Updated: Apr 22
Note: This is the first in a series of blogs on the science of tea. Learn why it's good for you, and all about the myriad kinds of tea (we love tea!)
Consumed in southern Africa for centuries, rooibos tea has a growing fan base, and has an enormous amount of health benefits to go along with the eclectic flavor. Also known as a red or bush tea, it is made using leaves from a shrub called aspalathus linearis, often grown on the western coast of South Africa. While it uses the "tea" moniker, The South African Rooibos Council considers rooibos an herb, not a true tea. But don't let that dissuade you from trying this marvelous beverage.
Like most tea, rooibos is prepared by steeping the fermented leaves. They beauty of rooibos is the longer the leaves are steeped, the more delicious the flavor in your cup (unlike black teas which tend to get more bitter). Rooibos tea offers something for everyone. Let’s take a look at the health benefits of drinking this unique tea.
1. Loaded with Antioxidants
For anyone concerned with a healthy lifestyle, rooibos is loaded with powerful stuff. Aspalathin and nothofagin are two vital antioxidants designed to boost your immune system and protect your body against all types of diseases (especially diabetes). Rooibos contains polyphenols, flavonols, flavonoids, and dihydrochalcones. These protective compounds have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antimutagenic qualities. Polyphenols are organic chemicals known for their antioxidant capabilities. Flavonoids are can help lower the risk of coronary heart diseases. This study suggests that regularly drinking organic red rooibos tea provides anti-inflammatory support, and the Sloan Kettering Institute suggests rooibos slows tumor growth.
2. Improves Heart Health
Since rooibos tea is anti-inflammatory in nature, the tea is a natural angiotensin-convertin enzyme (ACE) inhibitor. This helps regulate blood pressure and boost heart health. Many studies confirm the protective cardiovascular effects of red rooibos tea. Quercetin, another powerful antioxidant found in rooibos tea, helps prevent many heart conditions. It also promotes an increase in HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) and inhibits LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) from binding to the walls of arteries and blood vessels.
3. Managing Diabetes
Aspalathin, one of the antioxidants found in rooibos tea, has several unique traits. The Rooibos Council found that aspalathin in rooibos tea can help balance blood sugar, improve insulin resistance and glucose absorption by muscles, and boosts insulin secretion from the pancreas. Overall, rooibos has a dramatic protective effect on diabetes.
4. Skin Care
Because of the richness in anti-oxidants, vitamin D and those big array of minerals (zinc, manganese, calcium, magnesium and more) present in the tea, roobios is a dynamic force on the skin. Its anti-inflammatory components help with acne, eczema, and rashes, as it helps
neutralize free radicals. And, it makes you look beautiful!
5. Caffeine Free
Rooibos tea is completely caffeine-free and is the perfect choice for patients suffering from insomnia, and for those who need to keep caffeine low in their diet. A cup of rooibos tea just before bedtime can help you sleep better (and maybe enhance your dreams).
If you're looking for a true healthy lifestyle tea, this powerful and delicious tea has so many benefits. Where to buy rooibos tea? A great source is the Local Tea Company, featuring locally inspired loose-leaf teas. They also offer 9 diverse blends of rooibos and so many others.