Rooibos tea (red tea from southern Africa) may have strong ability to protect the liver from chemical toxins

November 08, 2005

Carbon tetrachloride is a solvent and cleaning agent used by the dry cleaning industry and in fire extinguishers. Its use is controversial because it is highly toxic to the liver, lungs, and kidneys and it is a known cause of cancer. Recently its usage has been curtailed due to its high toxicity and its negative effect on the ozone layer.

In this study carbon tetrachloride was used to cause liver injury in laboratory rats. Some rats were exposed to the chemical while others were exposed to the chemical and then supplemented with either Rooibos tea (red tea) or NAC. Both NAC and the Rooibos tea decreases fatty degeneration of the liver and cirrhosis (a condition where the liver becomes scarred, hardened with fibrous tissue and infiltrated with fatty deposits inhibiting its function).

Levels of inflammatory compounds and measures of free radical damage to the liver were also greatly reduced. Rooibos tea significantly suppressed a rise in liver enzymes (ALT also known as SGPT, and AST also known as SGOT, alkaline phosphatase and billirubin concentrations).The study is published in the journal Physiological Research, August 2003.

Commentary by Jerry Hickey, R.Ph.

Hopefully none of us will encounter an agent as destructive as mustard gas, but it is good for us to note that these particular antioxidants are very lung friendly and that available oral supplement levels have shown protective activity in research.

Pomegranate juice is protective in diabetics

In this study healthy subjects (controls) had their levels of oxidizing free radicals indicators compared to those of diabetics. The level of lipid peroxides were increased by 350% and the level of TBARS was 51% higher in diabetics versus control subjects. Giving Pomegranate juice daily for 3 months decreased the level of lipid peroxides by 56% ( the 350% increase would drop to a 154% increase) and the levels of TBARS dropped 28% (from a 51% increase to a 37% increase). The Pomegranate decreased the uptake of oxidized LDL particles into cells (this represents ability to protect blood vessel walls) and improved glutathione levels in immune system cells. The study is published in the October 11th, 2005 issue of the journal Atherosclerosis.