The Aspalathus linearis plant is native to South Africa and like most teas, contains high levels of polyphenols that provide an array of health benefits. Rooibos is grown mainly in the mountainous Cederberg region of South Africa in the Western Cape province. It is made using leaves from a shrub called Aspalathus linearis. Rooibos tea does not contain any leaves from the Camellia sinensis tea plant.
Rooibos tea has a sweet, nutty flavor that is often compared to hibiscus tea and earthy tones that are similar to yerba mate teas. It is also described has having hints of caramel, vanilla and a smoky essence that is likened to tobacco.
Rooibos has a light mouth feel that is subtle and not overpowering. It's often described as having a neutral, yet sweet flavor profile that can be enhanced with slices of lemon or a dash of honey. It brews into a reddish-brown hue that can be as visually stunning as it is tasty.
Rooibos tea is also caffeine-free, making it a good beverage at any time of the day. Thanks to its high concentration of vitamins and polyphenols, rooibos tea offers not only delicious taste, but also helps to keep you healthy. Rooibos tea can be brewed asa hot tea or as an iced tea.
Health Benefits of Rooibos Tea
1. Aids Weight Loss
Like green tea and black tea, drinking rooibos tea is a good way to enjoy a delicious beverage without packing on the pounds. Each cup of rooibos tea contains only 2 to 4 calories, so you can drink this delightfully smoky beverage without worrying about ruining your diet.
2. Improves Appearance of Skin
Rooibos tea contains alpha hydroxy acid, which is one of the main ingredients in skin treatments such as chemical peels that you can get at your dermatologist’s office. Not particularly common in foods, alpha hydroxy acid in rooibos tea can aid in your skin care routine and help to reduce wrinkles.
Rooibos tea contains superoxide dismutase, which has anti-aging properties and helps to slow down the development of wrinkles. Superoxide dismutase is an enzyme that works to produce healthy skin cells that keep you looking young longer. This enzyme works alongside other antioxidants in rooibos tea to fight free radicals that can accelerate the aging process.
3. Alleviates Pain
Rooibos tea contains antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties that help to reduce inflammation and feelings of aches and pains. The anti-spasmodic compounds in rooibos tea help to alleviate abdominal pain such as stomach cramps by activating potassium ions throughout the body.
By reducing inflammation, rooibos tea can also aid in treating the painful symptoms of arthritis. Rooibos tea is also high in vitamin C, which works to repair collagen and connective tissue in the joints.
This South African brew contains a bioactive flavonoid known as chrysoeriol, which has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Working as a bronchodilator, rooibos tea can help relieve the feelings of wheezing and coughing that are caused by allergic rhinitis and asthma.
Rooibos tea contains another flavonoid called Quercetin which helps to prevent allergies from triggering in the first place. Quercetin essentially blocks mast cells, which are responsible for releasing histamine, the main element that triggers an allergic response.
In essence, rooibos tea works as an antihistamine, without the drowsy side effects that come along with many of those medications. While not a replacement for advanced allergy treatments such an inhaled corticosteroids and high doses of antihistamines, drinking a few cups of rooibos tea every day can limit your body's over-reactive immune response that triggers allergies.
5. Helps Build Strong Bones
Like the true teas and many herbal tisanes, rooibos tea contains minerals such as calcium, manganese and fluoride that help build strong bones. These minerals produce increased activity of osteoblast calls, which are responsible for building strong bone mass.
6. Streamlines Digestion
Rooibos tea contains several nutrients that are antispasmodic, which help to prevent stomach pains. Rooibos tea also has beneficial effects for the immune system.It's chock full of vitamins and minerals that help support immune function and fend off invading pathogens that can make you sick. Rooibos may be effective in eliminating pathogens that cause stomach upset and diarrhea.
7. May Help Control or Prevent Diabetes
Drinking rooibos tea may help to keep diabetes in check or to prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes. Polyphenols in rooibos tea work to regulate blood sugar levels and increase glucose tolerance. Even though rooibos tea won't cure diabetes, it may help decrease insulin resistance and improve symptoms.
8. Supports Heart Health
Rooibos tea is excellent for heart health and helps to keep blood circulation pumping smoothly. Containing the chrysoeriol flavonoid that is a bronchodilator, this compound is also an effective agent for lowering high blood pressure and increasing circulation. The relaxing effects of rooibos tea help to open up blood vessels while antioxidants work to lower bad cholesterol and prevent plaque buildup.
Brewing Guide: brew it with boiling water for at least 5-8 minutes. Rooibos tea leaves are very small, so you will need a fine-mesh strainer, linen filters or French press to make brewing as easy as possible. Another way is to simmer it in a pot for 20-30 minutes, and serving with a dash of milk.