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Wellness One-oh-Ones: Rooibos

by Hannah Smith

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Tea can be used to solve or at least help with a myriad of issues, from migraines to digestion issues. One tea that’s been gaining traction over the years? Rooibos. I personally only learned of Rooibos recently, but in a few short minutes, it was clear to me why this tea is a winner and I wanted to share all of that newfound information with you! With the help of Alison Kilmer of Uppercase Tea, we got the lowdown on all of the benefits of Rooibos, and why you might want to consider adding it to your routine.

What is Rooibos?

According to Alison, “Unlike a tea leaf from the Camellia Sinensis plant, Rooibos is a super herb grown only in South Africa. It’s revered for its antioxidant super powers and actually contains more antioxidants than teas made from tea leaves. There are two different kinds of Rooibos tea, green and red. The green is unfermented, and the red is fermented which gives it its red color. Green has more antioxidants that red due to how it’s produced. Green Rooibos has a milder taste, while fermented Rooibos has a natural sweet taste of honey and vanilla.”

Photo Courtesy of Uppercase Tea

What Makes It Different From Other Tea?

Briefly touched on above, the main differentiation is the fact that Rooibos does not come from the tea leaf, and instead comes from a bush in South Africa. Because it’s derived so differently, though, there are notable differences between your typical tea and Rooibos. Teas such as green contain a high level of antioxidants, but Rooibos “is the only known sources of a potent antioxidant Aspalathin, which could play a role in combating several lifestyle diseases. The antioxidants in Rooibos are potent enough to measurably elevate the antioxidant levels in the blood, thereby boosting the body’s internal defense systems against disease.” In addition, “Rooibos is naturally caffeine free (not decaffeinated), and is therefore suitable for children, infants, and breastfeeding mothers,” and has been proven to be a fantastic electrolyte replacement for athletes.

What Are the Benefits?

By now, you’re probably wondering what the overall benefits of Rooibos are, and boy there are many. Some of the top known benefits, and the details on them, below.

Rooibos and Cancer

South Africa’s Medical Research Council focuses on how Rooibos inhibits the development of cancer cells, which has been proven in a few cases. How does it do this? “Rooibos may prevent the healthy cell from undergoing mutagenesis by binding free radicals, increasing the antioxidant capacity of the liver, and helping the liver to cope with carcinogens.” Of course, it’s not recommended to treat cancer patients, but instead can be used as a long-term, preventative method.

Rooibos and Skin

You know we’d do anything for glowing skin, and it turns out Rooibos can help with that, too! “The high levels of flavonoid in Rooibos help in preventing skin disorders like eczema and acne. You can either drink rooibos tea or apply it directly to your skin to fight acne. It also contributes to healthier skin. Rooibos contains high levels of vitamins and minerals like vitamin D and zinc, which helps to make skin healthy and shiny from inside and helps to remove dead cells from our skin. “

Rooibos and Bacterial Infections

“Rooibos possesses anti-bacterial and hypoallergenic properties. These properties help in fighting various bacterial infections on the skin and prevent them from occurring again. It also helps in relieving allergies.”

Rooibos and Hair

Just as with skin, healthy hair is something we lust over, and Rooibos can help us achieve it. “Regular consumption of Rooibos tea can increase hair growth. Rooibos is enriched with minerals like zinc, calcium, copper, and potassium that promote hair growth while strengthening hair roots. Thanks to increasing stress and pollution, graying of hair is no longer a symptom of the aged. The high levels of copper present in rooibos extract help prevent premature graying of hair.”

Photo Courtesy of Uppercase Tea

Rooibos and Immune System

Pretty much everything we’ve covered on Wellness One-oh-Ones is beneficial to the immune system, and this is no exception. “Rooibos antioxidants boost our immune system, [which] helps us maintain our fitness while keeping us healthy from within.”

Rooibos and Heart Attacks / Strokes

“The antioxidants present in rooibos binds with free radicals present in the body, which help prevent it from oxidizing with cholesterol and clog blood vessels. Clogged blood vessels can cause heart attack or stroke.”

Rooibos and Stress and Hypertension

You know we’d do anything to chill, and caffeine is unfortunately not apart of that routine, no matter how badly you want it to be. “Rooibos is an herb that is caffeine-free and has no kilojoules. Caffeine consumption tends to raise the body’s blood pressure, which causes stress and hypertension. Researches have proven that consumption of Rooibos tea is very good in controlling the body’s blood pressure level, preventing stress and hypertension.”

How Much Should I Drink?

“After centuries of use, no negative side effects of Rooibos have ever been recorded,” but that being said, we still like to air on the side of caution. If you’re looking to incorporate Rooibos tea into your routine, try having a cup a day!

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