Rooibos tea is rapidly growing in popularity as a healthy beverage of choice for many. The tea is caffeine-free and flavorful, offering similar perks as coconut water. After undergoing fermentation and oxidation, the leaves turn bright red. Rooibos tea contains an explosive amount of antioxidants, and as such, its health benefits are far-reaching.
The makeup of Rooibos tea
In general, all drinks, including green and black tea, contain polyphenols that help to cleanse the body from harmful radicals. However, some teas contain fewer antioxidants than others. Other drinks, top among them Rooibos pack plenty of minerals that further enhance your overall health as well.
These include but are not limited to potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, and zinc, among others. Unlike other beverages that contain oxalic acid, Rooibos tea is safe for consumption, even for those that have kidney stones.
The many health benefits of Rooibos Tea
Rooibos is like that magical cure-all tea for conditions ranging from cancer to heart conditions and diabetes. The tea also helps in relieving headaches, asthma, insomnia, and allergies. Beauty enthusiasts also get to benefit from its anti-aging benefits.
1. It improves immunity and cleanses the body
Rooibos tea has two kinds of antioxidants, namely, Aspalathin and Nothofagus. These antioxidants will significantly help to strengthen your immunity against many common ailments. In a study published in Science Direct, participants had a 2.9% increase in blood antioxidant levels after drinking red bush tea (1).
Also, the tea contains flavonols, polyphenols, and flavonoids.
These compounds are useful for giving your body the needed cleansing and detoxification. Polyphenols have anti-inflammatory properties, while flavonoids have the potential to help reduce the risk of heart diseases.
2. Rooibos tea heals and protects the heart
Rooibos affects heart health in several ways. For starters, it lowers your blood pressure by counteracting angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE). ACE enzyme directly increases blood pressure by causing the constriction of blood vessels. Rooibos tea can inhibit this enzyme for as long as an hour after ingestion.
Another way Rooibos strengthens heart health is by improving good cholesterol levels and reducing bad cholesterol in the blood. Healthy cholesterol helps to guard the heart against the risk of cardiac arrests and stroke. Too much bad cholesterol often leads to high blood pressure and other cardiac conditions (2).
3. Rooibos is anti-diabetic tea
Animal studies show that Aspalathin, an antioxidant in Rooibos tea, can balance blood sugar levels and reduce insulin resistance. These hypoglycemic effects of Rooibos tea are effective in controlling diabetes type 2. Drinking Rooibos tea can, therefore, help to protect against diabetes by curtailing sharp spikes and drops in blood sugar levels (3).
4. Red Bush tea is good for the bones
The fluoride minerals and the significant amounts of manganese and calcium in Rooibos tea will significantly improve your bone health. To a large extent, these components help to reduce chronic joint pain, arthritis, and osteoporosis. Also, manganese stimulates the production of new bone tissues and repairs old ones (4).
5. Rooibos tea helps to combat allergies
The Red Bush brew has contains a flavonoid called chrysoeriol, which has superb anti-inflammatory effects. The compound functions as a bronchodilator, helping to restore even breathing and prevent wheezing and coughing. Rooibos tea is, therefore, a reliable ally in the fight against asthma and allergic rhinitis.
Another equally significant flavonoid in the tea is Quercetin. This flavonoid helps to prevent allergic reactions from happening in the first place. It works by blocking mast cells which usually produce histamine, a key ingredient in allergic reactions (5).
6. Red Bush tea is a natural beauty solution
Rooibos tea powder contains alpha hydroxy acid, which is a skin nourishment found in many beauty formula such as chemical peels. The compound helps to straighten wrinkles and strengthen the skin cells. Similarly, the tea has superoxide dismutase, an enzyme that repairs worn out skin cells and replaces them with new ones.
The enzyme works with the other antioxidants in Rooibos tea to cleanse the body from free radicals that cause aging. A study by the Nelson Mandela University shows that red bush tea can indeed help to restore the function of old cells (6).
Apart from eradicating wrinkles and other signs of aging, Rooibos tea also helps to reduce other skin blemishes like uneven pigmentation. Because of its soothing effect, the South African tea proves beneficial in reducing inflammation and the resultant reddening on the skin. The zinc compound of the beverage is also effective in combating acne and eczema.
7. Rooibos tea can cure digestive disorders
The number of people suffering from digestive disorders has been on a steady rise the world over. Notable digestive conditions include acid reflux celiac diseases and chronic stomach upset. This trend can be attributed to the increased consumption of processed foods. Luckily, the African Red Bush tea can help.
