Rooibos, also known as red bush tea or red tea, is a traditional herbal tea made from the fermented leaves of a flowering shrub Aspalathus Linearis, native to South Africa. Here are some scientifically proven rooibos tea benefits!
What is Rooibos?
The Rooibos plant has green needle-like leaves and yellow flowers; however, after drying and fermentation, the leaves turn reddish. Without fermentation, the tea can be brewed into green Rooibos tea.
Rooibos tea is rich in antioxidants and other nutrients that can enhance health and wellbeing. It is also caffeine-free, making it a great alternative to black and green tea.
1. It’s rich in antioxidants
Antioxidants are substances found in plants that help neutralize free radicals in the body.
It’s important to understand that you are constantly being exposed to free radicals from various sources, including pollution, cigarette smoking, chemical toxins, radiation, greenhouse gases, and metabolic waste produced in the cells.
If left to accumulate, free radicals can cause oxidative stress leading to cell damage and disease formation such as heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer.
Rooibos tea is especially rich in antioxidants, Aspalathin, and quercetin.
Aspalathin is a powerful antioxidant with anti-diabetic effects. It has been shown to improve glucose metabolism, reverse insulin resistance and promote proper glucose regulation. This may be beneficial for type 2 diabetes or those in the pre-diabetic stage.
On the other hand, quercetin has also been shown to fight free radicals, prevent inflammation, improve exercise performance, and reduce blood sugar levels and blood pressure. Quercetin may also kill cancer cells and protect against heart disease.
In one study, antioxidant levels in the blood increased by 2.9 and 6.6 percent after drinking 500 ml of red and green Rooibos, respectively. This effect lasted for 5 hours. This shows that the antioxidants in Rooibos tea may be short-lived, but if taken regularly, the 5 hours of high plasma antioxidant can make a huge difference in your health.
2. It may protect the heart
Rooibos is rich in flavonoids, including chrysoeriol, which has been shown to protect the heart by fighting inflammation, lowering blood pressure, and promoting better blood circulation throughout the body.
Drinking Rooibos tea has also been shown to inhibit angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE). ACE is a compound that controls blood pressure by regulating the amount of fluid therein. It converts the hormone angiotensin I to an active form known as angiotensin II. Angiotensin II is a vasoconstrictor meaning it causes constriction or narrowing of the blood vessels. Too much angiotensin II can increase blood pressure, forcing the heart to work harder to get blood through the narrowed vessels.
That’s why in some high blood pressure cases, patients are given angiotensin II receptor blockers to prevent the associated effects of too much angiotensin, causing the blood vessels to relax and the blood pressure to fall.
In one study, drinking Rooibos tea inhibited ACE activity after 30-60 minutes of ingestion.
In addition, it increases sodium and the water content in the body, elevating blood pressure even further.
Aspalathin in Rooibos tea has also been shown to fight vascular inflammation, thus preventing atherosclerosis, especially in type 2 diabetes where it’s a common complication.
In addition aspalathin can protect the heart against oxidation and diabetic cardiomyopathy, another common complication in diabetes associated with a lack of blood supply to the heart causing ischemia.
Rooibos may also lower bad cholesterol (LDL) while boosting the beneficial HDL cholesterol. This may help lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, and heart attack.
3. It may help in the management of diabetes
As stated earlier, the antioxidants in Rooibos tea play an essential role in glucose metabolism and regulation. This makes it a great addition to any diabetic meal plan.
In a study published in the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, Rooibos tea provided significant therapeutic potential for preventing diabetes, heart disease, and their progression.
4. It may lower the risk of cancer
Cancer is among the leading causes of death in the world. However, regular intake of Rooibos may help lower the risk.
Research shows that luteolin and quercetin in Rooibos can kill cancer cells and prevent tumor progression.
It is reported that when taken as a supplement, rooibos is effective for helping to treat cancer patients. Evidence suggests it can stop the process of cell mutation, thus suppressing tumor growth.
Rooibos tea also promotes the release of antibodies which help fight against infections and possibly against certain types of cancers.
However, drinking Rooibos tea alone may not provide sufficient amounts of the beneficial compounds to help fight cancer solely. It’s always good to incorporate other anticancer vegetables and fruits.
Further potential benefits:
There are other potential benefits of drinking Rooibos tea; however, more studies need to support the claims.
- Improved bone health
- Better digestion
- Alleviation of allergies
- Promoting healthy skin and hair
- Weight loss promotion
Potential side effects:
Rooibos tea is considered safe for most people to consume. However, it may contain some side effects.
According to research, too much consumption may cause fertility issues in men. It may also negatively affect patients with kidney disease, liver disease, and hormone-sensitive conditions like breast cancer.
Rooibos tea may also increase the female hormone estrogen.
If on chemotherapy, drinking Rooibos tea may not be a good idea since it can interfere with chemotherapy medications.
The safest thing to do if you have an underlying medical condition is to talk to your doctor.
Final thoughts on rooibos tea:
Rooibos tea is made from the leaves of aspalathus linearis. It is naturally caffeine-free and can be enjoyed any time of the day
It’s rich in antioxidants and has been shown to offer various benefits, including promoting heart health, improving diabetes management, and lowering cancer risk.
Other potential benefits that require further studies include promoting healthy bones and digestion, improving allergies, enhancing weight loss, and promoting healthy hair and skin.
Side effects are rare but can occur, especially in patients with underlying medical conditions or if taken in very high amounts.
More healthy herbal teas:
- Pineapple Peel Tea
- Mint Tea
- Oregano Tea
- Chaga Tea
- Moringa Tea
- Parsley Tea
- Mango Leaf Tea
- Immunity Booster Tea
- Fennel Tea
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