4 Benefits Of Rooibos Tea, How To Brew It, & Side Effects

Get your fix of this delectable herbal brew for a healthy dose of antioxidants.

Medically Reviewed by Tracy TredouxTracy Tredoux, DipION, mBANT, CNHC, AFMCP
By Ravi Teja TadimallaRavi Teja Tadimalla, Professional Certificate In Food, Nutrition & Health  • 

Rooibos tea is an alternative to regular black tea and is great for those who avoid caffeine. The main health benefits of rooibos tea are due to its high antioxidants. Tea lovers prefer it due to its mild, sweet, delicate, and earthy taste. If you are looking for an alternative to green or black teas, you can try rooibos tea. Read on to learn more about rooibos tea’s benefits, possible side effects, and how to make it.

Did You Know?
Rooibos can only grow in South Africa, more specifically in the Cederberg region of the Western Cape. Farmers who tried to grow it in different parts of the world hadn’t succeeded as the soil, climate, and other conditions weren’t conducive.

What Is Rooibos Tea And What Does It Taste Like?

Cup of traditional rooibos tea

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Rooibos tea is made from Aspalathus linearis, a shrub grown on the western coast of South Africa. The tea produces a reddish color when brewed, earning its name – red tea or red bush tea. Although rooibos tea is an herbal tea, it is not related to green and black teas.

Traditionally, rooibos tea is made by fermenting the leaves of Aspalathus linearis. The process of fermentation turns the leaves reddish-brown (1). The unfermented variety of rooibos tea is called green rooibos. It has higher antioxidant content than the red one and is more expensive.

Rooibos tea is available in plain and flavored varieties. Red rooibos tea has a smooth, fruity-sweet, earthy flavor and can be consumed as a hot or cold beverage. The unfermented rooibos tea has a slightly astringent flavor. Overall, it is milder than black and green teas.

Rooibos tea is graded based on many factors like color, flavor, and cut length. The highest grade of rooibos tea is called the ‘super grade.’ Due to its mild taste, rooibos tea is often added to multi-blend herbal tea concoctions. It is also rich in several different antioxidants, such as flavonoidsi  XPowerful antioxidants that protect the body against everyday toxins and stressors and help it function effectively. . Let’s take a look at the major flavonoids in this tea.

Chemical Composition Of Rooibos Tea

Rooibos tea is caffeine-free and low in tanninsi  XAn antioxidant in tea, fruits, seeds, and some leafy vegetables, an excess of which can cause stomach irritation and nausea. compared to the tea from other tea plants, such Camellia sinensis. It mainly contains (2):

  • Tannins (3.2-4.4%, which is less than regular tea)
  • Monomeric flavonoids (aspalathin and aspalalinin)
  • Other flavonoids like beta-D-glucopyranosides, dihydro-orientin, dihydroiso-orientin
  • Flavonols like quercetin, quercetin-3-orobinoside, hyperoside, isoquercitrin and rutin
  • Phenolic acids
  • Lignansi  XPlant compounds that can fight menopausal symptoms and the risk of diseases like osteoporosis and heart disorders.
  • Coumarini  XA sweet-smelling plant compound with anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antibacterial, antifungal, and anticoagulant properties.
  • Esculentin
  • Vitamin C (ascorbate)
StyleCraze Trivia
Although the leaves of the rooibos plant are rich in ascorbic acid (vitamin C), most of the vitamin C content is lost in the fermenting and brewing process of rooibos tea.

All these phenolic compounds and antioxidants make rooibos tea an excellent free radical scavenger with anti-inflammatory, anticancer, and tumor inhibitory effects (2). Here are the health benefits of drinking rooibos tea.

Health Benefits Of Rooibos Tea

1. Is Caffeine-Free

Woman sleeping well at night after consuming rooibos tea

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Caffeine is a natural stimulant found in many varieties of tea and coffee. While moderate caffeine consumption is safe, excessive consumption of caffeine has been linked to sleep disorders, increased anxiety, restlessness, and headaches (3). Rooibos tea is naturally caffeine-free, making it a great alternative to black and green teas.

2. Is Antioxidant-Rich

Due to its high antioxidant content, rooibos tea helps prevent free radical damage, the primary cause of inflammation, cell damage, and premature aging. The antioxidants in rooibos tea may also have anticancer and antitumor effects (2).

3. May Promote Heart Health

Woman with hands over her heart indicating good heart health

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The antioxidant-rich rooibos tea has been associated with improved heart health. Studies show that rooibos tea helps reduce LDL or bad cholesterol and improve HDL or good cholesterol (4). This reduces the risk of heart disease.

4. May Help Manage Diabetes

Drinking rooibos tea may benefit people with diabetes mellitus. Rooibos tea is a natural source of the antioxidant aspalathin, a chemical known for its anti-diabetic effect. It balances blood sugar levels and reduces insulin resistance (5), (6).

While rooibos tea has multiple health benefits, it may also cause side effects.

