or slowing down different kinds of cancer,” says Dr Jeanine Marnewick of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology who also worked on Rooibos and cancer at the Medical Research Council (MRC) for many years. “We have found that Green Rooibos, the unfermented version of the tea, significantly inhibits the growth of cancer cells, and that traditional Rooibos also achieves this effect, albeit at a slightly lower rate.” Dr Wentzel Gelderblom, an authority on cancer chemoprevention using herbal teas, continues to lead this research effort at the MRC.

In 2008 a leading, international research journal (the Journal of Ethnopharmacology) published a 37-page review of more than fifty years of Rooibos research. It confirms that Rooibos is a great source of flavonoid antioxidants which have many positive effects. “Oxidative stress plays a role in the development of a whole range of diseases, including cancer, strokes, heart and liver disease, diabetes and Alzheimer’s,” explains Dr Marnewick.

Dr Carl Albrecht, Head of Research at CANSA, says that CANSA is impressed with the ongoing Rooibos research which it supports financially. “We believe that there is a strong case to be made that Rooibos could help to prevent cancer. This has been shown in animals and we look forward to similar work in humans in the future. In this regard it is very promising that it has been shown that six cups of Rooibos per day have significantly increased the body’s own anti-oxidant, called glutathione, in humans. Glutathione is known to prevent cancer.”

Cancer develops in different stages. When a living cell is excessively exposed to external factors like cigarette smoke, alcohol, the sun, pesticides, chemicals, viruses or even a high fat or high salt diet, its DNA may be damaged. These external factors are known as mutagens, and the process is called mutagenesis. With even more exposure to these external factors, the cell may lose its ability to control the growth process and thus becomes a cancer cell. If the exposure continues, the cancer cell can start to multiply and form a mass of cells, called a tumor.

Dr Marnewick explains that Rooibos protects against cancer in different ways:
1. Rooibos reduces cancer-associated changes in cells by protecting them against DNA damage or mutagenesis. Rooibos contains quercetin, luteolin and orientin – potent anti-oxidants that scavenge free radicals that damage the DNA of the cells. Rooibos’ anti-oxidants bind to the free radicals and inactivate them before they can cause damage.
2. Rooibos may prevent a cell with damaged DNA from becoming a cancerous cell.
3. Rooibos may prevent cancerous cells from multiplying into masses and creating cancerous tumors.
4. Rooibos increases the level of natural anti-oxidants in the liver, which means that the liver’s anti-oxidant status is improved.
5. Rooibos also helps the liver to get rid of compounds that can cause cancer.

Cancer is one of the most feared diseases of our time. It is therefore excellent news that uniquely South African Rooibos, a product that is widely available and very affordable, can play such an important role in cancer prevention. On top of its cancer-fighting properties, Rooibos also helps to fight heart disease, skin irritations, irritability and many more ailments.

About South African Rooibos Council & Rooibos
The Rooibos Council was established in April 2005 as a non-profit organisation to promote the interests of the South African Rooibos industry locally and internationally – including all products manufactured from Rooibos. South Africans have been enjoying Rooibos for generations, but not just for the refreshing taste… one of the major selling points in SA and aboard is its natural goodness and heath benefits. Find out more about its history and health properties at

Researchers to contact for media interviews

Dr Jeanine Marnewick
Manager: Oxidative Stress Research Centre Cape Peninsula University of Technology Faculty of Health and Wellness Sciences
Tel: +27 21 460 8314
Mobile: +27(0)828979352

Dr Carl Albrecht
Head: Research
Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA)
Tel: +27 21 976 5389 (home office)
Mobile: +27(0)84-208 5150


Medical Chronicle, January 2009, Page 8
By Greer van Zyl

The health benefits of Rooibos have been proclaimed for a number of years. Now in the first scientifically validated work on Rooibos and heart disease, researchers in the Cape Peninsula have found that the herbal tea is particularly effective at reducing oxidative damage to lipids, thus helping to prevent or slow down atherosclerosis.

