Herbal teas have long been known for their health benefits, and one of the best newcomers to the scene is a tea you probably haven’t heard about yet.
It’s called Rooibos (ROY-boss) tea. And even if you know nothing about it right now, I know you’re going to love it.
And despite it being relatively unknown to tea drinkers worldwide, it’s steadily gaining popularity. Pretty soon, you might find Rooibos tea everywhere you go. And that’s a good thing.
Why, you ask?
Let’s find out. Here are the incredible health benefits of Rooibos tea.
What is Rooibos Tea?
Rooibos tea is a fragrant red herbal tea with a naturally sweet taste reminiscent of honey and roses. The plant it’s derived from, called Rooibos, is also known as the Red Bush.
The Red Bush is found in only one place in the world: the Cederberg Mountains of South Africa, and grows about 3 feet tall with pine tree-like needles for leaves.
The majority of commercially available Rooibos tea is naturally fermented and dried to reach its deep red color, even though the leaves of the Rooibos bush itself are green when harvested.
The tea is now very common in countries like Japan, Germany, and England – but Jerry Hemelka of Port Trading Co., one of the major importers of Rooibos, says it will soon dominate the United States’ tea market.
“It’s totally unique and unknown in the United States,” he says. “The US could become the biggest market for Rooibos. If it takes off, we won’t be able to supply enough to meet the demand.”
So far, Rooibos tea hasn’t taken the world tea market by storm – but if you ask me, it should.
Let’s take a look at some of its awesome health benefits so you can decide if you’d like to try Rooibos tea.
Health Benefits Of Rooibos Tea:
1. High Nutrient Content
For starters, Rooibos may have 50 percent more antioxidants than are found in green tea.
Rooibos is considered a great source of minerals like calcium, potassium, iron, copper, zinc, and magnesium. It’s consumed the world over for skin, hair, and bone health due to this high mineral content.
Rooibos is rich in the super-antioxidant flavonoid compound quercetin. Quercetin is known for its long list of health benefits that we’ll touch on later.
The fresh leaf of Rooibos has a high content of ascorbic acid, or vitamin C – another powerful antioxidant.
Also, Rooibos is a source of two other relatively rare antioxidants – aspalathin and nothofagin.
Aspalathin helps modify your body’s hormones to specifically reduce the output of adrenal hormones. This helps to reduce stress and inhibit metabolic disorders. It also regulates blood sugar, which can play a significant role in reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes and excessive fat production.
Nothofagin is a powerful anti-inflammatory antioxidant that works together with aspalathin to protect nerves and possibly even reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Sounds promising, right?
We’ve yet to even scratch the surface of all the health benefits Rooibos tea may have to offer.
2. Hypertension Relief and Cardiovascular Health
Rooibos tea also provides some excellent benefits for your heart health. Chrysoeriol, an antioxidant found in the tea. Has been shown to inhibit the narrowing and hardening of the arteries by reducing the migration of smooth muscle cells inside the aorta. It
A study published in the European Journal of Nutrition found that Rooibos tea could help lower blood pressure.
In the May 2010 issue of the journal Public Health Nutrition, Rooibos was shown to reduce the activity of an enzyme that constricts blood vessels, which raises blood pressure.
Consuming Rooibos tea can also help you achieve the proper ratio of LDL and HDL cholesterol. LDL cholesterol, also known as “bad” cholesterol. Needs to be reduced in people with poor diet habits because it can cause damage to their artery walls and blood vessels.
This can lead to heart problems, stroke, or even a heart attack.
So, for a stronger heart without the high blood pressure, drink more Rooibos tea.
3. Kidney Stones
People with kidney stone problems can drink as much red rooibos tea as they want as there is no oxalic acid in the beverage.
Many times, people with kidney stones are discouraged from drinking too much tea of other varieties because of that exacerbating ingredient.
Oxalic acid is a crystal-forming substance, so it can make the presence of calcium stones or other painful growths in the kidney even worse by making them larger.
