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Rooibos (Aspalathus linearis)

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Also listed as: Aspalathus linearis
Related terms
Background
Evidencetable
Tradition
Dosing
Safety
Interactions
Attribution
Bibliography

Related Terms
  • Aspalathin, Aspalathus acuminatus, Aspalathus contaminata, Borbornia pinfolia, chrysoeryol, Fabaceae/Leguminosae (family), hyperoside, isoorientin, isoquercitrin, isovitexin, Kaffree tea, long life tea, luteolin, orientin, Psoralea linearis, quercetin, red bush tea, redbush tea, red tea, rutin, vitexin.

Background
  • An increasingly popular beverage, rooibos tea originates from the leaves and stems of the indigenous South African plant Aspalathus linearis. It has gained much attention for clinical purposes in the case of nervous tension, allergies (dermatitis), and various indigestive problems. Rooibos tea contains a large amount of flavonoids and acts as a potent antioxidant. In Africa, it has been used to treat malignancies and inflammatory disorders.
  • Rooibos (pronounced ROY-boss) is not a natural source of caffeine and is low in tannins. Rooibos tea may be preferred by people who can not tolerate either the caffeine effects or astringency of Camellia sinensis teas.

Evidence Table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. GRADE *
* Key to grades

A: Strong scientific evidence for this use
B: Good scientific evidence for this use
C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use
D: Fair scientific evidence for this use (it may not work)
F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likley does not work)


Tradition / Theory

The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.

  • Allergic dermatitis, allergies, antioxidant, asthma, cancer, colic, diaper rash, digestive problems, eczema, headache, hepatoprotection (in liver disease), HIV/AIDS, hypertension (high blood pressure), infections, insomnia, kidney stones, nervousness, vascular disorders (blood vessel disorders, prevention in diabetics).

Dosing

Adults (18 years and older)

  • There is no proven safe or effective dose of rooibos. Traditionally, 1 teabag or teaspoon to 8 ounces of hot water has been used.

Children (younger than 18 years)

  • There is no proven safe or effective dose of rooibos in children.

Safety

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

Allergies

  • Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to Aspalathus linearis, its constituents or related members of the Fabaceae/Leguminosae family. Other members of this family include peas, soybeans, clover, and peanuts.

Side Effects and Warnings

  • Little evidence is available to describe the adverse effects of rooibos. Rooibos is likely safe when ingested as a tisane (herbal infusion) in food amounts. However, use cautiously in patients taking drugs or herbs metabolized by cytochrome P450 enzymes, as there is unclear evidence whether or not rooibos affects these enzymes.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

  • Rooibos is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women due to a lack of available scientific evidence.

Interactions

Interactions with Drugs

  • There is mixed evidence on whether or not rooibos affects P450 metabolism. In theory, rooibos may interfere with the way the body processes certain drugs using the liver's "cytochrome P450" enzyme system. As a result, the levels of these drugs may be increased in the blood, and may cause increased effects or potentially serious adverse reactions. Patients taking any medications should check the package insert and speak with a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist, about possible interactions.

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

  • There is mixed evidence on whether or not rooibos affects P450 metabolism. In theory, rooibos may interfere with the way the body processes certain herbs or supplements using the liver's "cytochrome P450" enzyme system. As a result, the levels of other herbs or supplements may be too high in the blood. It may also alter the effects other herbs or supplements possibly have on the P450 system, such as bloodroot, cat's claw, or chamomile. Patients taking any medications should check the package insert and speak with a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist, about possible interactions.

Attribution
  • This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).

Bibliography
  1. Bramati L, Aquilano F, Pietta P. Unfermented rooibos tea: quantitative characterization of flavonoids by HPLC-UV and determination of the total antioxidant activity. J Agric Food Chem 2003;51(25):7472-7474.
  2. Bramati L, Minoggio M, Gardana C, et al. Quantitative characterization of flavonoid compounds in Rooibos tea (Aspalathus linearis) by LC-UV/DAD. J Agric Food Chem 2002;50(20):5513-5519.
  3. Edenharder R, Sager JW, Glatt H, et al. Protection by beverages, fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flavonoids against genotoxicity of 2-acetylaminofluorene and 2-amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo[4,5-b]pyridine (PhIP) in metabolically competent V79 cells. Mutat Res 2002;521(1-2):57-72.
  4. Joubert E, Winterton P, Britz TJ, et al. Antioxidant and pro-oxidant activities of aqueous extracts and crude polyphenolic fractions of rooibos (Aspalathus linearis). J Agric Food Chem 2005;53(26):10260-10267.
  5. Kucharska J, Ulicna O, Gvozdjakova A, et al. Regeneration of coenzyme Q9 redox state and inhibition of oxidative stress by Rooibos tea (Aspalathus linearis) administration in carbon tetrachloride liver damage. Physiol Res 2004;53(5):515-521.
  6. Kunishiro K, Tai A, Yamamoto I. Effects of rooibos tea extract on antigen-specific antibody production and cytokine generation in vitro and in vivo. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem 2001;65(10):2137-2145.
  7. Lee EJ, Jang HD. Antioxidant activity and protective effect on DNA strand scission of Rooibos tea (Aspalathus linearis). Biofactors 2004;21(1-4):285-292.
  8. Marnewick J, Joubert E, Joseph S, et al. Inhibition of tumour promotion in mouse skin by extracts of rooibos (Aspalathus linearis) and honeybush (Cyclopia intermedia), unique South African herbal teas. Cancer Lett 2005;224(2):193-202.
  9. Marnewick JL, Batenburg W, Swart P, et al. Ex vivo modulation of chemical-induced mutagenesis by subcellular liver fractions of rats treated with rooibos (Aspalathus linearis) tea, honeybush (Cyclopia intermedia) tea, as well as green and black (Camellia sinensis) teas. Mutat Res 2004;558(1-2):145-154.
  10. Marnewick JL, Gelderblom WC, Joubert E. An investigation on the antimutagenic properties of South African herbal teas. Mutat Res 2000;471(1-2):157-166.
  11. Marnewick JL, Joubert E, Swart P, et al. Modulation of hepatic drug metabolizing enzymes and oxidative status by rooibos (Aspalathus linearis) and Honeybush (Cyclopia intermedia), green and black (Camellia sinensis) teas in rats. J Agric Food Chem 2003;51(27):8113-8119.
  12. Na HK, Mossanda KS, Lee JY, et al. Inhibition of phorbol ester-induced COX-2 expression by some edible African plants. Biofactors 2004;21(1-4):149-153.
  13. Standley L, Winterton P, Marnewick JL, et al. Influence of processing stages on antimutagenic and antioxidant potentials of rooibos tea. J Agric Food Chem 2001;49(1):114-117.
  14. Ulicna O, Greksak M, Vancova O, et al. Hepatoprotective effect of rooibos tea (Aspalathus linearis) on CCl4-induced liver damage in rats. Physiol Res 2003;52(4):461-466.
  15. Ulicna O, Vancova O, Bozek P, et al. Rooibos tea (Aspalathus linearis) partially prevents oxidative stress in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. Physiol Res 2005;

Copyright © 2011 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)


The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.

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