You’ve heard of black tea, green tea and white tea. How about Rooibos (pronounced Roy-boss) tea? A red tea which comes from the shrub Aspalathus Linearis and only found on the slopes of Cape of Good Hope in South Africa, Rooibos seems to contain even more health benefits than other well-known teas. In fact, it contains 50 times more anti-oxidants than green tea. “Antioxidants are the organic substances believed to scavenge "free radicals," the toxic by-product of natural biological processes that can damage cells and lead to cancer". (1) It’s also high in Vitamin C, it’s caffeine-free and also low in oxalic acid (which causes kidney stones) and tannins, normally found in teas which can cause digestive issues.
While already popular in the Netherlands, Germany, Japan and England, this tea which has been around for hundreds of years, only began being commercially traded in 1904. It is slowly gaining popularity in North America partly due to its mild and aromatic taste, but mostly, for its plethora of health benefits, including being a substitute for milk with colicky babies. “Other studies have shown the tea may help strengthen the bones and teeth (rich in calcium, manganese and fluoride minerals that assist in maintaining good bone structure and stronger teeth) preventing osteoporosis, fractures and other related illnesses. Many women in Japan drink this tea for its positive effect on the skin and hair. It has been known to clear skin of acne and prevent wrinkles.” (2)
The other health benefits of red rooibos tea include its use as a cure for nagging headaches, insomnia, asthma, eczema, hypertension (known to relieve stress, nervous tension and hypertensive conditions), allergies (in many parts of South Africa, rooibos tea is used as an effective curative to treat allergies like eczema, hay fever and allergy-related bronchitis), and premature aging (the antioxidants present in rooibos tea slow down the human aging process and they also boost the strength of the immune system).
I found an organic Earl Grey Rooibos from David's Tea. When I use to drink black tea, Earl Grey was my favourite. The aroma and flavour is quite similar to the original with of course having all the benefits Rooibos brings.
Try it, I'm sure you'll enjoy it!
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Word 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 shown estrogenic 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. Make sure you speak to your doctor before adding any new dietary elements or beverages to your normal routine, particularly one as powerful as rooibos tea! (2)
Aimable Johnson, Dieting Well