(Natural News) Rooibos tea is made from the leaves of a shrub called rooibos (Aspalathus linearis), an herb indigenous to the mountainsides of the Cederberg region in South Africa. Rooibos tea is also referred to as red bush or African red tea. Traditional rooibos tea is made by fermenting the leaves, in which naturally occurring enzymes oxidize and turn the leaves from green to red. Green rooibos tea is also available, which is the unprocessed version. Although the herb is currently only harvested in South Africa, rooibos tea is available in grocery stores and online as it has become more known throughout the years for its many health benefits.
Rooibos tea contains high amounts of antioxidants. Both green and red rooibos are packed with antioxidants, with the green variety having a higher concentration than the red. Some of the most remarkable antioxidants in rooibos tea are aspalathin and quercetin. These antioxidants prevent free radicals from damaging cells in the body. Studies show that drinking rooibos tea improves the antioxidant status of the liver and increases the levels of antioxidants in the body.
Rooibos tea is caffeine-free. Since rooibos tea is naturally caffeine-free, you won’t have to worry about getting jittery or crashing after drinking several cups a day. It is also a good option for pregnant women, children, and those who are sensitive to caffeine. In some people, caffeine may interrupt sleep, worsen anxiety, and cause heart palpitations. It is also a good caffeine-free alternative to black or green tea.
Rooibos tea is low in tannins. Rooibos tea contains very low amounts of tannins. Tannins are naturally occurring compounds found in many plant foods, including black tea, green tea, and red wine, that interfere with the absorption of iron.
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Rooibos tea is free of oxalic acid. Rooibos tea is also free of oxalic acid, which makes it a good drink for people with kidney problems. Consuming high amounts of oxalic acid can raise the risk of kidney stones.
Rooibos tea is good for the heart. Drinking rooibos tea is also good for the heart. Research shows that it reduces low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol levels and increases high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or “good” cholesterol levels. It may also improve heart health by suppressing angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE), which increases blood pressure. (Related: Food as medicine: Rooibos shines as a potent defense against Alzheimer’s, cancer, hypertension and more.)
Rooibos tea may be beneficial to people with diabetes. People with diabetes may benefit from drinking rooibos tea as it regulates blood sugar levels, reducing the risk of complications. Research shows that the antioxidant aspalathin found in rooibos tea plays a role in reducing the risk of vascular inflammation and atherosclerosis in people with diabetes.
Rooibos tea aids in weight management. Rooibos tea contains zero calories, making it a good option for people who are trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. Research shows that it may also help in weight management by increasing levels of leptin, which is a hormone that helps control food intake and sends signals to the body that it has had enough food. Moreover, it inhibits the formation of new fat cells and promotes faster fat metabolism.
Rooibos tea offers beauty benefits. Some studies report that applying this herbal tea topically can improve the appearance of skin by reducing wrinkles. It can also be used as a mist or rinse to refresh the face and brighten tired eyes. It can also be used topically to help treat acne and make the hair shiny.
Making rooibos tea is similar to making black tea. Use eight ounces of boiling water for every teabag or a heaping teaspoon of loose leaves, then let it steep for at least five minutes. Milk, honey, or sugar may be added for taste.