For all its skin healing properties, rooibos is best known for its antioxidant activity. Both red (fermented) and green (unfermented) rooibos contain high levels of flavonoids, the main polyphenols that fight oxidative stress from free radicals. Rooibos is considered unique due to the presence of aspalathin and aspalalinin, two monomeric flavonoids exclusive to rooibos.

The bioavailability of these polyphenols varies according to the raw ingredient and any extraction process used. Research shows, however, that the fermentation process used in the preparation of red rooibos significantly reduces the polyphenol content and destroys up to 90% of aspalathin, the rare flavonoid found in rooibos.

MAYSAMA’s Green Rooibos Bioactive Ingredient is extracted using a patented process which gives a greatly enhanced aspalathin content and improved antioxidant activity.

MAYSAMA’s Green Rooibos Bioactive Ingredient is extracted using a patented process which gives a greatly enhanced aspalathin content and improved antioxidant activity.

To maximise the aspalathin and antioxidant content of rooibos for cosmetic application, a patented extraction procedure has been developed from unfermented (green) rooibos. This had led to a final product with greater aspalathin content and improved antioxidant activity than that of the traditional fermented extract. Maysama are the first cosmetic company to use this aspalathin-enriched green rooibos extract as an ingredient for cosmetic application.

In fact, data shows that the Aspalathin content in MAYSAMA’s Green Rooibos Extract is 14% compared to just 2% in standard green rooibos and only 0.2% in red rooibos.

the aspalathin content in MAYSAMA’s pharmaceutical grade Green Rooibos extract is 14% compared to just 2% in standard green rooibos and only 0.2% in red rooibos.

Rooibos in Skincare

Many scientific studies support the beneficial effects of rooibos for skin health. Aside from the high content of flavonoids, superoxide dismutase and minerals, which serve to protect the skin from free radicals and environmental damage, rooibos exhibits anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, antiviral and antimutagenic properties, which reinforce rooibos as a powerful agent for skin health. It is also a rich source of Alpha Hydroxy Acids and Zinc known for their anti-aging properties, as well as many minerals and Vitamin D needed for skin health.

Rooibos as a True Bio-Active Cosmetic Ingredient

To better understand the cosmetic potential of Green Rooibos, MAYSAMA set up a collaboration with the Nelson Mandela Institute of Science and Technology, South Africa, who have many years’ experience of research into rooibos. Our studies have some remarkable findings.

Antioxidant Potential

Antioxidants are known to protect against oxidative stress which, left unchecked, contributes to skin aging. Our studies show that the antioxidant potential of MAYSAMA’s Aspalathin-enriched Green Rooibos far exceeds that of fermented rooibos and is comparable to green tea.


For an antioxidant to be bioavailable it must be able to permeate a cell membrane and accumulate within the cell to perform its antioxidant function. Our research shows that, relative to some other well-known antioxidants, our Green Rooibos API ingredient has superior bioavailability. In contrast, soluble Vitamin E appears to be weakly permeable and less bioavailable.

Protection against Cell Death

The ultimate fate of cell damage from oxidative stress is cell death, also known as APOPTOSIS. In cells exposed to prolonged oxidative stress, our data confirms that our pharmaceutical grade Green Rooibos enhances cellular resistance to oxidative stress and provides protection against apoptosis. The level of protection provided is comparable to Green Tea and superior to Resveratrol and soluble Vitamin E.

Stimulating Intrinsic Antioxidant Pathways

Aside from its own antioxidant activity, Green Rooibos is seen to stimulate the intrinsic antioxidant pathways that exist within a cell, which cells rely on to naturally protect against oxidative stress. This mechanism is also known to exist in Green Tea. In contrast to their exceptional antioxidant activity, in cells exposed to prolonged oxidative stress, Resveratrol and soluble Vitamin E were seen to have a cytotoxic effect, increasing the incidence of cell death.

For a full copy of the MAYSAMA’s scientific report, please click the link below;

‘Exploring the Cosmetic Potential of Rooibos Antioxidants’.

More than an Antioxidant

Aside from its antioxidant capacity, Rooibos exhibits many other therapeutic properties that make it a powerful ingredient for anti-aging.


Rooibos plays a unique role in the repair and protection of preadipocytes, the main fat cells in adipose tissue. Loss of fat tissue in the face contributes to sunken eyes, fine lines and skin folds.

Perhaps the most novel aspect is its ability to protect and repair preadipocytes, the main fat cells in adipose tissue. Loss of fat tissue in the face can lead to an altered cosmetic appearance (sunken eyes, fine lines and wrinkles and skin folds). Studies at the Nelson Mandela Institute show that rooibos plays an important role in protecting preadipocytes and can partially restore the function of these aged cells. The preservation of subcuataneous adipose tissue in this area may help preserve a more youthful complexion.

The effects of rooibos (Aspalathus linearis) on 3T3 L1 preadipocytes after the induction of mitochondrial dysfunction


Rooibos play an important part in wound healing. Green rooibos contributes greatly to the latter phases of wound healing, specifically tissue remodelling.

More recent studies undertaken by the Nelson Mandela Institute in South Africa have looked at the therapeutic potential of rooibos in chronic wounds. Wound healing is characterised by three specific stages; inflammation, proliferation and tissue remodelling. Green and fermented rooibos are seen to present distinctly different properties and contribute to different stages of healing.

Red rooibos has shown to help with the recruitment of macrophages, which play a critical part in the repair of skin by clearing damaged tissue constituents, killing pathogens and producing a variety of growth factors that induce collagen deposition. However, persistence of activated macrophages can lead to a hyper-inflammatory response and excessive oxidative stress, which consequently delays wound healing.

Green rooibos, on the other hand, is seen to play no part in this proinflammatory activity but contributes greatly to the latter phases of healing. Both red and green extracts decreased cellular Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) and prevented cell death.

Potential Therapeutic Benefits of Green and Fermented Rooibos (Aspalathus Linearis) in Dermal Wound Healing.


Rooibos plays a role in photo-protection and its anti-mutagenic properties could help reverse the early stages of skin cancer development.

Other studies undertaken at Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) link rooibos with photo-protection and suggest that it could reverse the early stages of skin cancer development. Rooibos extracts stop the multiplication of cancerous cells and remove these cells by programmed cell death. The removal of UVB damaged cells delays their progression into a tumour.

Chemo-preventative properties of Rooibos and protection from UV light.

In Conclusion

The antioxidant activity of Green Rooibos, its bioavailability and its mode of action is aligned with that of Green Tea, and superior to other well-known cosmetic antioxidants.

This combined with the substantiated safety of rooibos, as well as its other therapeutic properties, including inhibition of protein glycation, fat cell protection and photo-protection, recognise Rooibos as a true and powerful cosmetic ingredient, particularly for anti-aging.

That’s why MAYSAMA’s Green Rooibos Pressed Serum hero’s pharmaceutical grade Aspalathin-enriched Green Rooibos as an API ingredient with true cosmetic purpose.


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