Phenolic metabolites from honeybush tea (Cyclopia subternata)

J Agric Food Chem. 2004 Aug 25;52(17):5391-5. doi: 10.1021/jf040097z.


Cyclopia subternata is one of the 24 Cyclopia species that are used to brew honeybush tea, a unique South African herbal beverage with a pleasant taste and flavor. It contains various antioxidants, very low tannin content, and no caffeine. Many health properties are associated with regular consumption of the tea. Honeybush infusions have been noted as a tonic for colds and influenza, catarrh, and pulmonic tuberculosis and is becoming well-known for its effectiveness in alleviating menopausal symptoms in women. "Unfermented" leaves of C. subternata contain pinitol, shikimic acid, p-coumaric acid, 4-glucosyltyrosol, epigallocatechin gallate, the isoflavone orobol, the flavanones hesperedin, narirutin, and eriocitrin, a glycosylated flavan, the flavones luteolin, 5-deoxyluteolin, and scolymoside, the xanthone mangiferin, and the flavonol C-6-glucosylkaempferol. The structures were elucidated by spectroscopic and spectrometric analysis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / analysis
  • Beverages / analysis*
  • Fabaceae / chemistry*
  • Flavonoids / analysis
  • Health Promotion
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Phenols / analysis*
  • Plant Leaves / chemistry
  • South Africa
  • Xanthones / analysis


  • Antioxidants
  • Flavonoids
  • Phenols
  • Xanthones