Native Plants Aid the Health Conscious and Support Regional Economic Growth

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Africa is commonly referred to as the “cradle of life” as many anthropologists agree that humankind originated and evolved there. 10-11 million years later, Africa is still nurturing mankind with a myriad of medicinal plants, trees and fruits that have a multitude of healing properties, which are being sustainably harvested by health- and social-conscious organizations including Buchulife, Kaibae, Rooibos Limited, DeeBee’s SpecialTea Foods, and Heights Tea Estate.


Santa Barbara, CA USA — May 14, 2014 (PressReleasePoint)

Buchu
A multifaceted medicinal African plant, Buchu, is endemic to the Cape Floral Kingdom in the Western Cape Province of South Africa, which is the smallest floristic region in the world and also World Heritage Site. Buchu, aka Agothosma Butulina, is both scientifically proven and time-tested to offer relief from a plethora of ailments as it possesses anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antifungal properties.
The benefits of Buchu have been documented for more than 300 years and the plant is known to be the world’s first, natural anti-inflammatory medicine. The indigenous Khoisan people used to chew fresh or dried buchu leaves and make poultices to heal a variety of ailments and injuries. Today, companies such as Buchulife sustainably source buchu from cultivated fields, where in the past it was traditionally harvested in the wild. After cultivation, its oil is extracted through Buchulife’s patented steam-distillation process and is concentrated into capsules, topical gel, and water.
 
“We provide the health benefits from the much-lauded buchu plant through extensive research by ongoing clinical trials on our products,” says Stephen Bernhardt, president of Buchulife. “Buchu oil contains the potent antioxidants quercitin, rutin, hesperidin, diosmin (bioflavonoids), diosphenol and vitamins A, B and E, all of which are combined to provide effective relief from inflammation of joints and skin.” Buchu also has the power to relieve premenstrual cramping and bloating, possesses agents that combat urinary tract infections and is a FDA-approved natural weight-management supplement and diuretic.
 
Baobab
Baobab fruit stems from the Adansonia tree—one of the oldest living trees on Earth. Brimming with antioxidants and rich in vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, dietary fiber and potassium, Baobab is widely regarded as the next big healthy super food. This plant can be added to a variety of meals to boost immunity, increase energy, and improve digestive health. Dr. Luc Maes, a naturopathic physician and founder of Kaibae, runs his business on the principles of social entrepreneurship. By harvesting Baobab, which was once considered a “lost crop”, Kaibae is helping to bring jobs to the small community of Bawku in Northern Ghana where the fruit is harvested. “We intentionally sought out a community that needs economic development,” says Dr. Maes. “Baobab grows naturally and abundantly, and the people there can harvest it sustainably; in that way, we are making a difference.” 
 
Rooibos
Another medicinal South African staple is rooibos (Aspalathus linearis), which means “red bush,” the leaves of which are used to make a red herbal tea. Rooibos also flourishes in the Western Cape Province. In fact, it only grows in the rugged Cederberg Mountains, where Rooibos Limited has been the world market leader of rooibos since 1954. “Rooibos Group is a leading company in the production and marketing of rooibos products and will always act as a compassionate and responsible entity and demonstrate sensitivity to the impact that our activities and our trading partners’ activities have on the natural environment,” says Hugh Lamond, president of Rooibos Limited.
 
Rooibos tea consists of a vast array of antioxidants, including two polyphenols: aspalathin, which is unique to rooibos; and nothofagin, which is only found in rooibos and the New Zealand red beech. These antioxidants protect the human body from the cell-damaging effects of free radicals, thereby guarding against a host of serious degenerative diseases such as macular degeneration, Parkinson’s disease and various types of cancer. In fact, rooibos tea contains so many cancer-fighting compounds (including flavanones, flavones, and flavanols) that the Cancer Association of South Africa officially recognized it as a leading source of natural anti-cancer chemicals.
 
Research scientist Dr. Dionne Laslo-Baker, PhD (who has completed years of in-depth study into the effects of chemicals on fetal development), recognized the vast nutritional benefits of rooibos and set out to create the first certified 100% organic, tea-based frozen treat in the world. DeeBee’s Organics TeaPopscombine rooibos with the earth’s most powerful organic super fruits for a frozen novelty like no other.  DeeBee’s TeaPops are all 100% certified organic, non-GMO, and ethically sourced. “The more we researched tea and rooibos, the more we were astounded by their extraordinary health benefits,” explains Dr. Laslo-Baker. “With DeeBee’s TeaPops, our mission is to provide the antioxidant powers of rooibos tea to kids and adults alike.”
 
Honeybush
Another Cape region wonder plant, one that is akin to rooibos, is honeybush, which derives its name because its flowers’ smell of honey. One of its benefits as a tea is its lack of caffeine, which makes it optimal to drink at night, and is high in antioxidants, eases stomach ailments and is a natural immune-system booster. Recent studies have shown that honeybush has potential anti-diabetic and anti-obesity properties.
 
In order to maintain the survival of honeybush, one of the rarest of South Africa’s herbal teas, the Heights Tea Estate, the largest cultivator of endemic honeybush in the Heights region, has introduced a comprehensive program of environmental and conservation practices. “At the Heights, we collect the seed from wild honeybush, propagate it in our nursery, and establish honeybush orchards on fallow lands,” says Prof. Richard Cowling, Non-Executive Chairman of The Heights Tea Estate.  From planting to harvesting, the estate is committed to using strict ecological farming methods in order to ensure the survival of the rare “Golden Herb” while maintaining the biodiversity of its natural habitat. 

By ensuring the survival of honeybush, baobab, buchu and rooibos through sustainability, environmentally conscious companies like Heights Tea Estate, Kaibae, Buchulife, DeeBee’s Specialty Foods, and Rooibos Limited are not only contributing to global health but regional economic growth in African communities.
 
For further information about these African plants and/or the companies mentioned in this article, please contact Lauren Haines of Christie Communications at (805) 969-3744 or via email at lhaines@christiecomm.com. 


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