Rooibos, pronounced “ROY-boss” is a tea that is native to South Africa. Also known as red bush tea, it originates from the Aspalathus linearis found in the Cederberg mountains of the continent. The tea has been harvested and consumed by the people of South Africa for centuries and is valued for its flavor and rich antioxidants.
Generally, there are two types of rooibos tea produced from the leaves of the Aspalathus linearis plant. When the leaves go through a controlled oxidization process, red rooibos is produced. It bears a striking red or lighter shade of brown while producing a woody or smoky aroma.
Meanwhile, green rooibos tea is made from non-oxidized tea leaves. After being harvested, the leaves are dried before they have the chance of being oxidized. Green rooibos is also known to be more superior in antioxidants. (1)
Health Benefits Of Rooibos Tea
Besides being loved for its aroma, rooibos tea has also enjoyed claims of its beneficial potential for human health. Here are some strong reasons why you should start taking a cup of rooibos tea every day.
1. Caffeine-Free Alternative
Caffeine is known to wreak havoc on the nervous system after the initial boost in alertness. If you’re quit drinking caffeine-laden espresso and still yearn a cup of hot beverage, rooibos tea is a great alternative.
There is no hint of caffeine being present in rooibos tea. So, drinking rooibos tea wouldn’t result in mood fluctuations, stress or a sleepless night. In fact, it has been suggested that rooibos tea may be a good herbal tea to treat insomnia. (2)
2. May Improves Heart Health
Prevention is better than cure when cardiovascular diseases are concerned. Drinking rooibos tea may help in keeping your heart healthy by lowering LDL cholesterol and prevent an increase in blood pressure.
A research paper published by the Linköping University of Sweden has linked rooibos tea to the inhibition of angiotensin-converting enzyme, an enzyme that causes the contraction of blood vessels.
Another study in South Africa has also found that rooibos tea can significantly reduce the level of LDL cholesterol in adults, thus promoting cardiovascular health. (3)(4)
3. Rich In Antioxidants
If you’re concerned about diseases caused by oxidative stress, you’ll want to start drinking rooibos tea or specifically green rooibos. It has been a common knowledge amongst brewers that rooibos has more than twice the amount of oxidants than green tea.
This means that drinking rooibos tea may reduce diseases like cancer, diabetes, and other diseases caused by oxidative stress and inflammation. The strong antioxidant exhibit by rooibos is due to the aspalathin and quercetin which prevent free radicals from damaging human cells. (5)(6)
Studies conducted to observe if the body benefits from the antioxidant properties have produced mixed results. One study involving 15 volunteers observed a significant increase in plasma antioxidant after taking rooibos tea. (7)
However, researchers in Germany failed to produce a similar conclusion in a human study of 12 participants. (8)
4. Treat Diabetes
Diabetes is a complicated disease and one that can require detailed care in diet and treatment. Rooibos tea may prove to be effective in helping diabetes patients manage their blood sugar level. This is thanks to the aspalathin, an antioxidant present in rooibos which serves as an effective antidiabetic agent.
In a systematic review made on past studies, rooibos tea is found to be effective in reducing blood sugar levels amongst diabetic patients. (9)
5. May Prevent Cancer
Cancer, while treatable at an early stage, is still a much-feared word amongst adults. Drinking rooibos tea, an antioxidant-rich beverage has been linked to preventing the tumor cells from spreading. The effect is due to quercetin and luteolin, both known antioxidants in rooibos. (10) (11)
Further studies are needed to determine if these antioxidants are sufficiently transferred to the body to be effective in preventing cancer.
6. Low in Tannins
Rooibos tea is unique in a way as it has a very low amount of tannins. Tannins or tannic acids are usually present in other teas like green tea and black tea. It is distinguished by its bitter taste that grows stronger the longer the tea is steep.
Tannins also interrupt with to body’s ability in absorbing iron. If you’re worried about iron-deficiency, rooibos is the best tea to drink. It has been proven in a study that drinking rooibos does not prevent the body from taking in iron. (12)
When Should You Drink Rooibos Tea
One of the typical concerns when drinking herbal tea if it may affect your sleep. Most tea usually contains a degree of caffeine and those who are extremely sensitive may feel the aftereffect after drinking it.
Fortunately, rooibos tea is naturally free from caffeine. That makes it a suitable beverage to be consumed at any time of the day. A cup of hot rooibos tea may also help you to relax prior to bedtime and promote better sleep.
Potential Side Effects of Rooibos Tea
Rooibos tea is generally safe and there are no known side effects on healthy individuals. There are also no reported interactions with medications when taking rooibos tea.
However, pregnant and breastfeeding women are advised to consult their doctors before drinking rooibos tea as there is insufficient data to prove its safety and vice versa. (13)
Where To Buy Organic Rooibos Tea
As rooibos tea is becoming a popular herbal tea in the US, buying organic rooibos tea shouldn’t be an issue. You can make a trip to your nearest grocery and get a pack of rooibos tea. Alternatively, you can visit online retailers like Amazon where you’ll have all the finest rooibos tea products to choose from.
Here are our top picks of rooibos tea.
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