For the people of South Africa, red tea has long been a favorite natural remedy for various ailments. The name Rooibos is literally translated from Afrikaans as “red bush.” This bush is selective as to where it grows and is found only in a small area of the Western Cape in South Africa, namely the Cederberg area. It is part of the fynbos family of this region.
In the 1930’s the first rooibos plants were cultivated in Clanwilliam (a small town in the Western Cape) on the Klein Kliphuis Farm (which literally translated Small Stone House Farm).
For generations the tea has been used as a home treatment and very few questioned it’s ability to relieve certain ailments. Scientific studies performed over recent years have proven many of these claims to be true. Rooibos tea is an infusion made with oxidized leaves of the rooibos plant. It contains two main flavonoids, aspalathin and nothofagin. Aspalathin is unique to rooibos while nothofagin may also be found in other plants. The aspalathin in rooibos have been shown to be more effective in getting rid of free radicals than the EGCG flavonoid found in green tea.
List of Benefits:
Decreases nervous tension
Helps to prevent allergies
Relief from digestive problems because of its antispasmodic properties
Effective treatment for infantile colic
Brings relief to asthma sufferers as it acts as a bronchodilator and antispasmodic agent
Can help with dermatological conditions. A Japanese study suggested that it is beneficial for the topical treatment of acne.
The tea has been proven to be beneficial to heart health
Great beverage for diabetics since it has been proven in one study to suppress the increase of fasting glucose levels as well as increasing glucose tolerance by stimulating the glucose uptake in the muscle tissues. It also stimulates the insulin secretion from the pancreas
It has been shown to aid regeneration of liver tissue and is therefore great for those suffering from liver disease
Other Health Facts Concerning Rooibos:
Rooibos tea has about 1/10th of the tannin content of other teas. Tannin affects your body’s metabolism by interfering with its ability to absorb iron and protein and can strip your body of about 1/3 of its iron levels.
Rooibos tea has no side-effects and can therefore be used in unlimited quantities
Since it contains no caffeine it can be enjoyed in the evening without concerns that it may interfere with your sleep
It contains no kilojoules (calories) which means its a great beverage for those who want to shed some weight
It contains minerals like iron, potassium, zinc, manganese and sodium
Pregnant moms can drink Rooibos tea without concerns that it may increase nausea and heartburn
Since it contains no oxalic acid, it can be safely enjoyed by people with kidney stones
Various Other Uses:
Rooibos tea is a favorite in a wide range of skin and beauty products because of its many therapeutic benefits for the skin. Traditionally Rooibos tea is enjoyed without milk and sweetened with honey or sugar. However, it does have a naturally sweet taste and a distinct nutty flavor. A “red espresso” is often enjoyed by the health conscious, which is a concentrated rooibos served in the ordinary style of espresso. A “green” rooibos tea is also available which has been shown to have more or less double the amount of anti-oxidants than the more popular red tea. It is also enjoyed as an iced tea, but a recent study conducted at the University of Stellenbosch have indicated that the brewed version of rooibos tea has more evidence of antioxidant activity than rooibos iced teas:
Not a single brand of commercially-available rooibos iced teas tested for phenolic quality (a large class of natural compounds found in colourful plants and with laboratory evidence of antioxidant activity – Wikepedia), compared favourably with a cup of brewed rooibos. Worse still, six of the eight brands tested showed not the slightest trace of aspalathin, the antioxidant unique to rooibos.