The clinical trial by Dr Jeanine Marnewick, and her team at the Oxidative Stress Research Centre at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, also generated the first human safety data in a controlled clinical trial envi- ronment, scientifically showing that short-term consumption of Rooibos is safe for the liver and kidneys, while keeping blood pressure and cholesterol levels in a normal range. The researchers measured the effect of Rooibos by examining two markers which are indicators of oxidative lipid damage, namely conjugated dienes (CDs) and malondialdehydes (MDAs). They found a decrease of nearly 35% in CDs in the blood of the Rooibos-drinking participants and a 50% decrease in MDAs. Oxidative damage in lipids is regarded as an important step in the development of atherosclerosis. CDs are formed during the early stages of oxidation, while MDAs are oxidation end products of polyunsaturated fatty acids that cause defects in protein synthesis and enzyme inactivation in human cells.

Patients with coronary artery disease usually have a higher MDA level than normal. Forty men and women aged between 30 and 60 years, each with two or more risk factors for developing heart disease, participated in the study by drinking six cups of Rooibos per day for six weeks. (The six-cup amount was determined by a trial of green tea consumption in 2003, which increased the antioxidant capac- ity in the blood of human subjects.1) The tea was brewed for five minutes before drinking, with or without milk and/or sugar. The participants were required to remove other flavonoid-rich foods from their diets to ensure the health effects could be ascribed to Rooibos only. “We also monitored oxidative stress by measuring the ratio of oxidised vs reduced glutathione (GSH) in the blood. Our results show a significant improvement – and therefore decreased risk of heart disease – in the study participants,” explained Dr Marnewick.

She is preparing to submit the work to an international peer-reviewed journal, and will pursue the research by examining genetic dif- ferences between the study participants to as- to Rooibos. In the field of cancer research, she will investigate how the bio-active compounds in Rooibos prevent DNA damage, and how Rooibos impacts on stress levels by measuring changes in cortisol in the blood. Mientjie Mouton, director of the SA Rooibos Council’s product research portfolio, hopes the results of the study will help increase the relevance of Rooibos as a safe and affordable way to reduce heart disease in SA. “We are committed to investing in world- class research in order to verify where and how Rooibos is most effective and how people can benefit from this unique South African product,” she said during the launch of the results at the Rooibos Science Café in Cape Town. Head of research of the Cancer Associa- tion of SA (CANSA), Dr Carl Albrecht, also presented 10 years of research done with the Medical Research Council on the anti-cancer properties of Rooibos which was funded by CANSA to the tune of R1m. “Indications are strong that Rooibos may also have anti-cancer properties due to the rais- ing of GSH which has been shown to protect against cancer. Rooibos doubled the GSH levels in the participants of the heart disease study,” he told Medical Chronicle. Funding for the heart disease study came from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, the National Research Foundation, and the SA Rooibos Council.

1. Rietveld A, Wiseman S. Antioxidant effects of tea: evidence from human clinical trials.


21 July 2009

Just like boerewors, braais, melktert and biltong, Rooibos tea has become part of South Africa’s way of life and is considered by many as our national beverage. Grown exclusively in the Cape Province’s Fynbos region, this unique South African plant is recognised across the world for its contribution to a healthy lifestyle, its many health properties, versatility and refreshing taste.

In June 2008 Reader’s Digest South Africa celebrated 60 years of publishing in South Africa by featuring 60 reasons for us to remember why South Africa is unique. Reason 7 read, “Best Bush. Rooibos is a uniquely South African tea now exported all over the world”. There is no alternative source of supply anywhere in the world. Rooibos’ exclusivity of growth in South Africa is a natural heritage that certainly calls for recognition.

In 1999, when the Rooibos brand was under threat by American businesses wanting to trademark the name, the argument was that Rooibos tea is part of the heritage of this country. To protect the Rooibos trademark, the South African Rooibos Council, with the support of the Western Cape’s Departments of Agriculture, and Economic Development & Tourism, as well as the University of Pretoria, is working on securing Geographical Indicator (GI) certification so that Rooibos can only be called Rooibos if it comes from the Fynbos region (just like Champagne and Parma ham).

