The herbal tea made from rooibos has been a popular drink in Southern Africa for generations. The tea is derived from a plant called, Aspalathus linearis which is only grown in a small area in the Western Cape province of South Africa. During recent years rooibos has become popular in other parts of the world due to its astounding health benefits
According to the South African Rooibos Council, rooibos is not a true tea, but an herb. This infusion made from oxidized rooibos herb leaves are commonly referred to as rooibos tea.
According to the South African Rooibos Council, rooibos is not a true tea, but an herb. This infusion made from oxidized rooibos herb leaves are commonly referred to as rooibos tea. Traditionally, it is enjoyed hot with a slice of lemon and sugar or honey, but iced tea versions and even a rooibos espresso commonly dubbed as ‘red espresso’ made from concentrated rooibos are gaining popularity. This form of tea has been traditionally popular due to its great taste and unique color. Its medicinal attributes have been confirmed by The US Department of Agriculture in Washington DC, which affirmed that rooibos tea is capable of reducing cancer, heart disease, premature aging and other serious conditions.
Amazing Health Benefits of Rooibos Tea:
1. Caffeine Free
The rooibos plant grows naturally without any caffeine thus eliminating the chemical process to remove caffeine. It is safe for pregnant women and children as its caffeine free. The other key benefit is that rooibos tea can be drunk in unrestricted amounts, in fact, the average South African will consume 5-6 cups per day. By removing caffeine from your diet, you can also improve your stress levels, mood and heart health.
2. Contains Powerful Antioxidants and Polyphenols
Rooibos tea contains a huge array of antioxidants which help to protect the body by increasing the level of SOD. Rooibos tea has many phenolic compounds within it and polyphenols have anti-inflammatory and anti-viral qualities.
Aspalathin and nothofagin are two vital antioxidants in rooibos tea which are not really found in any other plant. They help in boosing your immune system and protecting your body against all types of diseases and conditions. The health benefits of rooibos tea seem to be mostly due to these flavonoids.
3. Prevents Some Types of Cancer
Some studies have demonstrated a link between consumption of rooibos tea and reduction of cancer-causing chemicals. This is because of the high level of dominant antioxidants, some of which have anti-mutagenic properties. This means that they defend cells and DNA against damage and inhibit them from developing into cancer.
4. High Mineral Content and Promotes Bone Health
Red rooibos tea is rich in calcium, manganese and fluoride minerals that assist in maintaining good bone structure and stronger teeth. By increasing the bio-availability of minerals in your system, you can reduce your chances of developing conditions like arthritis, osteoporosis, and chronic joint pain. Manganese works at a deeper level, and stimulates the enzymes which are required to build new bones and repair damage. Flouride is related more commonly to dental health, which is why flouride compounds are so often found in mouthwashes and toothpastes.
5. Improves Circulation
One of the many potent antioxidants in rooibos tea is called Chysoeriol. It can improve circulation by preventing the activity of the enzyme that triggers cardiovascular disease. Drinking rooibos tea also lowers blood pressure and cholesterol. Bioflavanoids found in the tea assists in good blood circulation and obstructs hemorrhaging.
6. Has Antispasmodic Properties that Relieve Stomach Complaints
As rooibos tea contains high levels of flavonoids, especially one called Quercetin, it has the ability to relieve numerous abdominal ailments such as cramps, diarrhea and indigestion and reduce spasm, inflammation and allergies. The tea contains antispasmodic agents, which can ease severe stomach cramps and abdominal pains. This is mainly due to the activation of K+ (potassium ions) in the body without antagonizing the activities of Calcium. Together, this can reduce the presence of hyperactivity in the gastrointestinal tract.
7. Aids Absorption of Iron
Unlike most black teas, which prevent the body from absorbing iron effectively because of the tannins they contain, rooibos tea supports the body in absorbing iron. Rooibos tea contains less than half the tannins of black tea.
8. Can Relieve Skin Conditions
Rooibos tea contains phenyl pyretic acid, which can help improve skin affected by acne, psoriasis and eczema. You can apply a freshly brewed and cooled tea bag to the affected areas and it will soothe and heal any inflammation. The alpha hydroxy acid and zinc content of red tea are very good for the skin. You can also try applying some red tea powder directly to the skin to relieve acne, pimples, sunburns or related skin conditions.
Alpha-hydroxy acids are not found naturally from many sources, but in terms of cosmetic products, it has become very popular, particularly because of its ability to reduce wrinkles and other premature aging symptoms. They are commonly found in chemical peels, which revitalize the skin and leave it fresh and invigorated with a healthy glow. However, there has been some controversy about commercial uses of alpha hydroxy acid, so it is always better to get it from a natural source, like red rooibos tea!
