Move over, green tea. Rooibos tea is here and is proven better than your ordinary green tea, or any other forms of tea.
For most tea lovers, green tea is the best way to go because of its numerous health benefits. In fact, it is even referred to as one of the “superfoods” by most experts. However, there is another tea that is worth looking for that will surprise you – and it is not found in Asia.
Learn about rooibos tea and find out why this red tea is even better than your usual green tea.
What Is Rooibos Tea?
The word ‘rooibos’ is an African term for “red bush.” Pronounced as “roy-boss” or “roo-ee-bosh,” this vibrantly-colored, caffeine-free herbal tea found in the Cedarberg Mountain in South Africa is a member of the legume family.
This red plant, Aspalanthus linearis, does not grow in the traditional tea trees or plants like the typical green or black tea. In fact, it is a shrub with a long, needle-shaped leaves that makes turns red when fermented.
Rooibos is a traditional beverage of the natives of Western Cape of South Africa. It has a lovely color and aroma that can be enjoyed either hot or cold, on its own or with milk, sugar, lemon or honey. Over the years, rooibos became popular not just in South Africa but in other parts of the world because of its reported health benefits.
Rooibos herbal tea is available in two types:
- Red rooibos tea – This is harvested in the bush leaves and then left for hours to oxidize. Then, it will be spread in thin layers under the sun and left to dry.
- Green rooibos tea – This has a stronger taste compared to its red counterpart. It has a more complex processing method where the oxidation step is omitted, thereby making it more expensive and difficult to find.
Health Benefits of Rooibos Tea
So what makes rooibos tea extra special? And why are people starting to go crazy over this sweet and flavourful tea? Here is a list of the different health benefits of rooibos tea and find out why it deserves the “African Super Beverage” label.
- It is caffeine-free. Did you know that rooibos plant grows naturally without caffeine? Yes, you read that right. This means rooibos does not need to go through a chemical process to remove the caffeine, unlike your usual green or black tea. Plus, anyone can drink it including pregnant women and children without any restrictions as to how many cups per day, minus the heartburn and palpitations.
- It contains powerful antioxidants. Antioxidants play an important role in protecting your healthy cells from free radicals damage. One way to supply your body with antioxidants is by drinking rooibos tea. This tea was found to contain a wide array of antioxidants including aspalanthin and nothofagin that protect your body from free radicals and heart diseases.
- It protects you against cardiovascular diseases. One of the healthy components found in rooibos tea is a flavonoid known as chrysoeriol. This component is known to provide a lot of cardiovascular benefits such as promote healthy circulation, fight inflammation, and stop the enzymes that can lead to heart conditions. At the same time, it can reduce cholesterol levels and improve blood pressure.
- It has high mineral content. One of the key benefits of drinking rooibos tea is that it is packed with essential minerals that are vital to your health. This includes magnesium, calcium, manganese, zinc and iron that are essential for your body’s nervous system, strong teeth and bones, metabolism, oxygen distribution and vascular health.
- It helps improve your metabolism. Obesity and other metabolic issues are one of the issues affecting millions of people today. The good news is rooibos tea can help you in case you are suffering from metabolic disturbances. Based on research, they found out that rooibos can reduce serum cholesterol, triglyceride and free fatty acid concentrations. At the same time, it can reduce fat in the bloodstream, change the size of your fat cells and prevent dietary-caused fatty liver. Isn’t it exciting?
- It is a great solution for your upset stomach and other stomach complaints. Sorry ginger. Rooibos tea can be a great solution for your upset stomach. Rooibos contains a high level of flavonoids such as quercetin. This anti-inflammatory component can relieve abdominal ailments such as cramps, diarrhoea and indigestion. Also, flavonoids are said to reduce spasm, inflammation and allergies.
- It can be your child’s best friend. They say breast milk is best for babies but did you know that rooibos is becoming popular among parents too when it comes to treating certain conditions in their children? Rooibos tea helps relieve digestion problems among children such as colic, diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting. It is also rich in vitamin C and antioxidants to help their little bodies fight free radicals and protect them against diseases. Rooibos tea can also relieve skin irritations such as diaper rash, itchiness and eczema and can be a good alternative to keep them hydrated.
- It helps treat liver disease and respiratory problems. If you are suffering from liver diseases, then drinking rooibos tea can help. It aids in liver tissue regeneration after prolonged intoxication and can be a good liver therapy along with your medications. At the same time, rooibos tea is both a bronchodilator and antispasmodic that can aid in gastrointestinal and respiratory problems, thanks to the flavonoid chrysoeriol.
- It is a source of cancer-protective antioxidants. According to the Cancer Association of South Africa, the antioxidants aspalathin and nothofagin gives rooibos tea its cancer protective abilities. In fact, is even considered as a leading source of natural anti-cancer chemicals. There are also studies that show rooibos tea’s participation in reducing cancer-causing chemicals. In other words, rooibos tea can defend your cells and DNA and stop them from developing into cancer.
- It can protect you against Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease. According to A.S. Darvesh of Northeastern Ohio University, College of Medicine and Pharmacy, rooibos has protective effects on nerves and brain function. In fact, regular drinking of rooibos tea can protect you against lipid peridoxation wherein free radicals damage the brain cells and nerve tissue. If this condition is prolonged, this can lead to Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s.
- It can protect and save male fertility. Fertility and the difficulty to conceive have been affecting millions of couples around the world. Good news for men because rooibos tea can help you in this department. Research suggests that taking rooibos can help increase sperm protecting ability, thanks to its antioxidant contents. In fact, it was found out that rooibos can help men to have healthy sperm and higher sperm count. So what are you waiting for? Drink up!
- It encourages better sleep. You all heard about the importance of getting at least 6 to 8 hours of sleep every day. This is because there are a lot of medical conditions that are associated with lack of sleep. The good news is rooibos tea can help you get that restful sleep. And because it is caffeine-free that is high in mineral content, drinking rooibos tea before bedtime to make you feel relaxed and calm as you hit the snooze button. Plus, it is caffeine free too!
The health benefits of rooibos tea are truly undeniable. At the same time, this type of tea knows no ages and can be taken by anyone from 0 to 100. Therefore, make it a point to drink rooibos tea every day to enjoy all of these health benefits and more.
As what Hippocrates said in his credo, “Let thy food be thy medicine.” So add this to your daily diet, drink up and enjoy the benefits of this African super beverage. Plus, it tastes really good too.