Carst and Walker

Afriplex launches novel rooibos ingredient for cardiovascular health

Afriplex, Paarl-based processor and supplier of natural plant extracts, has developed a novel rooibos product called Aspalatox with cardiovascular benefits in mind.

Recent research on rooibos flavanoids has again confirmed the positive role of rooibos flavanoids in cardiovascular health (Journal of Pharmacological Science, Vol. 110, page 105 – 110, 2009). With this in mind, Afriplex reports demand for a rooibos extract focusing on the rooibos polyphenol content prompted the development of this product.

Aspalathox is produced through a proprietary and patented extraction process developed to ensure optimal concentrations of naturally occurring flavanoid compounds typical of rooibos e.g. aspalathin, orientin, chrysoeriol and nothofagin. Using specialised extraction techniques, the product is produced through a range of membrane fractionation steps as well as an ethanol/water driven chromatographic separation process.

The process ensures that the product is in its natural food state. The final concentrate is in powder format and is produced with low temperature spray drying, thereby producing stable and standardised powder extract that may find functional applications in the beverage and pharmaceutical industries.

Afriplex has negotiated partnerships with pharmaceutical manufacturers who have GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) accreditation by the Medical Control Council of South Africa. This allows it to offer contract manufacturing opportunities to customers with the assurance that all the products go through stringent quality controls.

The use of rooibos (Aspalathus linearis) tea as a beverage was first reported in 1772, and it was marketed and then domesticated on a small scale around 1900. Demand for the product increased significantly during World War II because of the shortage of Oriental tea. The tea has since gained recognition for its caffeine-free properties, low tannin and antioxidant properties.

The plant occurs naturally in the western districts of the Cape Province, South Africa, and attempts to grow it elsewhere in the world have proved unsuccessful.

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