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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Rooibos Tea: An Herbal Wonder



Years ago while I was learning about teas and herbals, I decided to look for a tea I could drink on a daily basis.  I am sensitive to caffeine so regular tea wasn't going to work even though I love it.  I tried lots and lots of herbals as well and couldn't find one that gave me the feeling of black/green teas.  I needed to find something that would take the place of regular tea without any caffeine at all in it and that's where rooibos (roy-boss) came in.  

A South African native plant, rooibos has been consumed there for generations by the native people and is served everywhere as the tea of choice. First noticed by Europeans in the late 1700's, it slowly came to other countries as it was considered a black tea alternative as far as taste.  I find rooibos to have a slightly sweet,sometimes fruity, earthy, full bodied flavor.  It's red in color and gives me the sense of drinking a cup of black tea without any of tea's bitter notes.

Rooibos Bush (Photo Source)
 

Red rooibos is made by bruising the needle-like leaves and then allowing them to ferment.  Green rooibos is not oxidized and costs a bit more because it's more labor intensive to produce.  Green tea has more of an herbal, grass-like taste.  Both teas are often paired with other flavors to bring out the best of its flavors.  I enjoy red rooibos with vanilla and apple cinnamon, which really brings out the herbs natural fruity flavors.

This is one herb that can be steeped for long periods of time without any bitterness due to rooibos' lack of tannins.  I often leave my tea basket of leaves steep for an hour with no adverse effects of flavor.  I like to extract all of its medicinal benefits but steeping five minutes in boiling water is the normal way to prepare this tea.  Unlike many herbals, red rooibos can be served with cream and sweetened as desired. 


                                           So what are the health benefits of rooibos?

First of all, I like to look at rooibos as a nice tonic type of herb.  In other words, it's okay to use long term and safe for kids. This is important as I was looking for something mild enough to drink on a daily basis.  So, most of its benefits are long term and for helpful for your overall health.

In South Africa it's traditional uses are for colic, allergies, asthma and dermatological conditions.

                                                       Rooibos Tea and Antioxidants

It also contains anti-oxidants. Some articles claim that it contains more than green tea, and others the same. So based off of that information, I would say it's safe to say it's a good alternative to green tea.  Its two comparatively rare antioxidants, aspalathin and nothofagin, each have different benefits. Aspalathin helps to modify hormones in the body, which in turn help to reduce stress and metabolic disorders. Nothofagin demonstrates significant anti-inflammatory activity.  Both antioxidants may help to reduce the risk of Alzheimer's and are both good for the nerves.



 Helpful against Diabetes?

Both of these antioxidants also help to regulate blood sugar which in turn can help to reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes and excessive fat production.  This would be an excellent beverage to drink along with a low carb/fat diet to help bring maximum benefits to your body against any sugar problems.

                                                  Helpful against Cardiovascular Problems?

 Rooibos also contains the super-antioxidant compound quercetin, noted for promoting heart health.  Quercetin acts as an anti-inflammatory which helps against heart disease and cancer.
In one study where 6 cups were consumed daily, some of the results were that it lowered levels of LDL (lousy cholesterol) and raised HDL (healthy cholesterol) making it very valuable for overall heart health.


Rooibos is really a great herbal beverage to add to your tea locker.  I have found that red rooibos is generally less expensive (in loose, bulk quantity) and is a great drink to enjoy hot or iced.  You'll often find it in herbal blends with chai or vanilla, both great flavors to drink with rooibos.  Drinking it in a blend is also a great way to get introduced to its unique flavor.  I like to buy plain rooibos and add it to our Summer Tea Blend to boost its already great health qualities.  You can mix plain rooibos with fruity herbal teas to find what flavors you like best.

I drink about 24 oz of rooibos a day.  Usually red but sometimes green in a blend.  I really enjoy it and not only am I getting hydrated but also am receiving its many amazing health attributes. I love the idea of drinking something that I not only enjoy, but it's great for me too.

Hope you were able to learn something new about this fabulous African herbal!  Blessings!

Do you enjoy rooibos?  What's your favorite flavor?


Resources:

http://www.foxnews.com/health/2012/03/27/red-tea-even-better-for-than-green-tea/ 
http://www.healthyfellow.com/230/rooibos-and-diabetes/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rooibos
http://undergroundhealthreporter.com/red-rooibos-tea-health-benefits#axzz2OgZDp8eJ

Linked to these amazing blog parties: Waste Not, Want Not Wednesday
Seasonal Celebration Wednesday  Wildcrafting Wednesday
Simple Lives Thursday Homestead Barn Hop
Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways 

16 comments:

  1. Thanks for the information! I've seen rooibos in stores and at Starbuck's before, but I didn't know what it was. I was always curious, so I'm glad you did the research for me haha. Sounds like a great tea to add to your daily routine :)

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    1. Thanks for reading Tammy and hope it makes your tea selection a little easier next time... :))!

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  2. I really enjoy rooibos tea. I had no idea how beneficial it was until I read your post. Thanks for the information!

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    1. So glad...it's nice to know that something we are drinking is actually good for us! :)

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  3. Love roiiboos tea; I drink it daily as well. My favorite is peach roiiboos.
    Thanks for posting at Wildcrafting Wednesday

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    1. Peach rooibos sounds delish! Thanks for hosting!

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  4. I had no idea of the benefits of rooibos tea either Nancy. I agree.. peach flavor sound very good. Great post thanks for sharing with the Farmgirl Friday Community! Deb

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  5. I love Rooibos, I think daily doses of it with milk and honey from the campus coffee shop actually helped get me through my master's degree ;)
    Thanks for sharing on WNWNW, Nancy, I've pinned this :)

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    1. Thanks so much again Danielle! Glad you enjoy it as much as I do too! :)

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  6. How interesting, I've never heard of rooibos before. I must talk to my cousin about it - she was brought up in South Africa.

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    1. I read where it's only grown in South Africa's western cape province, but I would think they serve Rooibos all over there. :)

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  7. I have long enjoyed drinking herbal tea (we grow most of what we use) but I have never tried Rooibos. However a friend was telling me about it recently and said that it is a source of magnesium- something most of us need more of. I think I might look into this more!

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    1. It is pretty good stuff and much more economical than quality green teas. :)

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  8. Hi Nancy,
    Great information! I have rooibos tea in my cupboard and enjoy it regularly! Thanks for sharing this on Wildcrafting Wednesday! Hope to see you again today!
    http://www.theselfsufficienthomeacre.com/2013/04/wildcrafting-wednesday-14.html

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