Rooibos tea comes from a plant that is native to South Africa. It grows in a specific region around the southern tip of the land called Cederberg, located in the Western Cape. The health benefits of this plant has made it popular over the last decade. Learn about the rooibos tea benefits and what you can make with in this post.
History of Red Bush Tea
Rooibos tea, also referred to as red bush tea, finds its home in South Africa where the bush grows.
The rooibos growing in the town Cederberg, in the Western Cape Province, is located in the Fynbos Eco Region, which is in the Cape Floristic Region. The rooibos plant is endemic to this area because it grows in relation to the micro-organism and soil found in this specific area.
There are dilemmas for the growers and business persons that seek to commercialize this plant. The problems include the availability of the seeds, the difficulty to germinate the seeds, and the environment needed for the plant to thrive. All these are solved in this area of Cederberg, although the buh remains semi-wild and cannot yet be produce in the mass scale that the world may demand in coming years as it gains popularity.
For starters, the plants seeds are hard to come by and very scarce. The reason for this is because the seeds are dependent on wildfire for reproduction. In this process, the seeds are also scarified to allow for germination of the seeds.
In once instance, a storehouse of rooibos seeds were found when someone spotted ants carrying the seeds to their anthill. Read more about the story in the National Library of Medicine article here.
The plant is a part of the linearis family, and is considered a legume. Its outer shell is hard and requires scarification to germinate. Scarification can happen in a several ways in nature including wildlife, wind, and fire. However, this can take a long time as it depend on other factor that may or may not occur, and would happen over a long period of time.
Environment for Growth
The specific environment for rooibos to grow is like most legumes: in a symbiotic relationship with the underground structures and the root hairs on the roots of other plants in the area (read more about Rhizoids to understand this relationship better).
Therefore, to simulate the perfect environment for these seeds to grow is a great challenge, which keeps the plant native to this area in South Africa.
There is also legal protection for the name rooibos by trademarks registered in South Africa.
Health Benefits of Rooibos Tea
The health benefits of rooibos tea are in its:
- No caffeine
- High Flavonoid Content (which can treat cancer, tension, allergies, and indigestion)
- High in antioxidants like: Polyphenol, Aspalathin and Quercetin
- Fights free radicals in the body because it contains antioxidants like Polyphenol
- Boosts the immune system because it contains antioxidants like Polyphenol
- Reduces infection because it contains antioxidants like Polyphenol
- Polyphenol also helps protect the body’s tissues against oxidative stress (caused by pollution, radiation, obesity, smoking, drinking alcohol, etc.)
- Balances glucose levels and may prohibit diabetes because it contains antioxidants like Aspalathin
- Bring down blood pressure because it contains antioxidants like Quercetin
- Keep heart beating normally because it contains antioxidants like Quercetin
For more information on the Benefits of Flavanoids in Rooibos Tea, see the full article on Characterization of Flavonoid Compounds in Rooibos Tea from ACS Publications).
Quote: “The tea is gaining recognition for its freedom from caffeine, low tannin and high ascorbic acid content. It contains the antispasmodic principle, quercetin, and is said to have enough fluoride to inhibit caries”, see here.
Flavanoids as Medicine
According to National Library of Medicine on the Importance of Flavonoids and their role as a Therapeutic Agent include:
The benefits will vary depending on the season and the quality grade of the plant.
Other uses of Flavanoids
Other uses of flavonoids include its use as a dye and for cosmetics cosmetics, especially anti-aging skincare products.
Ways to Use Rooibos Tea
Rooibos Chai Tea Recipe
You can find our homemade rooibos chai tea recipe here, made directly on your stovetop. Use whole milk and whole spices if you can, this will generously increase the overall flavour.
We cook the spices in low boiling water for 30 minutes to an hour, and use that to make our chai tea lattes.
The same spices can then be re-cooked with more water for more time, to continue seeping the benefits and flavour of the whole spices.
Rooibos Iced Tea Recipe
We also make iced tea with rooibos throughout the summer months. We brew a large pot of rooibos tea on the stove and save it in big pickle jars in our fridge. About 5 quarts of water steeps well with 60g of fresh organic rooibos tea.
Rooibos Tea Blends & Tea Mixes
Lots of our tea blends include rooibos tea, because it is a great additional to herbal teas.
Most healthy herbal teas can taste overly grassy, and the addition of berries and sweet herbs like chamomile help dumb down the grassy taste. Rooibos tea is another great way to change tea blends flavour to become sweeter and more red, if red could be tasted.
Some of our tea blends with rooibos tea include our Dandelion Leaf Blend.
Can you have Rooibos Tea During Pregnancy?
There are no studies that I could find that directly conclude that rooibos tea is unhealthy for expecting mothers. From the benefits mentioned earlier in this post, I cannot fathom that it would be unhealthy for you during pregnancy.
It appears that conventional statistics that govern “what is healthy” and “what isn’t healthy” is starting to show cracks. I think a mother’s intuition will tell far more about what is and what isn’t acceptable during pregnancy, while maintaining a healthy balance is always a good idea.
If you are concerned about making health care choices like this, you should consult the persons that you gain your insights from.
Can kids have Rooibos Tea?
Abosultely! I practically grew up on rooibos tea and have had no health issues to date.
Again, the disclaimer stands that if you are concerned about making health care choices like this, you should consult the persons that you gain your insights from. Although I suspect if you are reading about it on the internet, you are searching out your own information to make an informative decision.