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Research conducted in Japan shows that Rooibos suppressed malignant cell changes in mice when added to drinking water; it also suppresses malignant cell changes in cell cultures when added to the culture medium. In several experiments, Rooibos and green tea did comparably well. In one study, green tea did nothing while Rooibos showed strong inhibitory activity. Because Rooibos contains only a small amount of catechins (the compounds primarily responsible for the green tea anti-oxidant capacity) it seems likely that Rooibos gets its antimutagenic potential from a different set of molecules.

Research published in Mutation Research found that Rooibos tea inhibited premalignant changes in the tissue-cultured mouse cells that were exposed to X-rays. The inhibiting action took place when cells were treated with as little a 2 percent Rooibos solution (roughly equivalent to 2/3 cup a day for humans) and peaked when cells were treated with 10 percent solution (a little more than 3 cups). At the higher concentration, the rate of the transformation was no greater than that of normal, non-irradiated cells. Rooibos also protected mice against gamma radiation. Mice treated with 1 ml of Rooibos tea two hrs. before irradiation experienced less DNA damage than untreated mice. (For a human, this equals about 4 liters or 7 pints of double-strength tea.) One molecule, luteolin, appears to be responsible for the greatest inhibition.

Rooibos Tea Research References

Inanami, O., et al "The suppression of age-related accumulation of lipid peroxides in rat brain by administration of Rooibos tea (Aspalathus linearis) Neuroscience Letters 1955, 196:85-8 Komatsu, K., et al.

Inhibitory effects of Rooibos tea, Aspalathus linearis, on X-ray-induced C3HIOTII2 cell transformation. "Cancer Letters 1994, 77:33-38 Nakano, M., et al.

"Anti-human immunodeficiency virus activity of oligosaccharides from Rooibos tea (Aspalathus linearis) extract in vitro "Leukemia 1997, l1, supplement 3:128-130 Polysaccharide from Aspalathus linearis with strong anti-HIV activity. Bioscience, Biotechnology and Biochemistry 1997, 61:267-271 Sasaki, Y. et al."

"The clastogen-suppessing effects of green tea, Po-lei tea, and Rooibos tea in CHO cells and mice. Mutation Research 1993,286:221-232 Shimoi, K. et al." Radioprotective effects of anti-oxidative plant flavonoids in mice". Mutation Research 1996,350:153-161. Von Gadow, A. et al.

"Comparison of the antioxidant activity of aspalathin with that of other plant phenols of Rooibos tea (Aspalathus linearis), alpha tocophenor, BHT, and BHA "Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 1997, 45:632-638 "Effect of extraction time and additional heating on the anti-oxidant activity of Rooibos) tea (Aspalathus linearis) extracts Journal of Agricultural and food Chemistry 1997,45:1370-1374