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Rooibos for treating allergies: putting it to clinical test

New SA research, with two clinical trials, is under way to see if rooibos is really viable as a means to treat allergies.

Nasal allergy is a common problem in South Africa. It is estimated that 20% to 30% of adults in South Africa suffer with allergic rhinitis or hay fever.

House dust mites and tree pollen are the most common reasons for this. Often, people have to rely on allergy medication to deal with the problem.

Can rooibos help?

Rooibos, scientifically known as Aspalathus linearis, is being explored as a treatment for nasal allergies. The studies are testing its impact by having people drink rooibos tea in specific doses and through nasal irrigation using rooibos tea.

It’s long been suggested that bioflavonoids, such as rutin and quercetin, that are found in Rooibos, could relieve itchy eyes and a runny nose. Quercetin can block the release of histamine from mast cells, and this may be why it could reduce symptoms.

This research is looking to test abundant anecdotal evidence with clinical trials.

In this podcast from The Conversation, Jonny Peter, associate professor, unit head and head of the Division of Allergology and Clinical Immunology at Groote Schuur Hospital at the University of Cape Town, discusses his latest research including clinical trials.

He also discusses the challenges with understanding whether you have COVID-19 or are suffering from nasal allergies.

Listen here! Click the graphic below…

The Conversation, featuring Jonny Peter. This Pasha podcast is published by The Conversation Africa. Pasha – which means to inform in Swahili – brings some of the best and brightest research from academics across the continent.

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