Rooibos Tea - Benefits, Usage, and Side Effects
What is Rooibos Tea?
Rooibos tea, also known as Bush Tea, Red Bush Tea, and Red Tea, is derived from the Rooibos Shrub. Studies suggest that the tea derived its name as ‘Red Tea’ since the leaves turn red post-fermentation. According to legends, Rooibos tea is consumed for ages in South Africa and was once considered as a native drink of this region. (Reference: Rooibos, Wikipedia, Retrieved on 20 May) Nowadays, tea lovers worldwide are turning to Rooibos tea and making it apart of their routine. This is because it has 50 per cent more antioxidants content when compared to Green tea and black tea.
History of Rooibos Tea
The tea is obtained from the leaves of Aspalathus Linearis, a shrub found in Cape of Good Hope in South Africa. The plant is in the form of a bush, and so the name ‘bush tea' came into existence. In ancient times, the natives of South Africa used to make herbal medicines from the leaves of this plant. Fast forward a few millennia, its popularity began to fade. Carl Humberg, a botanist, rediscovered the bush and revived its popularity in 1772. Later in 1904, a Russian immigrant started selling it and named it ‘Mountain Tea'.
During WWII, it was difficult to import tea from Asian countries, so Rooibos tea started gaining people's attention. However, the demand-supply gap didn’t earn it the appreciation it deserved. In 1968, Annique Theron's book on rooibos tea health benefits gave it the much-needed boost. Consequently, researchers started examining the rooibos tea, which eventually led to the discovery of its long list of benefits. Gradually, this native drink of South Africa established a long list of cult followers. Nowadays, you can buy it from local supermarkets, as well as e-commerce sites.
What is Rooibos Tea Good for and what is the Rooibos Tea Health Benefits?
You'd feel surprised to know that its taste is not the only factor that makes it popular. Being rich in antioxidants, it has a plethora of health benefits.
Here are some of the Rooibos tea health benefits -
- It’s free of caffeine. Unlike traditional green tea or black tea, Rooibos has zero caffeine content. Yes, caffeine in moderation is good for our bodies, but many tend to suffer excessively due to its adverse effects. The good news is, they can easily consume Rooibos tea as an alternative.
- It is also free from oxalic acid and tannin found in the traditional varieties. Tannin hinders the absorption of iron and oxalic acid in high amounts leads to the formation of stones in the kidneys.
- Rooibos tea being rich in antioxidants helps the body fight free radicals. This prevents the body from degenerative diseases, premature aging, and several other problems. (Reference: 5 Health Benefits of Rooibos Tea (Plus Side Effects), Healthline, Retrieved on 20 May)
- It helps in digestive processes. Tannins often result in indigestion. Rooibos being free of tannins is a healthy alternative to other variants. It also contains antispasmodic elements, protecting the body against diarrhoea and gastric issues.
- Rooibos is packed with micro-nutrients like iron, zinc, manganese, and many more. It helps prevent hair loss and increases hair growth.
- It boosts immunity. Red tea improves the body's immune system, acting as an impenetrable barrier against a range of diseases.
- Red tea is known for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It helps in faster recovery from wounds and relieves pain. It is also rich in polyphenols, which again help our bodies fight diseases like cancer, diabetes, and osteoporosis.
- Rooibos tea is packed with micro-nutrients like manganese and calcium, which helps improve bone strength and prevent diseases like arthritis.
- Rooibos Tea reverses the cell damage, adding glow to the skin, and rejuvenating it. (Reference: 8 health benefits of drinking rooibos tea or red tea, Ndtv food, Retrieved on 20 May 2020)
Does Rooibos tea Make You Sleepy?Studies have found Rooibos tea to be a perfect solution for anyone suffering from lack of sleep or insomnia. Some of the reasons behind it are:
- Rooibos is caffeine-free. Caffeine based drinks like coffee or tea prevent the body from falling asleep, which is not the case with this type of tea.
- Rooibos tea is rich in calcium and magnesium. Calcium helps in producing melatonin, a sleeping hormone. Again, magnesium is a natural tranquillizer. It helps calm down the nervous system and provides better sleep.
These points suggest that Rooibos is an excellent solution to fight sleep-related disorders. Scientists and doctors recommend having one cup of rooibos tea every night before sleep. Many celebrities use Rooibos tea as a bedtime drink to have better sleep. (Reference: Rooibos could be cure for the insomnia blues, IOL, Retrieved on 20 May 2020)
Does Rooibos Tea Contain Caffeine?
