31 agosto 2004

Until recently the best cancer prevention advice has been: don't smoke, don't get fat, and cross your fingers. But a strange-tasting drink from South Africa could provide new hope.

Scientists say there are three major ways to cut the risk of cancer. Don't smoke, don't become fat, and follow a balanced diet. Now from South Africa comes a potential fourth tip: drink rooibos tea. If you have never heard of it, you are not alone. Rooibos has been one of the more esoteric products in the herbal-remedy section of health shops, a strange-sounding name to match a strange taste drawn from the needle-like leaves of a plant found only on the slopes of the Cederberg mountains outside Cape Town.

For centuries, indigenous bushmen have sworn by the health-giving properties of the tea. European settlers who picked up the habit agreed there was something special about rooibos - Afrikaans for red bush - and even bathed their children with it. Now science suggests they may have been on to something. New research provides tantalising evidence that the tea can help ward off cancer. Rats and mice that drank it were found to have effective protection against a variety of cancers.

[read on at The Guardian]

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