Herbal Tea Never Tasted So Good!
Sweet and deep, the native South African tisane of rooibos is a delicious herbal treat that is loved for its earthy flavor, high antioxidant levels, and warming reddish-brown hue. One glance at a cup of this red bush tea and you instantly feel yourself glowing inside. In this piece, we delve deep into all the rooibos tea benefits so you can see exactly what this brew can do for you. From being beautifully caffeine-free (farewell coffee crash) to boosting your heart health, here’s all the science you need to get sipping this young and bright tea that is already taking the world by storm.
What is Rooibos Tea?
Rooibos tea is a herbal tea that comes from the Fabaceae plant family. This plant grows in South Africa and the leaves are taken and fermented to be turned into tea. Rooibos tea means ‘red bush’ and the tea is also sometimes called bush tea, red tea, or red bush tea.
Rooibos is part of a unique crop of flora found in an area of South Africa that sits north of Cape Town. The Cederberg Mountains. This landscape is famed for its ancient rock art and impressive sandstone formations and it’s here amidst all that history that the humble rooibos plant sprouts its leaves.
While this plant is still young compared to the Camellia Sinensis plant that has been flourishing for thousands of years, rooibos has earned quite the reputation in a relatively short span of years. It has been grown and brewed by farmers and bush people for hundreds of years and recently the world has taken notice. Rooibos is only found in South Africa naturally but it exports around seven thousand tons of leaves every year, with shipments heading to over thirty countries around the world, everywhere from Japan to Germany and the USA.
The rooibos plant has long needle leaves and is harvested in a similar way to the black tea plant. During harvest time the stems and leaves are cut and bound together into bundles which are to be oxidized. Oxidation is what helps the tea get that delicious deep red coloring and the redder it gets, the richer and sweeter the taste of the tea becomes. While this is how you make the red bush version of the tea, there is also green rooibos which is similar to green tea. Just like green tea, it’s the oxidation process that is different.
Rooibos is loved for its taste and the fact that it makes a great alternative to those more caffeine-centric teas. As Rooibos is herbal, it also brings a bounty of health benefits to the table too. The taste of rooibos is earthy, slightly sweet, and swirled with the taste of nuts, caramel, and an almost smoky vanilla fragrance too. You can sip your rooibos with a spoon of honey for sweetness, a slice of lemon to cut through the smoke, or even with a dash of milk if you want more of that creaminess and to temper the reddish hue.
The Health Benefits of Rooibos Tea
Being low in tannins, free from caffeine, and loaded with antioxidants puts rooibos tea on the top shelf in terms of its amazing health benefits. This tea is full of powerful ingredients that include a high dose mix of vitamins, minerals, and all those polyphenols you need to keep you on your feet. If you want to find out more about the health benefits that come with every cup of rooibos tea, keep reading…
1) Lowers Blood Sugar
Want to bring your blood sugar level down? Get brewing up that pot of rooibos tea. For all those people out there who struggle with controlling their blood glucose thanks to type 2 diabetes, rooibos tea can lend a hand. Animal studies came back with the link between rooibos and the antioxidant known as aspalathin. This antioxidant can help keep vascular inflammation down which can contribute to soaring blood sugar levels. More human studies may be needed but the evidence is looking good for rooibos helping to kick high blood sugar into touch. making it a great diabetic tea choice.
2) High in Antioxidants
So many teas come loaded up with powerful antioxidants and rooibos doesn’t disappoint. This herbal remedy is ripe with a range of antioxidants including three of the most powerful kinds. Polyphenols are powerhouses when it comes to fighting free radicals, reducing infection, and giving the immune system a much-needed boost. Aspalathin is all about balancing out your glucose levels, and quercetin can keep your heart ticking and help bring down your blood pressure. The holy trinity of antioxidants are all found in a humble cup of tea.
