Rooibos tea is now gaining popularity as a healthy and delicious beverage. It has been consumed in South Africa for centuries and now it has become a beloved drink all over the world. Rooibos tea is a flavorful and caffeine-free alternative to green and black tea. It is also known as red bush tea or red tea. This has been prepared by using leaves from Aspalathus linearis that is a shrub.
Traditional Rooibos is made by fermenting the leaves of the shrub which turns them into red-brown. Green Rooibos is also available, which is not fermented. This Rooibos tends to be grassier in flavor and expensive than the traditional Rooibos tea, while also boasting more of antioxidants. (1,2)
Potential Ingredients In Rooibos Tea:
Rooibos tea contains some vital minerals such as iron, calcium, zinc, magnesium, and alpha hydroxy acid. This tea contains high levels of vitamin C and powerful antioxidants like aspalathin that provide a lot of health benefits. Polyphenols are also present in Rooibos tea that aid to fight free radicals, keeping us healthy and helps to easily tackle the day.’
Rooibos Tea: What Is It Good For?
It Is Packed With Antioxidants:
Rooibos tea is known to be beneficial for health because of high levels of antioxidants like quercetin and aspalathin that promote our overall health. (3, 4) These antioxidants might help in protecting cells from damage caused by free radicals.
- Over a long term use, the effects of Rooibos tea might reduce your risk of getting diseases like cancer and heart diseases. (5)
- There is some evidence that this tea can increase the levels of antioxidants in your body.
- In a 15-person study, the blood levels of antioxidants increased by around 2.9% when participants took red Rooibos tea and 6.6% when they took the green Rooibos tea.
- This uptick lasted for 5 hours after they drank 500 ml or 17 ounces of the tea prepared from 750 mg of Rooibos leaves. (6)
- One more study in 12 healthy men also determined that Rooibos tea had no significant effects on the levels of blood antioxidants as compared to a placebo group. (7)
- This might be possible because the antioxidants present in Rooibos are short-lived or absorbed by our body ineffectively. (8, 9)
Rooibos Tea Is Low In Tannins And Free From Caffeine And Oxalic Acid:
A natural stimulant found in both black, as well as green tea, is caffeine. Consuming moderate levels of caffeine is usually safe and there might even be some health benefits of caffeine, such as benefits for concentration and mood, and exercise performance.
However, excessive consumption of caffeine is linked to increased anxiety, sleep issues, heart palpitations, and headaches. Thus there are many people that choose to avoid or limit the intake of caffeine.
Since rooibos tea is naturally free from caffeine, it could be an excellent alternative to green or black tea.
Rooibos tea is also known to lower levels of tannin than regular green or black tea. Tannins are the natural compounds that are present in black and green tea, and they interfere with the absorption of some nutrients, like iron.
Finally, unlike green tea and black tea; red rooibos tea has no oxalic acid.
Consuming high amounts of oxalic acid could increase the risk of kidney stones; thus making rooibos a great option for those who have kidney problems.
Weight Loss Benefits of Rooibos Tea:
Just like black tea and green tea, drinking rooibos tea is a great way to enjoy a delicious beverage, however without packing on the pounds. Every cup of this tea contains just 2-4 calories so that you can drink it without worrying about ruining your diet. Make a note that adding honey, sugar or other sweeteners can increase the calorie count, so if you are looking for losing weight then keep the addition of sweeteners to a minimum amount.
Heart Health Benefits of Rooibos Tea:
One of the best things about Rooibos tea is that it is good for heart health. It assists in keeping the blood circulation pumping smoothly. Containing a bronchodilator, the chrysoeriol flavonoid compound in it is also an effective agent that helps at lowering high blood pressure and also increasing the circulation of blood. The relaxing effects of Rooibos tea help at opening up the blood vessels, while the antioxidants work at lowering LDL or the bad cholesterol and preventing the plaque buildup.
A Korean study of 2015 has found that aspalathin that is credited with regulating symptoms of diabetes, could even prevent several dangerous illnesses, like heart attacks and cardiovascular diseases. Aspalathin works at reducing the risk of hypertension via hormone regulation. This is a polyphenol that can help in preventing vascular inflammation that can actually restrict the flow of blood to the heart. (10)
Again, the antioxidants present in Rooibos tea are associated with a healthy heart. (11) This might happen in several ways.
First, drinking this tea might have beneficial effects of blood pressure by inhibiting ACE or Angiotensin-converting enzyme. (12) ACE is known to indirectly increase the blood pressure by causing your blood vessels to contract.
It was found from a study of 17 people that drinking rooibos tea inhibited the ACE activity, after 30-60 minutes of the ingestion. (13) However, this actually did not translate to any changes in the level of blood pressure.
It Might Reduce Cancer Risk:
Rooibos tea might also be beneficial in reducing the risk of getting cancer.