9. Can Protect against Parkinsons and Alzheimers Disease
Drinking rooibos tea regularly can protect against a process known as lipid peridoxation. This is where free radicals damage brain cells and nerve tissue. If this is prolonged, it can lead eventually to progressive and deteriorating brain disease, such as Alzheimers. Laboratory tests on rats showed little difference in brain function from a group of older rats given rooibos tea to the brains of new born rats.
10. Encourages Restful Sleep
Many people choose to drink the tea before bedtime as it can help with insomnia. Due to its high mineral content and lack of caffeine, it helps people to feel calm and relaxed. A cup of rooibos beverage just before going to bed can help you sleep better. It often recommended by doctors for patients suffering from insomnia.
11. Rooibos Extract Fights HIV
Rooibos tea extract seems to be helpful in antigen-specific antibody production by increasing interleukin-2 (IL-2) production in vitro and in vivo. Another study found that an alkaline extract of rooibos tea leaves suppressed HIV-induced cytopathicity.
12. Relieves Hypertension
Rooibos tea is known to relieve stress, nervous tension and hypertensive conditions. Rooibos tea is known as a brochodilator, which not only relieves respiratory conditions but generally reduces blood pressure, which can lead to dangerous cardiovascular diseases like heart attacks and atherosclerosis.
13. Improves Cardiovascular Health
Quercetin, found in Rooibos tea has been linked to preventing a wide variety of heart conditions. It is anti-inflammatory, which reduces blood pressure and also scavenges free radicals like other antioxidants. It promotes an increase in HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) and inhibits the LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) from binding to the walls of arteries and blood vessels. This means added protection against various heart conditions, including atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes. It also offers cardiovascular protection through ACE inhibition.
14. Safe for Infants
Rooibos tea can be useful for small children who suffer from colic or stomach pains.You may add some sweetened milk to the tea to improve the flavor and make it more palatable. This is actually what first began rooibos tea as a well-known health aid. Various South African women claimed that this plant was very soothing for their colicky infant. The exact mechanism by which it soothes colic and stomach pain is unknown, but the general anti-inflammatory properties of the herb are most likely responsible.
15. Shields against Diabetes
Aspalathin is one of the rare antioxidants that are found in rooibos tea, and it has a number of unique qualities. It can help to balance blood sugar, improve insulin resistance, suppress fasting glucose levels, improve glucose absorption by muscles, and boosts the insulin secretion from the pancreas. This all results in an ideal defensive shield against developing Type II Diabetes, one of the most widespread and dangerous conditions that is currently sweeping the world. By balancing blood sugar, rooibos tea can also protect people that already have diabetes by preventing the spikes and drops of blood sugar that are so detrimental to their overall health.
16. Safe for people with Kidney Stones
Even 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 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.
17. Cures Allergies
In many parts of South Africa, red tea is used as an effective curative to treat allergies like eczema, hay fever and allergy-related bronchitis. It has anti-inflammatory qualities, thanks to its phenolic content, and this is why it is also prescribed for asthma and topical allergic reactions of various types throughout the body.
18. Slows 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 by products in neural pathways, stimulating concentration and focus!
The Difference Between Red and Green Rooibos Tea
Generally even people who are not fans of green tea usually like the taste of rooibos tea.
Typically, rooibos leaves are oxidised before they are used to make rooibos tea. This process, which is not exactly the same as the fermentation process used in making black tea, gives them the familiar reddish-brown color and the slightly sweet taste. However, unoxidised rooibos tea are also available, but the color and taste are quite different. Like in the case of regular tea, the oxidation process also affects the flavonoid content of the tea. Unoxidised rooibos tea contains more than twice as much total flavonoids as oxidised tea and 10 fold higher levels of aspalathin and nothofagin. Generally even people who are not fans of green tea usually like the taste of rooibos tea.
Despite all of these health benefits of rooibos tea, there can be a downside for some people.
– Since rooibos is so powerful, it can interfere with treatments for various conditions, including chemotherapy for cancer patients.
– Also, rooibos has shown estrogenic activities in certain studies, so it might not be a good idea to use if you have a hormone-sensitive cancer like breast cancer.
– Finally, if you have existing kidney or liver conditions, rooibos might be more harmful than helpful.
It should be used as a preventative measure for these conditions, not a cure. Make sure you consult your doctor before adding any new dietary elements or beverages to your normal routine, particularly one as powerful as rooibos tea!