We are often asked about the health benefits of Rooibos tea. Caffeine-free Rooibos is often associated with health promoting antioxidants and it is even hailed as a cure to cancer! Anton and I both have Masters in Science so when it comes to Rooibos, we wanted have a deeper look into academic publications on Rooibos tea.
Leading research conducted in Rooibos' homeland
Many research groups around the world have published articles on Rooibos since the 1960’s. The leading researchers on Rooibos tea are Professor Lizette Joubert from the Agricultural Research Council and Professor Wentzel Gelderblom of the Medical Research Council in South Africa. Their extensive research on Rooibos tea highlighted the uniqueness of aspalathin, a flavonoid, which is only found in Rooibos plant (Aspalathus linearis). Flavonoids are a diverse group of phytonutrients (plant chemicals) found in almost all fruits and vegetables.
Aspalathin is the key
Aspalathin has since created interest around the world. In 2016, 22% of all exported Rooibos was shipped to Japan. Japan has a very long history of drinking tea (camelia sinensis) and Rooibos tea has become very popular caffeine-free tea alternative in the country. A study conducted by the Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, and published in the European Journal for Nutrition in 2013, found out that research strongly suggest that aspalathin has anti-diabetic potential.
In 2016, almost 26% of exported Rooibos tea ended up in Germany and Germans have also been interested in researching Rooibos. A study conducted by Heidelberg University in Germany, University of Johannesburg and the South African Agricultural Research Council, suggests that rooibos increases stress resistance and promotes longevity under stress, supporting some of the health claims put forward for rooibos tea.
Is Green Rooibos healthier than red Rooibos?
Aspalathin is present in high quantities in the green Rooibos leaf as when Rooibos is plant bruised and oxidized for “red” Rooibos, the amount of aspalathin decreases. Despite this aspalathin remains one of the major flavonoids present in fermented tea. Therefore we can say that drinking both traditional red Rooibos and Green Rooibos is good for you but Green Rooibos will give you that extra punch of antioxidants - just like traditional Green Tea.
Hydration at heart
Most of us do not drink enough water. Why is this? We forget its importance, we get too busy with our lives or some of us don’t actually like the taste of water and prefer flavoured drinks. Instead a grabbing a drink filled with sugars, colours or artificial sweeteners, cold Rooibos makes a great thirst quencher, without a grain of sugar nor caffeine in sight. Just boil Rooibos, leave it to cool down and fill your (glass) water bottle with some antioxidants. Being hydrated makes your body and skin feel better.