3) Improves Heart Health
No matter which side of the age fence you are sitting on, keeping your heart beating strong and healthy is one of the most important things you can do for life longevity. As rooibos tea is rich in antioxidants and free from caffeine it can actively help to improve your heart health and reduce high blood pressure. In 2011 a study was conducted where participants at risk from cardiovascular disease supped six cups of rooibos tea daily for 6 weeks. The results showed that at the end of the study, those who took part had lower LDL levels (the bad cholesterol) and had higher HDL levels (the good cholesterol). As cholesterol plays such a significant role in heart health and heart disease, this should be music to the ears of those who are keen to keep their cholesterol low and their heart strong.
4) Promotes Weight Loss
If you are on a journey towards healthier weight management, drinking rooibos tea is a low-risk way of helping to fend off unwanted obesity. First of all, rooibos is low in calories and naturally sweet meaning that it can satiate that sweet tooth without loading you up with excess calories. But the research done into rooibos also points to its ability to reduce stress hormones which can stir up hunger pangs and encourage the body to store fat. Sipping this tea can help your body to balance energy rather than keeping it stashed away and turning it into fat reserves.
5) High in Vitamins
There is so much goodness in a single cup of rooibos tea! Not only do you get all these direct health benefits but you can also use rooibos to top up your vitamin and mineral intake. Rooibos is brimming with vitamin C which is one of those essential vitamins for fending off colds and flu and all kinds of nasty viruses as this vitamin boosts your immune system. Rooibos also contains low levels of tannins which is great news for all those people out there with low iron levels as tannins are known to interfere with the body’s ability to absorb iron. Those who sit down to sup rooibos may also find a good amount of copper, zinc, calcium, manganese, magnesium, potassium, and fluoride in this tea – so even more beneficial effects to love.
Being naturally caffeine-free makes red rooibos tea great for those who are wanting to swerve the side effects of caffeine. Some people are more sensitive to caffeine than others and drinking caffeinated teas can leave them feeling jittery. As rooibos doesn’t come with any caffeine, it means you can happily sip any time of day. People especially like to turn to caffeine-free teas as part of their bedtime routine or when pregnant or dealing with any kind of health condition that means they should avoid caffeine.
7) Naturally Anti-inflammatory
From smooth skin to shiny hair and reduced risk of infection, there is so much to celebrate when it comes to anything with anti-inflammatory properties. Rooibos hits high marks on the anti-inflammatory count with this lush deep red tea coming chocked with microscopic antioxidants and polyphenols that are ripe with anti-inflammatory goodness. Because of this impressive ingredients list, you can cut through everything from adult allergies to colic in babies. In fact, hayfever sufferers can fall head over heels for rooibos as it also contains a bioactive flavonoid known to relieve coughs, splutters, and wheezes that may be caused by allergic rhinitis and seasonal asthma.
8) Improves the Immune System
A feel-good tonic loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and so much more – those who feel their immune system needs a solid boost should make sipping rooibos tea part of their daily routine. When our immune system is riding high we are less likely to suffer from seasonal sickness like the cold and flu and our body is so much better equipped to fend off long term ailments too. If you want to give your immune system an even bigger boost, green rooibos tea is said to contain even more immune-boosting benefits than the red variety.
9) Lowers Risk of Cancer
As rooibos tea comes laced with antioxidants and polyphenols some research has shown that drinking this tea may lower your risk of cancer. Antioxidants help to fend off free radicals which are notorious for causing cell damage and contributing to the risk of cancer. Test tubes studies have shown that the antioxidants that are present in rooibos tea (namely quercetin and luteolin) can actively kill cancer cells and help to prevent tumor growth. While the levels can be relatively low and more studies are needed especially human tests, we figure it doesn’t hurt to top up our teacups.
