Is there anything more South African than a hot pot of freshly-brewed rooibos tea? Not only does it taste like home, but it comes with a host of health and medicinal benefits too. Aside from being caffeine-free, Rooibos is 100% natural with no added preservatives or colourants. Let’s take a look at what makes this tea so special.
The FYI on rooibos tea
Also known as red bush tea (rooi bos = red bush) and African red tea, rooibos is a herbal drink made by steeping the leaves of the Aspalathus linearis plant. It is known as red bush because of the dark red colour of the brew, and the colour of the tea leaves once they have been fermented.
Where does rooibos tea come from?
The Aspalathus linearis plant is a botanic native to South Africa and it flourishes in the mountainous Cederberg region of the Western Cape province. There are two types of rooibos tea: red and green rooibos. Red rooibos has been oxidised, which gives it a flavour closer to black tea and oolong tea. Green rooibos tea remains unoxidised, which gives it a similar flavour profile to green tea.
What are the benefits of rooibos tea for your body’s health?
Rooibos tea is rich in polyphenols, which are micronutrients that deliver many health benefits to the drinker. It also contains high levels of antioxidants which have anti-inflammatory properties that work to lessen inflammation in the body, helping to soothe aches and pains. Rooibos tea also contains anti-spasmodic compounds, which means that drinking a cup (or three!) of rooibos tea can help settle stomach cramps or period pain by activating potassium ions in the body.
Five more medicinal benefits of drinking rooibos tea
- Improves your heart health: Antioxidants help reduce the levels of bad cholesterol in the body and increase the levels of good cholesterol, which can reduce fat deposits in the blood vessels, giving your blood adequate room to be pumped effectively around your body. Rooibos can also help with reducing blood pressure by inhibiting the action of angiotensin-converting enzymes that contribute to raised blood pressure levels. Together, these effects reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and improve overall heart health.
- Lowers your blood sugar: The antioxidant aspalathin has the potential to assist greatly with managing diabetes, as it can reduce high blood sugar levels in people with diabetes and help to prevent the risk of further complications.
- Assists in maintaining a healthy weight: Rooibos tea has zero calories when consumed without sugar, milk or honey, so this is a good beverage option for people who are trying to limit calorie consumption. Rooibos tea can also help with weight loss as it has been known to increase leptin levels, which is a hormone released from fat cells that regulates your appetite by sending signals to the brain that you’ve eaten enough and your body is satiated. Rooibos tea can further inhibit the formation of new fat cells, while boosting fat metabolism.
- Maintain a youthful appearance by reducing wrinkles: It is a popular ingredient in skincare products, as it is effective in helping the skin cells retain moisture and protects skin from premature aging. It is especially soothing for dry, stressed skin.
- Assists with relieving allergy symptoms: The quercetin content in Rooibos helps to block the cells that can trigger allergic reactions. This is especially helpful in seasonal changes when allergies are on the rise. Rooibos is rich in a variety of antioxidants that have several positive effects on the body, and with the anti-inflammatory and antiviral qualities of polyphenols found in rooibos tea, it can form an effective part of your daily allergy management.
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