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.
Available online at ScienceDirect.com