No, Rooibos tea doesn’t contain caffeine. Amongst drinks, coffee has the highest amount of caffeine, and even traditional tea like black and Green tea contains caffeine, but in minimal quantity. Rooibos is a naturally caffeine-free herbal tea. Unlike traditional tea, it comes from a shrub from the ‘peas and beans’ family. The tea plant Camellia Sinensis contains caffeine in its genes, whereas it is absent in the rooibos shrub's genetic character. This is one of the key factors behind its rising popularity as a caffeine-free drink, especially among people with 0 caffeine tolerance.
What does Rooibos tea Taste Like?
Green tea and black tea contain tannins, which make it slightly bitter if boiled beyond a certain extent. On the other hand, due to less tannin content, Rooibos tea doesn’t taste excessively bitter. Instead, it has a sweet and rich taste, if adequately brewed. There is also a nutty undertone to the overall gentle flavour of the tea. On brewing properly, it gives out a warm and rich vibe.
Does Rooibos Help in Weight Loss?
Rooibos contains polyphenols and flavonoids that help combat obesity. It also helps in the production of Leptin in the body - a hormone regulating the intake of food and preventing the body from the aftermath of over-eating.
The tea is also believed to have the antioxidant - Aspalathin. It helps in weight loss. (Reference: These are the best teas to help you lose weight and blast belly fat, Prima, Retrieved on 20 May 2020)
How to Prepare Rooibos Tea?
Here are two simple recipes for making rooibos tea properly -
Hot brewed rooibos tea
- Take a kettle and pour water into it. For better taste, use filtered water with 0 chlorine and iron content.
- Boil the water.
- Next, pour the boiling water into the teapot and add Rooibos tea leaves into it.
- Let it steep for at least 5 minutes. You can add extra steeping time if you want a stronger brew.
- Strain the leaves and pour the tea in a cup.
- Serve hot.
Cooking with Kimberly. How to Brew the Perfect Cup of Rooibos Tea: Cooking with Kimberly. Online Video Clip. YouTube. Uploaded on 12 May 2012. Retrieved 27 May 2020. Licensed under CC BY 2.0
Rooibos Ice Tea
- Take a kettle and pour some water into it. Like the recipe as mentioned above, use clean water.
- Add the rooibos leaves into the water and mix it.
- Put it in a refrigerator for at least 12 hours for the tea to brew.
- Serve it with ice.
- You can also add sugar, milk, lemon, mint leaves, and date syrup, based on your likings. (Reference: 5 Easy Steps to Make Rooibos Tea Properly, Oh How Civilized, Retrieved on 20 May 2020)
What are the Side-Effects of Rooibos Tea?Though Rooibos is considered to be a 'fairly safe' drink, it may cause some issues when excessively consumed. Here are some of the possible rooibos side effects:
- Too many antioxidants can be harmful to the system if consumed in higher amounts.
- It may increase the production of estrogen, which may result in breast cancer.
- It can cause harm to the liver by developing hepatotoxicity. (Reference: Rooibos Tea – 101 Guide, Taste, Benefits, Side Effects - How to Make It, Tea How, Retrieved on 20 May 2020)
Judging by the magical prowess of this ‘wonder drink’, its rising popularity can be easily justified. Undeniably, it is a remarkable herbal alternative to traditional tea like black or Green tea. It is also a good option for people with kidney problems or caffeine intolerance.
Frequently Asked Questions related to Rooibos Tea
Q. Is it ok to drink rooibos tea every day?
Q. Is rooibos tea better than green tea?
A. Rooibos is a natural caffeine-free plant. So, the tea made from its leaves is way better than Green tea. Also, it’s suitable for people who can’t consume caffeine.
Q. Does rooibos tea make you gain weight?
A. No rooibos tea doesn’t make you gain weight as it is calorie-free. On the contrary, it contributes significantly to the weight loss program.
Q. How many cups of rooibos tea should you drink in a day?
A. According to the Rooibos Council of South Africa, one can drink rooibos tea up to six times a day. The high mineral and antioxidants content present in the tea makes it safe for the body
Q. Is rooibos tea good for skin?
A. Yes, rooibos tea is good for the skin because it has an abundant quantity of zinc and alpha-hydroxy acid. These are essential in maintaining a glowy skin.
Q. Is rooibos tea a diuretic?
A. Rooibos tea is known for its anti-inflammatory and diuretic properties. So, drinking Rooibos tea helps patients with kidney problems by easing excretion of the toxins.
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