Test-tube studies note that quercetin and luteolin are the antioxidants, which are found in rooibos tea, and can kill cancer cells and also prevent the growth of tumor. (14, 15)
However, the amount of these antioxidants in one cup of the tea is very small. There are many vegetables and fruits which are much better sources of these antioxidants. So, it is not clear if rooibos packs enough of quercetin and luteolin, and if they are efficiently absorbed enough by your body to provide the essential benefits.
Make a note that human studies are required on rooibos tea and cancer benefits.
Rooibos Tea Might Benefit People With Diabetes:
Rooibos tea is only natural source known for aspalathin antioxidant, which is suggested by animal studies for having anti-diabetic effects. (16)
A study in mice suffering from type 2 diabetes has found that aspalathin helped in balancing the levels of blood sugar and also reducing insulin resistance, which could prove really promising for people having or who are at risk of having type 2 diabetes.
However, human studies on this are required.
Rooibos Tea Alleviates Pain:
Rooibos tea contains a chrysoeriol or a bioactive compound, having antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Rooibos tea, acting as a bronchodilator helps in relieving the feelings of coughing and wheezing that are usually caused by asthma and allergic rhinitis.
Rooibos tea also contains one more flavonoid known as Quercetin, which is known to help in preventing allergies from triggering in the first place. This flavonoid essentially blocks mast cells, which are responsible for releasing histamine or the primary element that triggers an allergic response.
In essence, this tea acts as an antihistamine, without causing the drowsy side effects that generally comes with many of those medicines. Though Rooibos tea is not a replacement for advanced treatments for allergy, like an inhaled corticosteroids and the antihistamines in high doses; yet, drinking a few cups of the tea daily could actually limit our body’s over-reactive immune response triggering allergies.
Rooibos Tea Is Good For Skin and Hair Health:
What else could be rooibos tea be good for? Well, it is known to be greatly beneficial for skin and hair health.
The tea has alpha hydroxy acid, which is one of the primary ingredients in various skin treatments, like chemical peels that can be found in your dermatologist’s office.
Though alpha hydroxyl acid is not commonly found in food, however, Rooibos tea does contain it in a fair amount and drinking the tea can help with your regular skincare routine and also, help you in reducing wrinkles.
One study conducted in the year 2010 compared cosmetic blends prepared of herbal extracts in a gel base. (17) These extracts were soybean, ginkgo, and a mixture of tea and Rooibos. It was found that the mixture of tea and Rooibos was most effective at reducing wrinkles, and ginkgo was found to be best for moisturizing the skin.
In one more clinical study of 28 days, a formula of tea and Rooibos had demonstrated that there was a 10% of improvement in the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. Rooibos tea is known to offer a soothing effect and thus helps in reducing skin irritation and redness occurring in more even-toned skin. The zinc content present in rooibos tea is known to show significant effects in treating various skin problems, such as eczema and acne. (18)
It is also found that Rooibos tea can help in improving your hair health. Research shows that there is an increased hair growth in almost 90% of the volunteers by applying a 10% Rooibos tea extract to their hair.
Other Health Benefits of Rooibos Tea:
Rooibos tea is also good for some other things. Let us check them below.
Rooibos tea contains minerals like calcium, fluoride, and manganese, all of which help in building strong bones. These minerals are known to produce increased activity of osteoblast cells, which are known to build stronger bone mass. (19)
Rooibos tea also contains two other compounds that are known to be more beneficial to our bone health. It contains luteolin and orientin or the flavonoids, which are known to increase the mineral contents in the bones. (20)
There are many Americans that struggle from digestive problems. Thus, there are an increasing incidence of illnesses like acid reflux, Celiac disease, and chronic upset stomach. Rooibos tea contains various nutrients that are antispasmodic and help in preventing stomachaches. Compounds like orientin, quercetin, and vitexin found in rooibos help in relaxing the digestive system and also relieve the feelings of discomfort. It is also known that rooibos tea has got potential to reduce several symptoms of diarrhea.
Supports Immune System:
Rooibos tea is also good for its benefits in supporting the proper functioning of the immune system. It is loaded with vitamins and minerals that actually aid in supporting the immune function and keeping away the pathogens that might make you sick.
Side Effects Of Rooibos Tea:
Generally, rooibos tea is safe to drink and it has very little or no side effects. However, some of the minor side effects in certain populations when taken in large doses might include the following.
Increase Production Of Female Hormone:
Rooibos tea might cause an increased production of the female hormone, estrogen. Though it is nothing to be worried about; however, individuals with breast cancer or any other hormone-sensitive diseases must always consult with their doctors before drinking Rooibos tea.
Interaction With Medication:
It is possible that the antioxidants and chemical compounds present in Rooibos tea might interfere with medications. So, you need to consult with your doctor before adding this tea to your diet, in case you are taking any sort of medication.
So, we already know that Rooibos tea is good for a lot of things, and it could actually be a good alternative to green or black tea; especially if you want to limit or avoid tannins and caffeine. So, most people can actually enjoy the health benefits of Rooibos tea. However, if you suffer from any medical condition then you definitely need to consult with your physician before adding Rooibos tea to your regular diet so as to keep away from any possible side effects or complications.