We often hear about black tea, green tea or sometime white tea. But what is Rooibos tea? Rooibos tea is no way related to the tea plant, but derived from needle like leaves of plant Aspalathus lineari. So Rooibos is in fact herbal tea, rather than true tea. It is also known by Red bush tea, South African tea or just Rooibos! Rooibos is small shrub indigenous to Cape mountains in western province of South Africa. Premier Rooibos chai tea comes from Clanwilliam and Wupperthal region in South Africa.
Green leaves and steam of the rooibos plant are fermented, just like tea plant leaves. This imparts red colour to this bush leaves – hence name Red bush tea. Rooibos Tea taste is distinct and much robust strong flavor.
While African Bushmen used Rooibos for centuries, colonial Dutch found Rooibos interesting and its use flourished. Recent research has shown presence of strong minerals and flavonoids in Rooibos which are capable for treating cancer, heart disease, diabetes and skin care. US Department of Agriculture have too confirmed Rooibos tea health benefits, which has resulted in making Rooibos a $100 million business opportunity. Rooibosch tough commercially profitable, doesn’t grow outside Cape. Further climate change has challenged the existence of this herb. We suggest one should enjoy this wonderful drink before it is declared extinct.
What is difference between Red Rooibos and Green Rooibos?
Difference is similar to what is between green tea and black tea. The fermentation process is limited in green variety. Green Rooibos is less oxidized and has more antioxidant property. Flavour of green rooibos is more grassy and herbal.
Nutritional Value of Rooibos Tea
Rooibos has high mineral content of Potassium and Calcium. It also has other minerals like copper, zinc, manganese and magnesium but in trace quantities. Rooibos contains class of alpha-hydroxy acids which are recently found interest in cosmetics industry. Similar to tea, Rooibos tea is also rich in flavonoids. It contains bio active compounds like aspalathin and nothofagin, which are very good antioxidants. Some bioactive nutrients like Quercetin, which offer anti-inflammatory and anti bacterial properties are present in Rooibos. Compared to traditional tea, Rooibos tea is free of caffeine and contains very low tannins.
Health benefits of Rooibos Chai Tea
Khoi-Khoi tribe of Cape were first to utilize Rooibos health benefits for insomnia and headache. They were first to collect plant leaves, cut, ferment and dry them to make Rooibas tea. Today Redbush tea is a popular health drink not only in South Africa but other parts of world as well. Thanks to wonderful benefits it offers.
Antioxidant and Anti-inflammatory properties of Rooibos
Rooibos chai tea provides body with various antioxidants, in particular aspalathin and nothofagin. These antioxidants helps remove harmful radicals from the body which damages cells of skin, heart, kidney, liver, brain and other internal organs. Drinking rooibos tea is good way of enjoying rooibos antioxidant benefits and increasing immunity.
Rooibos prevents Aging
Often aging can be related to damage or death of body cells. Antioxidant Rooibos helps prevent aging of body including skin wrinkles, graying of hair and others. Superoxide dismutase is chemical present in Rooibos which is known as anti-aging substance. Rooibos Skin Care products have already exploited this benefit of rooibos. Study has also shown that rooibos prevents damage to brain cells and aging of brain. Rooibos tea is good for concentration and focus. Lab animal studies suggest better protection to brain cells by rooibos tea. Regular consumption of Rooibos tea can protect you from Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease which results from prolong deterioration of brain cells and nerves.
Rooibos is body relaxant and aids sleep
African tribe were first to use rooibos to treat sleep disorders. Since it doesn’t contain caffeine, drinking rooibos tea before going to sleep is good way to enjoy calm and sound sleep. It is considered to relieve body stress.
Drink Rooibos tea to reduce blood pressure
Rooibos tea also relives tension on blood circulatory system and nervous system. It is good in treating hypertensive conditions. Chysoeriol is bioactive compound in Rooibos which helps blood circulation, reduces cholesterol and protects your heart.
Rooibos can prevent and treat Cancer
Herbal ingredients are very popular topics of research these days. This African herb is also considered candidate for treatment of various cancers. It protects body cells from mutation causing substance like pollutants, ultra violet light and other chemicals. As an antioxidant it protects body internal organs from oxidative stress of free radicals, which may cause tumors or cancers. South Africa Medical Research Council and USDA has acknowledged potential benefits of rooibos in treating cancers.
Anti-microbial properties of Rooibos
Various flavonoids in Rooibos tea are antimicrobial in nature and helps improve immunity and protect body from infection of bacteria and virus. Regular consumption of Rooibos tea prevents occurrence of common cold. This antimicrobial property is beneficial in skin treatment which is discussed later.
Skin care with Rooibos
Cosmetics industry is always in look out for new material with bioactive compounds. Rooibos is one of them and considered alternative to white tea. Cosmetic products formulated with rooibos tea are available these days. Skin benefits of Rooibos can be attributed three main properties of rooibos – antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial. Flavonoids prevent aging of skin and protect damage to skin by oxidation by UV, chemicals or pollutants. It relieves inflammation or any irritation to skin. It can very well treat sunburns and rashes. It protects skin from various bacteria, virus and fungus. It has been traditionally used in treatment of eczema, acne and pimples. Consumption of rooibos tea or Rooibos beverages also helps increase body immunity and thus protects skin internally. Its hydrating and moisturizing action is equally good. Studies have found presence of α-hydroxy acid and zinc in rooibos which is helpful for healthy. Following are some beauty tips for healthy and beautiful skin:
- Apply lukewarm rooibos tea to itchy or burning skin by cotton or moistened cloth.
