Rooibos Tea and Its Health Benefits
Rooibos tea, also commonly known as bush tea, is harvested from the South African red bush plant. Caffeine-free and low in tannins, this savory tea has a rich earthy color and offers a sweeter flavor than many herbal beverages, such as chamomile tea. Currently, rooibos tea research is showing encouraging results in regard to health benefits, making this tea increasingly popular among those who favor homeopathic remedies.
What is Rooibos Tea Good For?
Rooibos tea is commonly used for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Other uses include preventing complications among people with diabetes, halting metabolic upset, preserving male fertility and safeguarding the brain. Many people also use rooibos tea for:
Health Benefits of Rooibos Tea
- Caffeine-free: Rooibos tea is a healthy choice for those who wish to expel caffeine from their diet. The effects of caffeine, which have been extensively studied, can lead to issues such as headaches, insomnia, a rise in blood pressure, the aggravation of heart conditions and changes in how the body uses sugar, possibly worsening diabetes. Caffeine also affects IBS, weak bones, worsens glaucoma and can affect people suffering from epilepsy. Drinking rooibos tea as a sound alternative to beverages containing caffeine, reducing or removing negative caffeine-related effects.
- Antioxidants and Allergies: Rooibos tea is also abundant in polyphenols, an organic chemical that plays an important role in the prevention of medical issues such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports that polyphenols also play an important role in the prevention of neurodegenerative diseases. In addition, the polyphenols in African rooibos help protect the body against allergies like hay-fever.
- Healthy Bones: African rooibos tea also protects the bones, offering copious amounts of manganese and calcium. This is especially beneficial for individuals who wish to prevent or ease the effects of osteoporosis, chronic joint pain and rheumatoid arthritis. According to Mayo Clinic, research shows that a manganese deficiency in animals can result in severe issues such as poor growth patterns, along with the incorrect formation of bones and cartilage.
- Diabetes: The CDC reports that over 21 million Americans struggle with diabetes, accounting for just over 9 percent of the population, with an additional 8 million people living with undiagnosed diabetes. Rooibos tea contains aspalathin, a vital component known to help balance blood sugar, advance the absorption of glucose by the muscles and cultivate insulin resistance. Consuming rooibos tea is particularly beneficial for people who wish to prevent or treat diabetes, as aspalathin can thwart blood sugar highs and lows.
- Cardiovascular Health: Rooibus tea also helps protect the heart, as it contains quercitin, a plant pigment, which is found in other antioxidant rich foods such as berries and green tea. Quercitin is useful for treating many heart conditions such as issues with circulation, high cholesterol and hardening of the arteries. Rooibos tea increases good cholesterol or HDL, while preventing bad cholesterol or LDL from adhering to arterial walls. This helps protect the body from heart attack and stroke.
Side Effects of Rooibos Tea
While rooibos tea is a safe and flavorful addition to most diets, it may have a negative effect for some people. Individuals who should not drink rooibos tea or who should use the tea with caution (including vanilla rooibos and green rooibos varieties) include:
- Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment, as it can interfere with chemotherapy, like many other herbal or homeopathic supplements
- People living with liver or kidney disease, as it may aggravate these conditions
- Women with breast cancer, as rooibos tea has estrogenic properties and breast cancer appears to be hypersensitive to hormones
- Pregnant or breast-feeding women, although likely safe, as rooibos is often used for infants suffering from colic, not enough studies have been done to show whether rooibos has any ill effects on young or developing children
While most herbals teas offer health benefits, rooibos tea offers a truly unique and pleasing taste, making it as enjoyable as it is healthy.