For centuries, Rooibos tea was consumed by locals of the Cederberg region who were the first to have discovered that the needle-like Rooibos leaves can be used to make a refreshing brew that enhanced health. Generations of South Africans have since been aware of the health properties and versatility of Rooibos.

Today, these qualities are also being embraced by a rapidly growing number of loyal Rooibos drinkers internationally. Many varieties of Rooibos teas are available in grocery, specialty and natural food stores throughout the US, Canada, Europe and Japan. The Japanese have shown particular interest in this tea, and have named it “Long Life Tea” because of its anti-ageing properties, and continue to carry out research into its properties and benefits.

In Malaysia, there is a museum that was established in honour of Rooibos. The “Dr Nortier Rooibos Museum”, opened in June 2000, is named after Dr Le Fras Nortier, a South African medical doctor who promoted the agricultural potential of Rooibos to the world. The museum showcases the history, production and uses of Rooibos, as well as some of the cultural history of South Africa, especially of the Cape Malays.

Many people in South Africa don’t know that Rooibos is unique to our country and even fewer people know that it is actually part of our famous Fynbos kingdom. We as South Africans should be very proud of this special plant of ours and should honour it as a uniquely and proudly South African resource that makes a generous contribution towards our economy. Why not brew a pot of Rooibos to celebrate this Heritage Day?

About South African Rooibos Council & Rooibos
The Rooibos Council was established in April 2005 as a non-profit organisation to promote the interests of the South African Rooibos industry locally and internationally – including all products manufactured from Rooibos. South Africans have been enjoying Rooibos for generations, but not just for the refreshing taste… one of the major selling points in SA and abroad is its natural goodness and heath benefits. Find out more about its history and health properties at


International and local celebrities such as golfer Gary Player, supermodel Cindy Crawford, acclaimed actor Sir Anthony Hopkins, actress Lerato Moloi, and singer James Morrison all love Rooibos. Even President Jacob Zuma is a fan!

Rooibos is internationally renowned for its versatility and numerous health benefits, but did you know that the herb which grows exclusively in a small area in the Cape has a major celebrity following? International and local celebs such as golfer Gary Player, supermodel Cindy Crawford, acclaimed actor Sir Anthony Hopkins, actress Lerato Moloi, singer James Morrison, and Duran Duran front man Simon Le Bon all love Rooibos and its unique properties. Even President Jacob Zuma is a fan – when asked what would be the first thing he did in office, he simply replied “Drink a cup of Rooibos tea with honey and lemon!”
Rooibos has also found its way into books with Precious Ramotswe, the lead character in Alexander McCall Smith’s best-selling series The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency, saying “This is a tea for people who really appreciate tea. Ordinary tea is for anyone”. In the books Ramotswe always serves Rooibos tea to her clients and guests. A television mini-series, now available on our screens, has been adapted from the books, which is set to make Rooibos even more famous.
The Rooibos brand has a strong following even in countries as far away as Canada where a local band, The Stills, have titled one of their songs “Rooibos”, after the lead singer’s fondness for the tea.
Some Hollywood A-listers that recognize the varied uses and benefits of Rooibos are Catherine Zeta Jones and Angelina Jolie. At the wedding of Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas, they served Rooibos flavoured ice-cream. Angelina Jolie’s perfect pout is lathered with a lip balm that boasts Rooibos and a variety of other unusual ingredients.
Oprah Winfrey is another Rooibos fan. In a recent interview with celebrity doctor, Mehmet Oz, she said “I love Rooibos tea because it’s decaffeinated.”
The South African Rooibos Council says “We are very proud of this trend-setting treasure of ours.” Rooibos seems to be gaining in popularity daily. In South Africa alone, there are well over 20 million cups of Rooibos tea drunk every year. Rooibos even has a loyal following on Facebook with over 4000 fans and group members.