A traditional South African brew, rooibos tea is gaining popularity in other parts of the world. Tea-lovers like its flavor, which they describe as smooth and sweet with a hint of vanilla. It also blends well with other ingredients. But there is more to rooibos tea than taste. South Africans have used rooibos tea for medicinal purposes for centuries, and now scientists are looking into its health benefits.
“Rooibos” means “red bush,” but the rooibos plant has green, needle-like leaves, and tiny yellow flowers. When workers pick, bruise, and ferment the leaves to make tea, they turn a reddish color, giving the tea its name. The leaves are also picked and dried without fermenting to make green Rooibos Herbal Supplement.
Rooibos tea has zero calories when consumed without milk, sugar, honey, or other added ingredients. One cup of rooibos tea contains:
- Calories: 0
- Protein: 0 grams
- Fat: 0 grams
- Carbohydrates: 0 grams
- Fiber: 0 grams
- Sugar: 0 grams
Potential Health Benefits of Rooibos Tea
Since it is an herbal tea, rooibos tea has no caffeine. Unlike green and black tea, it also contains no tannins, which can be bitter. Although it has little nutritional value, rooibos tea is rich in antioxidants, which may benefit health.
The antioxidants in rooibos tea are polyphenols, which are chemical compounds that allow plants to fight stress. When people eat foods rich in polyphenols, they are less likely to suffer from inflammation. Chronic inflammation has been tied to a higher risk of cancer, heart disease, and many other conditions.
Researchers are especially interested in aspalathin, an antioxidant found in rooibos that may have the ability to lower blood sugar. In lab and animal studies, aspalathin worked as an anti-diabetic. Human studies could verify that aspalathin works similarly in the body, but more research is needed. It is important to note that the fermentation used in the manufacture of the typical, red rooibos tea destroys much of the aspalathin. Those wanting to take advantage of any potential anti-diabetic effect would need to drink green rooibos.
Blood Pressure Control
Doctors often prescribe medications called ACE inhibitors to relax blood vessels and reduce blood pressure. Some plant substances act as natural ACE inhibitors. In one study, both green tea and rooibos tea acted as ACE inhibitors in study participants. The study was small, so more research is needed to confirm the effect. If you take blood pressure medicine, never discontinue it without your doctor’s approval.
Test-tube studies note that the antioxidants quercetin and luteolin, which are present in rooibos tea, can kill cancer cells and prevent tumour growth.
However, the amount of quercetin and luteolin in a cup of the tea is very small. Many fruits and vegetables are much better sources.
Therefore, it is unclear whether rooibos packs enough of these two antioxidants, and whether they’re absorbed efficiently enough by your body to provide benefits.
Keep in mind that human studies are needed on rooibos and cancer.
How does it work?
Rooibos contains chemicals that might protect the heart and might also prevent age-related changes in the brain.
Rooibos is a fragrant, caffeine-free tea. It is made from the leaves and stems of a tree called Aspalathus linearis. This tree grows in South Africa, where rooibos tea is the national drink.
Rooibos is used for hay fever, preventing cancer, preventing heart disease, indigestion (dyspepsia), and other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.