The compounds in the tea, including orientin, quercetin, and vitexin, help to relieve discomfort and relax the digestive tract. The fact that the beverage has antispasmodic nutrients also makes it a natural cure for all kinds of stomach pains. Rooibos tea also has a small percentage of tannins, which help in combatting diarrhea (7).
8. Rooibos is a potent pain buster
Red Bush tea is an effective pain killer. The numerous antioxidants are anti-inflammatory compounds, helping to numb away aches and pains. The anti-inflammation properties of Rooibos also make it effective at reducing arthritis pain (8).
The anti-spasmodic compounds in the tea, on the other hand, help to reduce abdominal cramps and other pains. The compounds work by activating potassium ions in the body, as opposed to calcium ions. The overall effect is a reduced level of hyperactivity in the digestive tract.
9. Rooibos tea is a caffeine-free beverage and a sleep enhancer
Unlike coffee which gets you hooked with anxiety and jitters, Rooibos tea comes with no strings attached. The fact that it’s not caffeinated means that you can sleep like a baby even after drinking the tea late in the evening. The tea is suitable even for those that struggle with insomnia.
A cup of Rooibos tea before bed will help you sleep through the night, research shows. A study conducted by Stellenbosch University shows that the unique tea helps to alleviate stress and anxiety and thus facilitates a peaceful rest. Also, magnesium and calcium are compounds useful for deep sleep, according to studies shared in the European Neurology Journal. Your body needs calcium to make melatonin, a sleep hormone while magnesium serves as a tranquilizer.
10. Rooibos tea has the potential to prevent kidney stones
Kidney stones are as a result of calcium oxalate forming and depositing in the kidneys. The antioxidants in the red bush tea can help to minimize the risk of the condition. Unlike other beverages, Rooibos tea has no oxalic acid, and therefore imbibes the formation of calcium oxalate (10).
The worst thing about calcium oxalate is that it expands and contracts in response to the slightest change in temperature. You can avoid kidney stones by stocking up your kitchen with Rooibos tea bags.
11. A truly refreshing beverage
If you need something to reinvigorate your strength after exercising, at work or when traveling, red bush tea will be a real treat. The tea has a naturally sweet taste, earthy tones and hints of vanilla and caramel. The tea is not just tasty; its reddish brown shade is visually appealing as well
You can take the tea brewed in its natural form, or use honey and other sweeteners. The healthy drink helps with blood circulation. Its nutrients, including vitamin C, antioxidants, and flavonoids will help to promote immunity and optimal body processes.
Possible side effects of Rooibos Tea
Even with its many health benefits, red bush tea has drawbacks as well (11). Seek your doctor’s advice if you witness adverse reactions after consuming red bush tea. The tea can increase estrogenic activity: Some of the compounds in Rooibos lead to overproduction of estrogen which can cause breast cancer.
The risk for Hepatotoxicity: This term refers to liver damage from a chemical imbalance. Rooibos tea increases the activity of liver enzymes, a factor that may lead to internal damage.
Fresh Rooibos leaves may have some level of toxicity: There is a big chance that fresh leaves will be contaminated with salmonella or disease-causing bacteria. Antioxidants interfere with chemotherapy: The high number of antioxidants in red bush tea is its strongest selling point. However, this factor might interfere with treatments such as chemotherapy.
The bottom line
Rooibos tea from South Africa is now a favorite type of tea for many around the world. The tea has inspired intensive research in its medicinal benefits, and scientists believe it can cure or prevent many conditions, including heart conditions, diabetes, insomnia, kidney stones, and skin blemishes, among others. Even so, watch out for any negative reactions when you consume the tea.
History of Rooibos tea
Also known as red bush tea, Rooibos tea originates from Cederberg South Africa. In 1652, Dutch settlers in the Cape of Good Hope established a beverage plant targeting sailors that traveled between Asia and Europe. Within a short time, the Dutch colonists started to blend their Chinese teas with leaves of the local Aspalathus linearis plant. This new plant added taste and aroma to the standard black tea.
By the turn of the 19th century, merchants had begun trading in Rooibos tea, which was then known as ed mountain tea.’ In 1930, Dr. P le Fras Nortier, a local botanist discovered ways to germinate and cultivate the Rooibos tea. Production of Rooibos started on a commercial scale on the foothills of the Cederberg mountain range.
Today, Dr. Nortier is known as the pioneer of the Rooibos tea industry. His research on Rooibos tea propagation led to the blossoming of the beverage on a national and then a global scale. Rooibos tea farming is currently a major economic venture in Clanwilliam. The refined production methods and increased distribution have made Rooibos tea popular in all the corners of the world.