Food And Nutrition

Rooibos Tea: Benefits, How To Brew It, And Risks 

Rooibos tea in a cup

If you want to avoid caffeine, Rooibos tea is a great alternative to regular tea. One of the main health benefits of rooibos tea is it’s high antioxidant properties. Many tea lovers prefer it due to it’s mild,sweet, delicate, and earthy taste. 

So, if you’re looking for a substitute to green or black tea, you can try rooibos tea. Keep reading to learn more about rooibos tea including it’s potential benefits, possible side effects and how you can make it.


What Is Rooibos Tea?

This tea is made from the fermented leave of the Aspalathus linearis shrub, a plant native to South Africa. It produces a reddish color when brewed, earning it’s name -red tea or red bush tea. 

Although rooibos tea is a herbal tea, it is actually not related to green and black teas. 

Health Benefits of Rooibos Tea

1 . Rich in antioxidants 

It contains several antioxidants , with it’s green counterpart containing higher levels. Because of it’s high antioxidant content, it can help prevent free radical damage (the primary cause of inflammation, cell damage and premature aging) .

It may also have anti-cancer and anti-tumor effects.

2 . Caffeine-free

It is free from caffeine, which may make it a good option for children, pregnant people and those sensitive to caffeine. While caffeine consumption is considered safe, excessive consumption can lead to sleep disorders, restlessness, increased anxiety, and headaches. 

3 . May help manage diabetes 

Drinking rooibos tea may benefit those with diabetes mellitus, by helping them keep their blood sugar levels under control. This is possible because of it’s natural source of antioxidant aspalathin (a chemical known for its anti-diabetic effect. 

Research suggests that aspalathin could help suppress the vascular injury that results from high blood sugar levels.

4 . May promote heart health

By drinking it regularly, you may improve to your heart health. 

In a 2011 study , 40 people at risk of cardiovascular disease drank six cups of rooibos tea daily for 6 weeks, and eventually, the participants were able to reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol while boosting LDL (good) cholesterol. And they were able reduce the risk of heart disease.


Other reported benefits 

Some people believe rooibos tea helps treat:

  • allergies 
  • Poor appetite 
  • insomnia 
  • mental health issues
  • digestive problems 
  • facial wrinkles 


How To Brew It 

Hot cup of rooibos tea

Many people enjoy rooibos tea in hot or cold temperature, as they usually would with black tea. 

To enjoy it to the fullest, make sure you brew it according to the given instructions in the packet. 

The general rule to making it, is to add 8 ounces of boiling water per tea bad or collect a teaspoon of loose leaves. Then leave it in for about 5 minutes. Now you can drink it plain or you can add milk, honey or sugar to taste.


Possible Side Effects

It is generally safe for you to drink and it’s side effects are uncommon. Although, one 2010 case study, found that if you drink large amounts daily there could be an increase in liver enzymes, which could mean a liver problem. 

While the exact cause of this was unknown, researchers believe it could have been due it’s heterogeneous composition of the tea prepared in small batches. 

Nevertheless, if you’d like to drink it in moderation as a part of your balanced diet, it should be fine. But you should keep in mind that more quality studies in humans are still needed.


Take away 

Rooibos tea is a healthy and delicious beverage. But it may interfere with medications for chronic conditions such as, hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) and dyslipidemia (high or low blood lipid levels) . Hence it is best to consult with your doctor before drinking rooibos tea especially if you’re under medication.

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