For thousands of years, we've been sipping tea for its flavor and health benefits. But red rooibos tea benefits you in ways you're unaware of. To be more accurate, rooibos tea is actually an herb (according to the South African Rooibos Council).
You’re familiar with the benefits of green tea and the way it’s been praised for its many beneficial properties since its discovery over 4,000 years ago. And black tea has been an English breakfast staple since the early 1800’s. So, it's about time you start enjoying the many advantages rooibos tea provides.
A brief history of Rooibos Tea
For centuries Rooibos tea has been used in South Africa, as well as many other countries around the world because of its medicinal properties obtained from the Aspalathus linearis bush plant.
It’s also loaded with vitamins and minerals such as iron, calcium, potassium, copper, manganese, zinc, magnesium, and alpha hydroxy acid.
It contains antioxidants (50 percent more than green tea) like aspalathin and nothofagin and extremely potent and versatile phenolic compounds.
Dr. Pieter Le Fras Nortier is often considered the father of the rooibos tea industry, as it was his research that led to the global distribution of this red tea. Rooibos is an iconic national beverage of South Africa and is also considered a commodity in many places around the globe.
While references to rooibos tea can be found in documents as early as 1772, this incredible tea has only been commercially traded since 1904. It took many years to determine a method of germinating the plant that would allow the tea to be more widely produced.
How to enjoy Rooibos Tea
You can enjoy it either hot or cold. When brewing the tea, put one teaspoon to one tablespoon of tea into an infuser and pour boiling water over it, then steep between 5 and 15 minutes. Although it’s not necessary, you can sweeten its taste with honey or other natural sweeteners.
For cold rooibos tea, double the amount of tea and allow it to steep for at least 10 minutes.
Word of Caution: Since rooibos is so powerful, there’s a possibility that it can interfere with treatments for various conditions (such as chemotherapy for cancer patients). It offers many health benefits, but It should be used as a preventive measure for these conditions, not as a cure.
14 benefits of red rooibos tea
As you’ve already seen, this herbal drink has many powerful elements. And here are just 14 of the ways it can benefit you.1. Enjoy it hot or cold
Maybe it’s not a direct benefit, but since it’s such a versatile beverage, rooibos tea can be enjoyed either hot or cold depending on your preference.
The absence of caffeine makes it the perfect warm beverage to sip before bed. You can also drink it cold to quench your summer thirst while enjoying the benefits of hydration and antioxidants.2. Improves skin complexion
The presence of zinc, often used in the treatment of acne and related skin conditions, makes red tea the perfect element for skin care. It’s great for your skin and has been shown to help improve its appearance.3. Supports strong bones
How many times have you heard, “Milk: does the body good”? Well, now you have an alternative calcium source. And with an increasing number of the population suffering from lactose intolerance, it’s nice to have a lactose free option.
Rooibos tea contains many minerals that promote solid bone structure and healthy teeth, including manganese, calcium, and fluoride. According to Live Strong, “By increasing the bioavailability of minerals in your system, you can reduce your chances of developing conditions like arthritis, osteoporosis, and chronic joint pain.
Manganese actually works on a deeper level and stimulates the enzymes which are required for bone growth and repair.
Rooibos tea also contains two flavonoids orientin and luteolin, that increase mineral content in bones. Live Science defines flavonoids as a diverse group of phytonutrients (plant chemicals) found in almost all fruits and vegetables. They are known for being powerful antioxidants with anti-inflammatory and immune system benefits.
4. Prevents inflammation
Inflammation is one of the root causes of many diseases. Add to that oxidative stress and you have the culprit behind a large majority of the diseases you and I see today according to Dr. Axe.
In addition to the two previously mentioned flavonoids, rooibos tea also contains quercetin, known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant capabilities. Quercetin has been used a variety of ailments: diabetes, cataracts, hay fever, peptic ulcer, schizophrenia, inflammation, asthma, gout, viral infections, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), preventing cancer, and for treating chronic infections of the prostate.
5. Promotes sleep
Rooibos is completely caffeine-free. A cup before bed has been shown improve sleep.
