Benefits & Side effects of Rooibos Tea

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These days, Rooibos Tea has become a popular drink as a healthy and tasty drink. Used for centuries in South Africa, this tea has become a popular drink around the world. Rooibos tea is a delicious and decaffeinated alternative to black tea and green tea. Fans of this tea, also, praise it for its potential health benefits. Many believe the antioxidants in this tea can help fight cancer, heart disease, and stroke. But how true are these claims?

What is Rooibos Tea?

Rooibos Tea is also known as red tea or red bush tea. Rooibos is made using the leaves of a shrub called Aspalathus linearis, which usually grows on the west coast of South Africa. Traditional Rooibos is made by fermenting the leaves, turning them reddish-brown. There is also a green Rooibos that has not been fermented. This type of Rooibos is more expensive and tastes more herbaceous than the traditional version. Another point about green Rooibos is that it has more antioxidants than traditional red Rooibos.

Rooibos tea is usually consumed in the same way as black tea. Some people like to add milk or sugar to make it taste better. Contrary to some claims, Rooibos tea is not a good source of vitamins and minerals, except for copper and fluoride. But it is rich in powerful antioxidants that have many health benefits.

  • It has more benefits than black tea and green tea

Caffeine is a natural stimulant found in both black and green tea. Balanced caffeine consumption is generally safe. There may even be benefits to one’s exercise activity, focus, and mood. However, excessive consumption of caffeine is associated with heart palpitations, increased anxiety, sleep problems, and headaches. So some people prefer to cut or limit caffeine consumption. Because Rooibos tea is naturally caffeine-free, it is a good alternative to black or green tea. 

Lower tannin levels than black or green tea are another advantage of this tea. Tannins are natural compounds found in green and black tea. They are not well known because they block the absorption of certain nutrients such as iron. Finally, unlike black tea, red rooibos does not contain oxalic acid. Excessive consumption of oxalic acid may increase the risk of kidney stones, so Rooibos tea is a good choice for those with kidney problems.

  • Rich in antioxidants

Rooibos has become popular with people because of its many health-enhancing antioxidants such as aspalathin and quercetin. Antioxidants can protect cells from free radicals damage. In the long run, it can also reduce the risk of diseases such as heart disease and cancer. Evidence suggests that drinking Rooibos tea can increase the level of antioxidants in the body. A study of 15 people found that drinking red Rooibos tea increased 2.9 percent and green Rooibos tea 6.6 percent increased blood antioxidant levels. This increase in antioxidant levels lasted for five hours after consuming 17 oz (500 ml) of tea made with 750 mg of Rooibos tea leaf.

  • May Boost Heart Health

The antioxidants in tea are linked to heart health. This can happen in many different ways. First, drinking Rooibos tea can have a beneficial effect on blood pressure by inhibiting angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE). The angiotensin-converting-enzyme increases blood pressure indirectly by contracting blood vessels. A study of 17 people found that ACE activity was inhibited in participants 30 to 60 minutes after drinking Rooibos tea, but did not cause any change in blood pressure.

There is promising evidence that this tea can also improve blood cholesterol levels. In one study, the effects of Rooibos on 40 overweight men and women at risk for heart disease were investigated. The researchers found that drinking six cups of Rooibos a day for six weeks reduced cholesterol with low-density lipoprotein (LDL), known as “bad” cholesterol. This was also associated with a slight increase in cholesterol with high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or good cholesterol. However, similar effects were not observed in healthy persons. Healthy cholesterol levels mean more protection against various heart diseases, including heart attacks and strokes.

  • May Reduce Cancer Risk

Experiments have shown that quercetin and luteolin antioxidants found in Rooibos tea can kill cancer cells and prevent tumor growth. However, the amount of quercetin in a cup of tea is only a small percentage of the total antioxidant. Further studies are needed to find strong evidence of the effect of drinking Rooibos tea on preventing cancer growth.

  • Useful for people with type 2 diabetes

Rooibos tea is one of the few known natural antioxidant sources called Aspalathin. Studies in animals have shown that aspalathin can have an anti-diabetic effect. A study in rats with type 2 diabetes has shown that aspalathin helps balance blood sugar and reduce insulin resistance. This is promising news for those with type 2 diabetes or those at risk. However, further studies are needed to confirm this positive effect.

Unverified Benefits

The benefits of Rooibos tea have a wide range of human health, but there is insufficient evidence to prove many of them:

  • Bone Health: There is little evidence of the effect of Rooibos on bone health. Besides, there have been few studies focusing on Rooibos tea.
  • Improved digestion: Many people find this tea a way to reduce gastrointestinal problems, but the evidence is poor.
  • Others: Despite some unreliable reports of improvement, there is insufficient evidence that Rooibos tea can help with sleep problems, allergies, and headaches.

Of course, the lack of evidence does not mean that they are wrong. It’s just that they haven’t been studied yet.

Potential Side Effects

Rooibos tea is generally safe. Although there are very few negative side effects, there are some reports.

A case study showed that drinking plenty of Rooibos tea daily increases liver enzymes, which in turn can lead to liver disease. However, this was only one complex case.

Some compounds in this tea have been shown to have estrogenic activity, meaning they can produce estrogen, the female sex hormone. Therefore, some sources recommend that people with special conditions allergic to this hormone, such as those with breast cancer, should not drink Rooibos tea. 


Rooibos tea is a healthy and pleasant drink. Decaffeinated tea is low in tannins and high in antioxidants, which can have many health benefits. Of course, some claims about the benefits of this tea are untrue and there is little evidence to prove it. It is still unclear whether the benefits of the Rooibos tea seen in animal studies and experiments mean that it has benefits for humans.

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