The health attributes of Honeybush have been known to the indigenous peoples in South Africa for centuries, and the herb has been consumed as a hot water extract (or tisane) for many years.
Honeybush contains many of the 14 minerals essential to human health and wellness. Among these are the critical elements: Iron, Potassium, Calcium and Manganese. These are vital in the prevention of anemia, fluid balance abnormalities, and for adequate bone growth and repair.
Honeybush contains many anti-oxidants, including isoflavones and coumestans. These compounds counter the effects of oxidative stress, and help prevent the production of free radicals. Free radicals are known to exert atherogenic and other harmful effects on the body, and may lower natural immune defense mechanisms.
Honeybush has Long Been Reputed to Have an Effect on Blood Sugars.
Numerous botanical studies have been undertaken into the nature and composition of Cyclopia. Although no human studies have yet been undertaken, the most recent mammalian study is supportive of potential health benefits of Honeybush, specifically as relates to helping control blood sugar levels. This study, a mutual effort by the Medical Research Council of South Africa, the University of Stellenbosch, and the University of Southern Denmark, confirmed that a Honeybush tisane resulted in a remarkable blood sugar lowering, and cholesterol lowering effect, when fed to type 1 and type 2 diabetic rodents.
The researchers conclude as follows:
- “statistically significant reduction in Fasting Blood Glucose (FBG), equal to the effect achieved in the Metformin and Rosiglitazone groups”.
(controls =12.2 mmol/L compared to 4.8-5.4 mmol/L in the Honeybush groups (p<0.001).
- “statistically significant reduction in intravenous glucose tolerance (IVGTT), beyond the effect achieved in the Metformin and Rosiglitazone groups”.
- “statistically significant reduction in Total Cholesterol (TC).
(a reduction of 2.9 +/- 0.3 (30.1-31.6%) was achieved (p<0.05)
- “statistically significant reduction in a-cell mass, and improvement in a-cell to b-cell ratio”
(approximate reduction 50% (p<0.05)
These findings point to Honeybush as a potential natural aid in the management of similar diseases in humans, including Diabetes, pre-Diabetes and elevated Cholesterol. While human studies are clearly needed to substantiate these findings, it is worth noting that should a beneficial compound be found in Honeybush, as suggested by this study, it would have important implications. Diabetes is the commonest cause of renal failure, blindness and non-traumatic lower limb amputation in the world. 8% of the adult population in the USA has Diabetes, and more than 35% of the population has pre-Diabetes. Lipid disorders, including elevated cholesterol, are directly linked to the incidence of coronary artery disease, cerebrovascular disease and poor circulation.
A number of studies have been conducted into the botanical nature and composition of Cyclopia sp. and its active compounds, hesperiden, mangiferin and isomangiferin, and have been published in:
- Journal of Sustainable Agriculture (1998)
- Current Organic Chemistry (2000)
- British Journal of Pharmacology (2000)
- American Journal of Epidemiology (2001)
- Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin (2001)
- European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2003)
- Journal of Agricultural & Food Chemistry (2003)
- European Food Research and Technology (2003)
- Diabetes Care (2003)
- Journal of Nutrition (2004)
- African Journal of Biotechnology (2005)
- International Journal of Biochemistry & Cell Biology (2006)
- Heart (2006)
- International Journal of Biomedical & Pharmaceutical Sciences (2007)
- International Journal of Molecular Sciences (2007)
- Journal of Clinical Biochemistry & Nutrition (2007)
- Life Sciences (2008)
- Drug Discovery Today (2009)
- Molecular Nutrition and Food Research (2009)
- Journal of Ethnopharmacology (2009)
- Cardiovascular Therapeutics (2010)
- International Journal of Advances in Pharmaceutical Sciences (2010)
- Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition (2010)
- Medical Research Council, Cape Town, South Africa (2011) et al – Latest study, discussed above: http://cdn.intechweb.org/pdfs/25504.pdf
Phyto-estrogens, present in Honeybush, as in many other plants such as Soy and Black Cohosh, may be useful in the natural control of menopausal symptoms in women.
Lactation & Infantile Colic
Although the mechanism remains undetermined, Honeybush has been long used by the local indigenous peoples to stimulate lactation in nursing mothers, and in relieving infantile colic.
By virtue of its Pinitol content, Honeybush Tea has been used by the local population as an expectorant and treatment for many common respiratory complaints.
MEDICAL DISCLAIMER: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, or Health Canada. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
PREGNANCY AND LACTATION: Do not use during pregnancy or lactation without the advice of a healthcare practitioner.