6. Improves heart health
You and I both know we could use a little less stress in our lives. And rooibos tea is great for removing it.
It can relieve stress, nervous tension, and hypertensive conditions.
Quercetin, an ingredient previously mentioned, has also been shown to prevent many heart conditions. It is anti-inflammatory, which means that it reduces blood pressure. It also promotes an increase in HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) and prevents the LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) from sticking to the walls of arteries and blood vessels. This protects you from various heart conditions, including atherosclerosis, heart attack, and stroke.
7. Treats colic
If you’ve ever had a baby suffering from colic, you’d do just about anything to ease your baby’s pain. Rooibos was first promoted as a way to help small children suffering from colic or stomach pain.
Many South African women claimed that this plant was very soothing for their colicky infant. The way that it soothes colic and stomach pain is unknown, but the anti-inflammatory properties of the herb are likely responsible
Of course, word spreads quickly among moms – it wasn’t long before rooibos tea was being used to combat a number of health issues.
The Rooibos Baby Colic Remedy: Once the rooibos tea has been steeped, check the temperature, and add some milk to the tea to improve the flavor and make it more palatable for your baby.
8. Helps control diabetes
Do you struggle with Diabetes or high blood sugar levels? Another element found in Rooibos tea boasting many health benefits is Aspalathin.
Aspalathin is a rare antioxidant found in rooibos tea that can help balance blood sugar, improve insulin resistance, and glucose absorption by muscles, and boosts insulin secretion from the pancreas.
In one study rooibos tea was tested against both diabetes and cancer and showed “significant therapeutic potential for either the prevention of the onset of the two diseases or their progression,” according to research published in the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine.
9. Treats allergies
Rooibos tea is often used to treat allergies like eczema, hay fever, and allergy-related bronchitis in many parts of South Africa. And because of its anti-inflammatory qualities, thanks to its phenolic content, it’s also prescribed for asthma and topical allergic reactions of various types throughout the body.
10. Delays aging
From the search to the Holy Grail to Silicon Valley’s current obsession with immortality, people have been trying to resolve the chronic condition of aging for centuries.
The antioxidants present in rooibos tea won’t allow you to live forever, but they can slow down the aging process and also boost the strength of your immune system.
Antioxidants seek out free radicals that damage the skin, hair, bones, and other organ systems by making them vulnerable to diseases and degeneration. In terms of beverages, Rooibos tea is one of the most potent in antioxidant content. It also helps prevent your cognitive degeneration, because it reduces the impact of oxidative byproducts in neural pathways.
11. Promotes good blood circulation
Thanks to the rare nutrients like quercetin and bioflavonoids, rooibos tea promotes good blood circulation and also obstructs hemorrhaging.
12. Helps you lose weight
According to Dr. Axe, one of the three compounds that are most effective at burning stubborn belly fat is polyphenols.
Researchers in South Africa discovered that consuming rooibos causes increased leptin secretion.
You’re probably wondering what leptin secretion is. Leptin is known as the “satiety hormone” and “is part of how your body knows it has had enough to eat. Rooibos tea also prevented new fat cells from forming and caused existing fat to metabolize faster, according to the findings published in Phytomedicine: International Journal of Phytotherapy and Phytopharmacology.”
13. Aids in digestion
You and I don’t do ourselves any favors with the diets we often maintain. Diets high in processed foods can lead to many digestive problems.
“The best way for your body to operate at optimal digestive health is to eat nutrient-rich foods free of the problematic chemicals and ingredients that processed foods contain.”
Drinking rooibos tea is one helpful way to maintain good digestive health, especially if you suffer from frequent abdominal pain or diarrhea.
Click the image above to download the full Benefits of Rooibos Tea diagram.
14. Great beverage
With so many benefits and such versatility, rooibos tea is an excellent beverage choice. It can act as a thirst quencher for athletes, a soothing nightcap for insomniacs, or a miracle elixir for fussy babies.
And it’s sweet enough on its own that it can be enjoyed without sweeteners. There’s no doubt, rooibos tea is a great beverage!
What about you?
Are you already a rooibos fan? If so, do you drink it for its health benefits or the taste (or both)?