Exercise, stress, ageing, cancer and obesity are some of the lifestyle challenges that feature prominently in the South African Rooibos Council’s R2 million research budget this year.
In addition to these health-focused projects, several more researchers will receive funding to explore the chemistry, composition and flavour profile of this unique African herbal tea, or to advance organic and environmentally friendly Rooibos farming.
The research is led by prominent, independent researchers at South African universities and science councils.
“The new knowledge generated by these research projects is of huge value to the industry,” says Mientjie Mouton, chair of the SARC’s product research committee. “In an increasingly competitive and regulated global market, it is becoming more and more important to substantiate centuries of anecdotal evidence about the health benefits of Rooibos with hard scientific facts.”
The South African Rooibos Council awards grants to local researchers, but encourages them to collaborate with experts around the world.
“Due to the growing interest in the health properties of natural products and specifically herbal teas, there are many more top biochemists around the world investigating Rooibos,” Mouton explains.
“During the past few years we have seen exciting and promising results about Rooibos and topics such as heart health and diabetes emerging from Sweden, Italy, Spain and Germany. Locally, SA Rooibos Council funding has contributed to major advances in our understanding of the health-promoting properties of Rooibos – specifically its ability to slow down and prevent various forms of cancer, as well as its potential to protect heart health in individuals at risk of cardiovascular disease.”
25.01.12, Cape Town