Are There Side Effects Of Consuming Rooibos Tea?

Rooibos tea may interact with hyperglycemia

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Rooibos tea is safe to consume, and side effects are rare. However, there have been reports of an extremely rare case of hepatotoxicity (liver injury) caused by consuming rooibos tea and buchu (a herbal preparation). While the exact mechanism was unknown, researchers believed that it could be due to the heterogeneous composition of the tea prepared in small batches (7 ).

Rooibos tea may interact with medications for chronic conditions like hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) and dyslipidemia (high or low blood lipid levels) (8 ). Hence, it is best to consult with your doctor before consuming rooibos tea.

If you do not have any underlying health condition and want to consume rooibos tea, check out the process below.

How To Brew Rooibos Tea

Rooibos tea is versatile and can be enjoyed both hot and chilled. This makes it very similar to black tea. The best way to brew the tea is to follow the instructions on the pack. You can simply boil the tea leaves in a cup of water (just like regular tea) and drink it. You may add honey, milk, or sugar if you want. You can also prepare iced tea. Here is a simple recipe:

Rooibos Iced Tea Recipe

Rooibos iced tea

Shutterstock

You Will Need

  • 6 tea bags or 6 teaspoons of rooibos tea
  • 1 lemon (sliced)
  • 20 mint leaves
  • Sugar (as per taste)
  • 4 liters of water

Method

  1. Boil the water, tea leaves, and all ingredients (except lemon) for 5 minutes.
  2. Let the tea cool down.
  3. Pour in a glass jar and add the lemon slices.
  4. Refrigerate for a few hours before drinking.

To Conclude

Rooibos tea is an excellent replacement for regular tea. It is replete with potent antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties. The benefits of rooibos tea range from better heart health to delayed signs of aging. It may also help manage diabetes by controlling blood sugar levels and reducing insulin resistance. Thanks to its caffeine-free nature, rooibos tea is a good choice for those with anxiety. You can make rooibos tea hot or chilled to reap these benefits. Nevertheless, excess consumption may cause liver injury or interfere with medications. If you experience any adverse effects, limit its use and seek medical advice.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is rooibos healthier than green tea?

Both rooibos and green tea are healthy and rich in antioxidants. However, though green teas contain more antioxidants than rooibos, rooibos has two particular antioxidants which are highly beneficial for cardiovascular health that are not present in green tea. Additionally, rooibos tea does not contain caffeine, which is available in some quantities in green tea.

Is rooibos good for hair?

Yes, rooibos contains certain minerals essential for hair growth and hair health, such as zinc, copper, calcium, and potassium. The tea also contains antioxidants which may also contribute to hair health and protect it against damage from oxidative stress.

Does rooibos tea increase estrogen?

Yes, rooibos tea may raise estrogeni  XA female sex hormone that plays a role in the development of the reproductive system and the secondary sex characteristics. levels as it is known to express estrogenic activity in the body. Individuals at a higher risk of breast cancer should consult with their healthcare provider before consuming rooibos tea.

Is rooibos tea good for lungs?

Yes, rooibos tea may act as a bronchodilator and help open up the airways, increasing airflow to the lungs. It also has anti-inflammatory properties which may help relieve congestion.

Key Takeaways

  • Made from aspalathus linearis, rooibos tea is a shrub grown on the western coast of South Africa.
  • It is caffeine-free, rich in antioxidants, and may promote heart health.
  • It can balance blood sugar levels and reduce insulin resistance.

Sources

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Production and quality aspects of rooibos tea and related products: A review
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/287441310_Production_and_quality_aspects_of_rooibos_tea_and_related_products_A_review
  2. Rooibos (Aspalathus linearis) and its Major Flavonoids — Potential Against Oxidative Stress-Induced Conditions
    https://www.intechopen.com/chapters/49269
  3. Caffeine consumption and self-assessed stress, anxiety, and depression in secondary school children
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC4668773/
  4. Rooibos Tea and Health: A Systematic Review of the Evidence from the Last Two Decades
    https://www.sciforschenonline.org/journals/nutrition-food/article-data/NFTOA166/NFTOA166.pdf
  5. Hypoglycemic effect of aspalathin, a rooibos tea component from Aspalathus linearis, in type 2 diabetic model db/db mice
    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0944711308002213
  6. A Beneficial Role of Rooibos in Diabetes Mellitus: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC6017582/
  7. Tea not Tincture: Hepatotoxicity Associated with Rooibos Herbal Tea
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC4435260/
  8. Aspalathin from Rooibos (Aspalathus linearis): A Bioactive C-glucosyl Dihydrochalcone with Potential to Target the Metabolic Syndrome
    https://www.thieme-connect.de/products/ejournals/abstract/10.1055/s-0044-100622
  9. Anti-Oxidative Effects of Rooibos Tea (Aspalathus linearis) on Immobilization-Induced Oxidative Stress in Rat Brain
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC3897768/

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