Rooibos: Elixir of Life

Author: Margherita Marino
Date: 25/03/2014



An herb from South Africa, rooibos has been made into tea and enjoyed for generations. It is a broom-like legume and it’s also known as Redbush.
Traditional health benefits of red rooibos tea are abundant. This form of tea has been popular due to its great taste and unique color, while also boosting the health of the body. Rooibos tea or red tea is a medicinal, herbal beverage that is acquired from the Aspalathus linearis bush plant that we can find in South Africa. According to the South African Rooibos Council, rooibos is not a true tea, but an herb. It is completely caffeine-free, therefore it is recommended by doctors for patients suffering from insomnia. A cup of rooibos beverage just before going to bed can help you to sleep better, and by removing caffeine from your diet, you can also decrease your stress levels, mood, and heart health.

Its medicinal attributes have been confirmed by The US Department of Agriculture in Washington, DC

Health Benefits of Red Rooibos Tea

Rooibos contains polyphenols that have anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antimutagenic qualities. Polyphenols are organic chemicals that are most often praised for their antioxidant capabilities. Rooibos tea has many phenolic compounds within it, and polyphenols are some of the most important. They act as scavengers of free radicals throughout the body, which are detrimental byproducts of cell metabolism that can cause diseases like cancer and heart disease. A recent study (Antioxidant activity of the dihydrochalcones Aspalathin and Nothofagin - August 2009) demonstrates that aspalathin and nothofagin are two other vital antioxidants that rooibos tea contains, making this a great beverage to boost your immune system and protect your body against all types of diseases and conditions.

Furthermore The data obtained in an Italian study (Unfermented and fermented rooibos teas increase plasma total antioxidant capacity in healthy humans - December 2010) show, for the first time, that both fermented and unfermented rooibos teas are able to boost plasma antioxidant defences in humans.
The two rooibos teas exhibited lower antioxidant potential than did green and black tea infusions but higher than commercially available instant tea.

Rooibos tea is known to relieve stress, nervous tension and hypertensive conditions. Hypertension is more commonly known as high blood pressure, and rooibos tea is known as a brochodilator, which not only relieves respiratory conditions, but generally reduces blood pressure, which can lead to dangerous cardiovascular diseases like heart attacks and atherosclerosis.
Another powerful antioxidant found in rooibos tea is Quercetin that has been linked to preventing a wide variety of heart conditions. It is anti-inflammatory, which reduces blood pressure, and it also scavenges free radicals like other antioxidants.
A recent study (The cardioprotective effect of an aqueous extract of fermented rooibos - April 2014) has investigated whether chronic exposure to an aqueous extract of fermented rooibos (FRE) has an ex vivo cardioprotective effect on hearts obtained from streptozotocin (STZ) induced diabetic rats.
This study provides evidence that an aqueous FRE protects cardiomyocytes against experimentally induced oxidative stress and ischemia.

  • Bone Health

Red rooibos tea is rich in calcium , manganese and fluoride minerals that assist in maintaining good bone structure and stronger teeth. By increasing the bio-availability of minerals in your system, you can reduce the chances of developing conditions like arthritis, osteoporosis, and chronic joint pain. Manganese actually works on an even deeper level, and stimulates the enzymes which are required top build new bones and repair damages. Fluoride is related more commonly to dental health, which is why flouride compounds are so often found in mouthwashes and toothpastes.

The general anti-inflammatory properties of the herb can be useful for small children who suffer from colic or stomach pains.
The tea is rich in antispasmodic agents, which can easly severe stomach cramps and abdominal pains. This is mainly due to the activation of K+ (potassium ions) in the body without antagonizing the activities of Calcium. Together, this can reduce the presence of hyperactivity in the gastrointestinal tract.

  • Antimicrobial effect

The antimicrobial activity of the natural and artificial infusions was assessed against three species of bacteria: Gram (+) Staphylococus epidermidis and Staphylococcus aureus and Gram (-) Escherichia coli. When compared to the natural infusions the artificial beverages did not demonstrate any bacterostatic/acidal activity, suggesting that the antibacterial activity of rooibos is related to compounds other than the glycosylated polyphenols, as reported in a study in September 2013 Anti-peroxyl radical quality and antibacterial properties of rooibos infusions and their pure glycosylated polyphenolic constituents, 2013

  • Good for Skin

The alpha hydroxy acid and zinc content of red tea are very good for the skin. You can also try applying some red tea powder directly to the skin to relieve acne, pimples, sunburns or related skin conditions. Alpha-hydroxy acids are not found naturally from too many sources, but in terms of cosmetic products, it has become very popular, particularly because it can reduce the signs of wrinkles and other premature aging symptoms.

A Few Words of Caution

Despite all of these health benefits of rooibos tea, there can be a downside for some people. Since rooibos is so powerful, it can interfere with treatments for various conditions, including chemotherapy for cancer patients. Also, rooibos has shownestrogenic activities in certain studies, so it might not be a good idea to use if you have a hormone-sensitive cancer like breast cancer. Finally, if you have existing kidney or liver conditions, rooibos might be more harmful than helpful. It should be used as a preventative measure for these conditions, not a cure


organic facts


Alice Silvestro
Margherita Marino

AddThis Social Bookmark Button