Long-term consumption of fermented rooibos herbal tea offers neuroprotection against ischemic brain injury in rats.
Acta Neurobiol Exp (Wars). 2017 ;77(1):94-105. PMID: 28379220
Stroke is the second leading cause of death worldwide, affecting about 240 people a day in South Africa and leaving survivors with residual disabilities. At the moment, there is no clinically approved neuroprotective product for stroke but the consumption of plant polyphenols has been suggested to offer some protection against stroke. In this study, we investigated the effects of long-term consumption of fermented rooibos herbal tea (FRHT) on ischemia/reperfusion (I/R)-induced brain injury in adult male Wistar rats. FRHT was administered to the animals ad libitum for 7 weeks prior to the induction of ischemic injury via a 20-minute bilateral occlusion of the common carotid arteries (BCCAO) followed by reperfusion for 24, 96 and 168 hours respectively. Neurobehavioural deficits, brain oedema, blood-brain barrier (BBB) damage, apoptosis, lipid peroxidation and total antioxidant capacity were subsequently evaluated using standard methods. Our results showed that long-term consumption of FRHT by Wistar rats signi icantly reduced brain oedema and neuronal apoptosis, but did not attenuate BBB damage following cerebral ischemia. Analysis of whole-brain homogenates showed significantly reduced lipid peroxidation levels, increased total antioxidant capacity and resulted in improved neurobehavioural outcomes in FRHT-treated rats when compared with untreated animals. Taken together, our results tend to suggest that continuous consumption of FRHT could confer some protection against ischemic brain injury (IBI) and is therefore highly recommended for patients with stroke-predisposing conditions.