This article was first published by FoodStuff.co.za
Cardiovascular disease is a leading killer worldwide and in South Africa. According to data from the Medical Research Council close to 200 people, about half of which are younger than 65 years, die in South Africa every day as a result of some form of heart or blood vessel disease. Studies have now proven that a component in rooibos may be able to prevent and treat vascular disease.
Antioxidant in Rooibos has healthy heart benefits
The latest news from the South African Rooibos Council is that, according to new findings in the Journal of Pharmacological Science*, chrysoeriol, an antioxidant in rooibos, is able to inhibit the migration of smooth muscle cells inside the aorta, which is a key cause of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), which in turn results in cardiovascular disease. Furthermore, the researchers recommend the use of chrysoeriol to prevent and treat the repeated narrowing of blood vessels following coronary angioplasty, during which a small balloon is used to open up a blocked or narrowed heart artery.
The characteristics and bioactivity of the complex mix of compounds in rooibos are being studied by several research groups around the world. Chrysoeriol is already known for its antioxidant, cancer-fighting and anti-inflammatory properties.
“Although chrysoeriol is not the most abundant antioxidant in rooibos, we are now beginning to understand its other properties that may contribute to its overall health benefits,” Professor Jeanine Marnewick, specialist researcher at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology commented after reviewing these latest findings from Japan.
“As scientists unravel the health contributions of the complex mix of compounds in rooibos, we are finding more and more evidence to substantiate the traditional uses of rooibos as a remedy for a variety of ailments.”
Chrysoeriol has bronchodilatory effect
These latest findings follow on earlier work done at the Aga Khan University Medical College in Pakistan where researchers first found that the chrysoeriol in rooibos has a bronchodilatory effect.
They found that it helps to decrease muscle spasms in blood vessels and lung airways and recommended its use as a remedy for congestive airway disorders such as asthma. Their findings and recommendations were published in the European Journal of Nutrition in 2006.
* Journal of Pharmacological Science, Vol 110, page 105 – 110, 2009. An inhibitory effect of chrysoeriol on platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF)-induced proliferation and PDGF receptor signalling in human aortic smooth muscle cells. Authors: B. Cha, W.L. Shi, T. Yonezawa, T. Teruya, K. Nagai and J. Woo.