Rooibos tea (Aspalathus linearis) partially prevents oxidative stress in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats

Physiol Res. 2006;55(2):157-164. doi: 10.33549/physiolres.930778. Epub 2005 May 24.


The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of rooibos tea as a natural source of a wide scale of antioxidants on the prevention and treatment of oxidative stress in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. Expected significant changes of biochemical parameters characteristic for experimental diabetic state were found in plasma and tissues eight weeks after single dose streptozotocin application. Administration of aqueous and alkaline extracts of rooibos tea (or N-acetyl-L-cysteine for comparison) to diabetic rats did not affect markers of the diabetic status (glucose, glycated hemoglobin and fructosamine). Besides the parameters characterizing hepatotoxic effect of streptozotocin, rooibos tea significantly lowered advanced glycation end-products (AGEs) and malondialdehyde (MDA) in the plasma and in different tissues of diabetic rats, particularly MDA concentration in the lens. From these results we can conclude that antioxidant compounds in rooibos tea partially prevent oxidative stress and they are effective in both hydrophobic and hydrophilic biological systems. Therefore, rooibos tea as a commonly used beverage can be recommended as an excellent adjuvant support for the prevention and therapy of diabetic vascular complications, particularly for protecting ocular membrane systems against their peroxidation by reactive oxygen species.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcysteine / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Aspalathus*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / drug therapy*
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Male
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar


  • Plant Extracts
  • Acetylcysteine