That won’t be a problem with rooibos tea!
4. Bone Health
If you drink Rooibos tea as you age, you can keep your bones strong and healthy throughout the years.
The minerals in Rooibos are what make it especially bone-healthy: magnesium, calcium, manganese, and zinc.
- Calcium is essential to the strength of the bones and to help maintain proper bone density.
- Manganese stimulates the production of healthy enzymes that help to optimize bone construction and repair.
- Higher magnesium intake is associated with a higher bone density in both men and women.
- Zinc has a stimulatory effect on bone formation and mineralization.
Think twice before you drink milk to build strong bones – drink Rooibos instead.
5. Improves Heart Health
One of rooibos’ benefits is that it’s great for your heart. Rooibos tea contains chrysoeriol, a flavonoid that decreases blood pressure and improves blood circulation. It’s also be linked to lowering bad cholesterol levels.
A 2012 study conducted by the Department of Anatomy and Histology at Daegu Haany University’s College of Korean Medicine in Korea found that rooibos helps decrease the occurrence of hypertension by regulating hormones secreted from the adrenal gland.
Heart health is especially important in patients with diabetes. One common complication of diabetes is atherosclerosis. A form of arteriosclerosis that causes hardening and inflammation of the arteries caused by high glucose levels.
Aspalathin and nothofagin, two chemical compounds present in rooibos tea, have significant effects on inflammation of the entire vascular system and are thought to be key in treating possible complications from diabetes relating to the heart.
Aspalathin is an extremely novel antioxidant, as it’s only found in rooibos and no other food or beverage.
It not only helps protect against vascular inflammation, but protects the heart against oxidation and ischemia (a lack of blood supply to the heart) related to diabetic cardiomyopathy. This disease, known commonly as DCM, is an unfortunately common complication of diabetes.
6. Skin Health
Do you suffer from acne, pimples, frequent sunburns, or uneven skin?
Maybe you deal with even worse skin disorders like eczema or psoriasis.
Regardless, Rooibos can help.
Because rooibos tea is rich in alpha hydroxyl acid and zinc, it’s great for the skin and can help alleviate these skin problems.
There’s a reason why alpha hydroxyl acids are found in many upscale cosmetic products: it helps reduce the signs of aging, like wrinkles.
Many people make their own Rooibos tea masks to tighten their pores by massaging the tea along with apple cider vinegar and oatmeal onto their face.
So, if you want to take control of your skincare, drink Rooibos tea.
7. Premature aging
The antioxidants present in rooibos tea slow down the human aging process and they also boost the strength of the immune system.
Antioxidants seek out the free radicals that damage skin, hair, bones. and other organ systems by making them vulnerable to disease and degeneration. Rooibos tea is one of the most potent beverages in terms of antioxidant content.
It also has anti-aging effects in terms of cognitive ability, because it reduces the impact of oxidative byproducts in neural pathways, stimulating concentration and focus!
8. Diabetes and Weight Control
Two of the most troublesome health issues we face in the United States today are diabetes and obesity – and that’s exactly why we should all drink more of it.
Rooibos tea has been found to be helpful in combating oxidative stress that leads to diabetic vascular complications and eye issues. Researchers concluded that rooibos tea was a solid choice for people struggling with diabetes.
Because diabetics worry about developing a fatty liver, even if they don’t drink alcohol, Rooibos might help tremendously. Some animal studies have found that the amount of fat that accumulated in the liver decreased significantly when Rooibos tea was consumed on a regular basis.
Another animal study found that Rooibos tea inhibited the formation of fat cells and disrupted fat cell metabolism. Because diabetics often struggle to control their weight, this might make Rooibos a go-to beverage.
9. Allergy Treatment
The bioflavonoids quercetin and rutin show promise for relieving the itchy eyes and runny nose that allergy sufferers go through during each allergy season. These compounds block the release of histamine, a chemical in the body that responds to allergens.
