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Rooibos: So much more than a tea substitute


Rooibos tea
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(NaturalNews) While caffeine has become more acceptable in the healthcare community as further evidence is uncovered about the antioxidant properties of caffeine-rich beverages like tea or coffee, it can still be a problem for many patients. Certain heart conditions or anxiety problems can be exacerbated by too much caffeine, and increasingly, OB-GYNs are discouraging pregnant women from drinking caffeinated beverages due to the effects they can have on the unborn baby.

In short, while caffeine is recognized as healthier than it used to be, it is still not for everyone. That is why rooibos tea has become so popular in recent years. Even though it is caffeine-free, it has a strong and robust taste more reminiscent of a black tea than an herbal one. However, studies have lately been showing that, apart from providing people with a great-tasting alternative to coffee or regular tea, rooibos has some other healthy tricks up its sleeve as well!

What is rooibos?

The term rooibos is the Afrikaans word for "red bush," which is in reference to the plant whose leaves are harvested to make this particular tea. The red bush, whose Latin name is Aspalathus linearis, is a native of South Africa and was used by native peoples and later by Dutch settlers who colonized the area. Looking at the plant in the wild, it is hard to understand why it is called a red bush. It is not until the leaves are removed and processed for tea-making, turning them a deep, mahogany-red color, that the choice of name becomes obvious!

While devotees of health food stores have been using rooibos as a substitute for regular tea for years now, it was not until the publication of a popular series of detective novels by Alexander McCall Smith, whose heroine was a daily drinker of rooibos, that this tea soared into international popularity.

The health benefits of rooibos

Apart from the ability to avoid caffeine for those who are sensitive, rooibos offers a number of surprising health benefits. This is mostly because of the fact that rooibos is, botanically speaking, not a "tea" plant at all but a legume, making it more closely related to plants like beans, peas and lentils, all of which are known for their healthy make up. Unlike regular teas, which are made from plants in the Camellia genus, rooibos offers a nutrient profile that is extremely high in antioxidants but is also caffeine-free and low in tannins.

These unique properties have caused it to be used regularly in South African hospitals, both topically and orally. Topically, it is used to relieve allergic skin conditions, a dry or itchy scalp and a variety of other dermatological problems. When used orally, it has been found to help ease anxiety and other emotional issues, as well as respiratory issues like allergies and asthma, and can even help treat pediatric problems like colic.

So sample a cup of rooibos tea today. Not only is it a great alternative for people looking for a robust and great-tasting substitute for black tea, but it also brings with it a whole array of surprising health benefits that make it well worth trying out.

Sources:

http://www.mnn.com

http://www.tegaorganictea.com

www.organicfacts.net

About the author:
Sandeep has written many health field articles for both Internet and print publication. He currently writing for insurancetips4u.co.

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