A recent doctoral study by a researcher from Stellenbosch University's biochemistry department has found that the fynbos plant Cyclopia may help stop the development of breast cancer.

The university said in a statement on Monday that the researcher, Dr Koch Visser, studied the relationship between Cyclopia, which is used to make honey bush tea, and breast cancer cells.

"We found that Cyclopia extracts prevent the oestrogen-induced growth of breast cancer cells by targeting and inhibiting oestrogen receptor subtypes that promote the growth of these cells," Visser said.

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"There's a possibility that this research could offer respite to women who may be diagnosed with breast cancer in future, especially considering the global need to better understand the development and progression of this disease in order to treat it effectively."

Visser emphasised that research into Cyclopia's possible benefits for breast cancer patients remained in its early stages.

While other breast cancer drugs appeared to increase the risk of cancer of the uterus, Visser's study suggested that Cyclopia extracts did not have this effect.

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