New evidence proving that people can absorb the active compounds in Rooibos tea

A new collaborative study between researchers at two German universities (Leibniz University and Braunschweig Technical University) confirmed that the active compounds in Rooibos tea can be absorbed and broken down by the human body. These new findings about the bioavailability of Rooibos help scientists to understand and explain the multitude of health benefits that Rooibos tea offers, including protection against heart disease and cancer.

The researchers took blood and urine samples of 12 healthy male volunteers before and after drinking Rooibos. They found several metabolites (breakdown products) of the key antioxidants in rooibos – aspalathin and nothofagin. They also found intact aspalathin, proving that humans can absorb aspalathin into the bloodstream, even if only at low levels. Aspalathin is the major flavonoid in rooibos. It is a novel compound (found only in Rooibos), but also the most active antioxidant in Rooibos in many cases.

Scientific reference: Breiter, T., Laue, C., Kressel, G., Groll, S., Engelhardt, U.H., Hahn, A., Bioavailability and antioxidant potential of rooibos flavonoids in humans following the consumption of different rooibos formulations, Food Chemistry (2011), in press.

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2 replies
  1. Asp Hua
    Asp Hua says:

    The key words are “if only at low levels”. How low would it have to be before it is ineffective?

  2. Rooibos Council
    Rooibos Council says:

    Dear Asp Hua

    Thank you for your enquiry relating to the levels of active compounds in Rooibos tea. We would like to suggest that you contact the researchers directly in order to obtain a full copy of the research study. Unfortunately the complete research article has copyright restrictions which prevents direct access to the article. Herewith the link to the article on the Science Direct website, which will also provide you access to the contact details of the researchers:

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