Antihistamines are taken to block these histamines, but quercetin and rutin’s benefits are desirable because they don’t cause drowsiness or dry mouth like antihistamine pills.
A study published in Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry showed that Rooibos has a beneficial effect on the body’s immune system response. In a laboratory setting, quercetin was shown to block the release of histamine from cells called mast cells.
However, this anti-allergy effect needs to be studied more for scientists to reach any conclusions about Rooibos. Until then, though, you might want to try Rooibos to stop your sneezing.
10. May Prevent Cancer
Remember quercetin, the plant pigment found in rooibos used to treat a ton of diseases?
Many doctors report effectively prescribing it in supplement form to treat cancer. As it suppresses malignant tumor growth by stopping the processes involved in cell mutation.
In addition, rooibos tea seems to help the immune system produce antibodies necessary to prevent and heal from cancer, allergic reactions and even AIDS.
11. Caffeine Free
Most of us here in the United States are obsessed with coffee, because caffeine is the only addiction we brush off as a normal part of life.
The Red Bush Rooibos grows naturally without any caffeine. This is important, because it doesn’t have to undergo any chemical caffeine-removal processes.
It also means that literally anyone can drink it – especially children and pregnant women who should stay away from caffeine. As a result, it can be consumed in virtually unrestricted amounts.
And since caffeine is a known addictive substance, you can drink as much Rooibos tea as you want without the dangers of becoming addicted to it.
12. No Oxalic Acid
Chocolate, fruits, vegetables like raw leafy greens, as well as most teas contain a compound called Oxalic acid. People who suffer from kidney stones, bladder stones, and other similar issues often have to avoid consuming these foods.
When the body functions normally, oxalic acid is naturally eliminated through the urine, but it can combine with minerals in the body to create oxalates, a type of salt crystal that leads to these complications.
Rooibos is considered a safe alternative to these foods because it has no Oxalic acid content. So, if you want a delicious beverage that will keep you free of urinary tract issues, try Rooibos tea.
How Rooibos Tea Is Used
One of the best parts about rooibos tea is that it’s so low in tannins that it’s never bitter and always naturally sweet, unlike other traditional teas. It’s delicious both hot and cold, and should be brewed longer than other teas.
When brewing the tea, it’s recommended to put one teaspoon to one tablespoon of tea into an infuser and pour boiling water over it. Then steep between five and 15 minutes and sweeten to taste with honey or another natural sweetener.
For cold rooibos tea, double the amount of tea and allow to steep for at least 10 minutes.
While the vast body of research on rooibos focuses on its many health benefits. Another recent study published in the Journal of Food Science has also discovered that rooibos might be a useful natural food preservative.
The study, conducted by the Deptartment of Food and Nutrition at Kyung Hee University in Korea found that rooibos specifically can work as a preservative for meat products.
A Few Words of Caution
Rooibos tea sure has a load of health benefits, but for some people there may be some downsides.
Because Rooibos is so potent, it could possibly interfere with treatments like chemotherapy. It has also shown some effects on estrogen levels. Which might make it a bad idea to drink if you have hormone-sensitive cancer like breast cancer.
Anyone who has existing kidney or liver conditions should also avoid Rooibos tea. While it hasn’t been directly linked to worsening these issues, it should be used as a preventative measure – not a cure.
As always, your best bet if you have any questions about drinking Rooibos tea is to consult your doctor.
Rooibos Tea Nutrition Final Thoughts!
Even though research into all the benefits of Rooibos tea is still in its earliest stages, it’s known to be safe to consume and naturally delicious.
Oh, and one more thing: it’s calorie free!
So let me guess – you’re already trying to find out where you can find the stuff.
Right now, you may have to do a little work to track down your nearest supplier of Rooibos tea. The majority of grocery stores aren’t carrying it yet.
Odds are, you can probably find it in a specialty tea house or coffee shop. And if they don’t have it on the menu, let them know you think they should carry it!