10) Improves Digestion
Healthy digestion can be tricky business, especially in the modern world when there is so much that can interfere with our systems. Luckily, rooibos tea can help ease digestive problems and will do so with minimal to zero side effects. The compounds stashed within rooibos tea such as quercetin, vitexin, and orientin can all lend a hand to help ease and relax the digestive system while the gentle tannin count in rooibos can also get to work on preventing diarrhea. Studies have shown that there are a bunch of nutrients in rooibos that are antispasmodic meaning that you can kiss those stomach cramps goodbye.
11) Improves Skin Health
While black tea masks and green tea mists can totally be a part of a natural beauty routine, sipping rooibos tea can also ring a golden glow and flush of health to your skin. Because rooibos contains alpha hydroxy acid it can help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. A study involving rooibos tea and dermatology came back with positive results, as the tea helped reduce the signs of ageing and redness and other visible irritants like eczema for a more even skin tone.
While rooibos tea is dreamy, delicious, and mostly super safe for all to enjoy, it can come with a few side effects for certain people who consume large amounts of this tea. Most people will have no side effects from rooibos at all but for people who have hormone sensitivity.
So who should not drink rooibos tea? Rooibos has been linked to estrogen activity so if this is something that may concern you, it could be worth checking in with your medical professional first. It’s also worth noting that the high antioxidant activity in rooibos tea could also interfere with certain medications so again, check with your doctor to make sure you can kick back with your rooibos tea without the worry. Don’t forget if one of the following applies to you, check with your doc before raising a cup of rooibos…
- Hormone-sensitive (especially to estrogen)
- Undergoing chemotherapy.
- Suffering from poor liver health.
Rooibos Tea Recipe
Now you know why rooibos tea is such a delicious treat for the body, it’s time to learn how to brew the perfect cup. We love that rooibos is such a low-fuss drink and all it takes is a little hot water, a pinch of tea, and maybe some beautiful raw honey to sweeten the mix. Rooibos also makes an amazing iced tea too so be sure to add it to your summer drink list.
You will need:
- 1 teaspoon of rooibos loose leaf tea or one tea bag
- 8 ounces of water
How to brew
1. Boil your water in a pan or the kettle.
2. Add the loose leaf to a strainer in your cup or use a tea bag instead.
3.Pour the boiling water over the tea and let steep for 5-15 minutes depending on taste.
4. Add a slice of lemon or a dash of honey/sweetener or milk to taste.
Frequently Asked Questions about Rooibos Tea
How much rooibos tea should I drink a day?
Even just a cup of rooibos is rich in health benefits. However, for maximum health impact, you should aim to drink six cups daily as this will give your body the complete rooibos extract staggered across the day.
Does rooibos tea make you poop?
Rooibos promotes healthy digestion in the body so for those who are struggling with regular movements or those who are going more than feels comfortable, rooibos can help to bring your system back to alignment.
From what age can babies drink rooibos tea?
From six months onwards and while weaning or after weaning, rooibos is safe for small ones to consume. Because rooibos is free from caffeine and low in tannins, it is considered safe for children to drink without sugar or milk added.
Does rooibos tea have caffeine?
Not at all! For those who are wanting a tea that comes with all the benefits of being caffeine-free, rooibos has got your back. This natural herbal tisane is completely caffeine-free meaning you can curl up with a cup at bedtime without the worry.
Is rooibos tea safe during pregnancy?
Yes! Rooibos tea is a great drink during pregnancy providing you don’t fall into one of the categories above of people who should check first before brewing up rooibos. As it's caffeine free and loaded with antioxidants, it can be an awesome drink to enjoy for those who are expecting.
Red bush tea is an incredible brew in so many ways. Not only is that delicious smoky-sweet flavor a true treat in the tea world but the added health benefits and the zest of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants mean you can sip it without the guilt.
What are your thoughts on the fabulous benefits of rooibos tea? Do you love sipping this South African tea or do you prefer other tea types instead? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Medical Disclaimer: While we have delved into the research available on the health benefits of these teas, this is for informative purposes only and shouldn’t be taken as medical advice. Those who have any health-related queries should reach out to a medical professional. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.