- Washing face with cold or luckwarm rooibos tea prevents acne and pimples and freshens up your skin.
- Taking steam of rooibos tea cleanses your skin pores from inside and prevents frequent eruption of acne.
- Mix half cup strong rooibos tea with ½ tsp apple cider vinegar and 2 teaspoon of oatmeal/other floor. Apply this paste to face and neck. Rest for 15 minues before you rinse this with lukewarm Rooibos tea. This is very effective facial.
- For another deep cleansing mask, mix rooibos tea with fine kaolin, green tea powder. This paste kept on face for 10-15 minutes is home remedy for acne.
Rooibos and hair benefits
Rooibos promotes hair growth, prevents loss / damage of hair and makes skin shiny. It is found that fermented or unfermented rooibos leaves prevent loss of hair color. Rooibos extract is used in hair care formulations. To enjoy benefits of rooibos for hair, you may rinse clean your hair with strong rooibos tea. If left for longer time, it offers reddish shade to your lighter hair.
Rooibos for good bones
Rooibos tea is good source of calcium, which is building blocks of bones. Along with other minerals like magnesium, it helps in maintaining bone structure and strong teeth. Quercetin present in Rooibos is considered to reduce bone loss and is beneficial for people suffering from osteoporosis.
Rooibos tea for gastro intestinal problems
Traditional medicines in South Africa use Rooibos tea for treatment of stomach ailments including stomach cramps, diarrhea and indigestion. Rooibos is helpful in treating digestive disorders like constipation, hyperacidity, heartburn. Rooibos tea has been long known for treatment of colic or stomach in infants. This caffeine free beverage is good for treatment of stomach ache in small children. Local people from South Africa believe that it improves appetite of children.
Rooibos tea and treatment of Diabetes
Animal studies have pointed out ability of rooibos to reduce blood sugar in type 2 diabetes. Aspalathin, bioactive antioxidant impacts insulin secretion from pancreas and increase glucose absorption by muscles. More research is being done in area of aspalathin benefits for treating type II diabetes. Studies show that another flavonoid rutin – present in rooibos is beneficial for diabetes, independently or combination with aspalathin.
Rooibos good for spasms
Stomach spasms often causes of discomfort of babies. Rooibos tea has anti-spasmodic property and can ease severe stomach cramps and abdominal pains. It interferes with Calcium and potassium ion transportation which causes spasms.
Rooibos alternative for Kidney Stones causing Tea
Oxalic acid is present in tea – black or green, which in combination with calcium in body forms calcium oxalates that, causes kidney stone. Rooibos tea is good alternative to people already with kidney stone problems over tea.
Treat allergies like asthma and hay fever
Traditionally, Africans used extracts from leaf of Rooibos to treat children suffering from skin allergies like eczema, itching and rashes. In South Africa, Rooibos tea is still considered effective on allergies including allergic bronchitis. However there is not much scientific evidence to establish this benefit. In fact a study conducted found that Rooibos does not have any positive impact on allergies.
Can Rooibos tea help Weight loss?
Weight loss is popular area of interest in many people. Rooibos tea as beverage doesn’t contain caffeine and believed to suppress appetite. It also enhances concentration and energy levels in body resulting higher metabolism and activity, which is good for weight management. Flavonoids in Rooibos have potential to treat diabetes which remains prime cause for obesity in many people.
Rooibos as Energy Drink
Rooibos is good alternative for energy and sports drink. It quenches your thirst, while supplying rich minerals including potassium to the body. Enjoy iced rooibos tea after workout.
Rooibos increases lactation
It is believed that rooibos enhances milk production in lactating mothers. Often rooibos decoction is popular to help breastfeeding problems. Not much scientific study is done to examine such benefits. It is believed that certain chemicals in Rooibos are estrogenic in nature and can mimic female sex hormone – estrogen.
Side effects of Rooibos
Though African women have been consuming Rooibos tea during pregnancy or lactation, no studies have confirmed them safe. Rooibos has active phytochemicals which can interfere with other medicines. Some compounds in Rooibos resemble estrogen and can create hormonal imbalance. Consumption in supplement form should be avoided during existing medications.
However Rooibos continues to be popular beverage amongst many. Today Rooibos tea is used as healthy food supplement. Health benefits of Rooibos tea are evident due to presence of bioactive chemicals. Consuming rooibos tea can ensure good health.
Where to find Blended Rooibos chai?
Rooibos chai tea are often sold in blends of other flavors. You can locate them in supermarket near you or choose to buy online. Rooibos blends well with other flavours like vanilla, cloves, cinnamon and ginger.
- Rooibos vanilla chai – Rooibos with vinalla, ginger, cardamom, cloves and cinnamon – offers tangy sweet flavor. Tastes great with milk and cream.
- Cinnamon Rooibos chai – Strong South African rooibos with Zanzibar cloves and citrus oil can do aromatherapy to your body and refresh your taste and breath.
- Coco Chai Rooibos – Rooibos tea with flavours of coconut along with cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, cloves and peppercorns