Red Tea: A Tea Substitute?
There are about two known kinds of red tea. Red tea in China is known in western culture as black tea. What is considered as red tea in the west is actually the rooibos (pronounced roy-bos) tea. However, rooibos tea is ‘not real tea’ as opposed to the Chinese red tea (black tea). All true teas come from the plant called Camellia Sinensis. Rooibos tea however, came from the plant Aspalathis Linearis which is a plant that is indigenous to South Africa. Rooibos tea is commonly accepted as red tea which is also called red bush tea.
Rooibos grows and is abundant in South Africa. It has a thin, needle-like leaves. The leaves are originally green but they turn red after oxidation. Because of this, there are green varieties of Rooibos. However, green Rooibos is more expensive. Rooibos doesn’t taste like tea. It has a naturally sweet and fruity flavor.
Nutrients of Red Tea
Rooibos tea has the following important nutrients:
· Vitamin C
· Vitamin E
· Alpha Hydroxyl Acid (AHA)
· Flavonoids such as aspalathin, nothofagin, quercetin, and luteolin
· Superoxide dismutase (SOD) helps the body use zinc, copper, and manganese
Benefits of Red Tea
Because red tea is not real tea, it contains no caffeine and is low in tannin. Tannin is a substance that decreases the absorption of certain nutrients in the body. Nutrients like iron, calcium, and other important minerals might not be absorbed well in the body if tannin is abundant in a certain beverage. This makes red tea more beneficial than ‘true teas’ such as black tea, green tea, and oolong tea.
Red tea contains many health benefits. It is known for its ability to aid in blood circulation, prevents hemorrhaging, and protects against infections. Red tea helps relieve stomach ulcers and cramps, constipation, and heartburn. Red tea can also help in the treatment of high blood pressure, diabetes, liver diseases, and cataracts. It also helps prevent kidney stones, heart disease, cancer, and stroke. It helps relieve headaches, insomnia, nervous tension, hypertension and even allergies.
It contains a high level of natural antioxidants that helps delay the aging process of a body and boost its immune system. Antioxidants are known to help reduce damage to the body from free radicals. The natural antioxidants of red tea are Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and flavonoids. Calcium, magnesium, and fluoride aid in developing stronger bones and teeth. Vitamin C helps fight infection. Vitamin E, AHA, and zinc help promote a healthy, smooth, and glowing skin. Sodium and potassium help with the hydration system of the body. Combined AHA, zinc, and SOD helps in the treatment of acne.
If red tea is brewed or boiled for more than ten minutes, the antioxidants it contain becomes much higher, therefore it becomes more helpful in destroying free radicals.
Possible Side Effects
Red teas have very low amounts of tannin and oxalic acid. Since the unsafe substances are very minimal, red teas are considered to have no side effects.
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