The Citizen (Gauteng)

Celebritie­s join the Rooibos revival

- Farrah Francis

Most people may think that Trevor Noah and Charlize Theron are SA’s biggest export. But what about tea? Rooibos tea to be precise. Yes, it’s all well and wonderful to see it at Harrods in London, but its detoxifyin­g and healing properties reach far beyond drinking the stuff after a long hard day.

Rooibos tea already has a major celebrity following with Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow, Salma Hayek and Helen Mirren taking advantage of its many health and beauty benefits. Rooibos is helping the stars to get svelte and redcarpet-ready in time for Sunday – Oscar night.

And unlike most beauty fads and trends, the proof is in the pudding. Stellenbos­ch University has recently released a report showcasing the benefits of drinking our homebrew and its impact in beauty products.

The university found that rooibos tea is great for people who spend a lot of time in the sun.

In fact, the report found that lower concentrat­ions of rooibos extracts may be able to prevent the developmen­t of skin cancer by stopping cancerous cells multiplyin­g.

In another report produced by the Agricultur­al Research Council published in 2008, researcher­s found:

The antioxidan­t activity of tea is very important, because it can scavenge free radicals and so helps to protect cells and lipids (fats) against oxidative damage. Several studies have shown that rooibos extracts contain powerful free-radical scavengers.

The antioxidan­ts in rooibos also protect the liver against oxidative stress. Studies on Japanese quails have shown that rooibos also protects blood cells and has anti-ageing properties.

Human studies have shown that taking rooibos is an effective way to treat several skin conditions. It decreased the incidence of herpes simplex within a few days, helped for itching (associated with dermatitis), and could reduce inflammati­on and sun sensitivit­y of the skin.

Ernest du Toit, spokespers­on for the Rooibos Council, says it’s no wonder that rooibos is a hit among celebritie­s and health-conscious consumers in the US. Since rooibos first made its debut in the US in the early 1990s, sales to the country has tripled and every year more cosmetics houses use it.

“South Africa now exports a vast array of different rooibos products to the US ... its use in cosmetics has increased rapidly and garnered much attention over the last few years, as more research proving the plethora of health and beauty benefits of rooibos has become better known. Rooibos’s high flavonoid content makes it a powerful anti-aging ingredient for skincare formulas. Since much of skin-aging is caused by exposure to UV rays, pollution and other environmen­tal contaminan­ts, Rooibos’s free-radical destroying abilities helps to protect the skin and to

preserve a more youthful look.”

Rooibos’s high flavonoid content makes it a powerful antiaging ingredient for skincare formulas

Ernest du Toit Rooibos Council’s spokespers­on

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Picture: Thinkstock
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