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Rooibos Tea Benefits: More Than Just Antioxidants!

Updated on October 23, 2013
Turtlewoman profile image

Kim is a board-certified holistic health coach, healthy living and cleanse consultant, and studied under Dr. Andrew Weil and Walter Willet.

Rooibos tea health benefits
Rooibos tea health benefits | Source

Discover Rooibos Tea Health Benefits!

For the last 20 years I've been a loyal coffee drinker. That is, until I was introduced to Rooibos tea.

A few years ago I walked by a kiosk in the mall that sold a variety of flavored herbal tea brewed from loose tea leaves. The girl that worked there handed me a sample cup. I took a sip and was immediately intrigued by this deeper robust flavor. It was marvelous- a taste so distinct that even coffee drinkers will be willing to convert.

What I've learned during my quest for a healthier lifestyle is that I don’t have to choose between the two drinks. Coffee will always be the first choice when I need of a caffeine boost, but if I’m looking for a drink that will replenish every cell in my body, I will choose Rooibos tea!

Loose leaf red rooibos tea
Loose leaf red rooibos tea | Source

Antioxidant Levels

The U.S. Department of Health uses a rating scale called ORAC, short for oxygen radical absorbency capacity, to aggregate the total amount of antioxidants found in many common foods. Note that the daily OPTIMAL recommended ORAC intake is 12,000 points.

Brewed green tea = 1,250

Brewed rooibos (red) tea = between 725 and 1,110

Brewed rooibos (green) tea= 1,700,000 + per 100 mg !!!

Resource: Brunswick Laboratories

Rooibos Tea Benefits: Red VS Green Rooibos

The two different versions of rooibos tea, "red rooibos" and "green rooibos," have two things in common: HEALTH BENEFITS and CAFFEINE-FREE.

Green rooibos has a lighter color and contains twice as many antioxidants as the red tea. The reason is that green rooibos tea is made from unfermented leaves and therefore, has a more delicate herbal taste. The complicated steaming process inhibits oxidation, preserving the green leaves and its antioxidants. The green version also has a more "herbal" taste.

If you want the more antioxidants, drink the "green rooibos" version, which has 100 times more antioxidants than "red rooibos."

It’s interesting to note that it isn't even considered a true tea at all. True tea is black tea, green tea, and white tea which all came from the Camellia sinensis plant indigenous to China, Tibet, and India. Rooibos tea comes from the plant Aspalanthus linearis.

Rooibos tea grows on a bush and goes through a fermentation process. It is chopped up and left to dry in the sun where it changes from a vivid green to a mahogany red color.

Choose rooibos tea that is natural and organic for the best health benefits.
Choose rooibos tea that is natural and organic for the best health benefits. | Source

Where Did Rooibos Tea Come From?

More than 300 years ago, inhabitants of the mountainous regions of South Africa’s Western Cape discovered that they could brew a tea from the leaves of the Aspalathus linearis plant.

The leaves were used as herbal remedies for many ailments by the Khoisans tribes. In 1904, Benjamin Ginsberg, a Russian immigrant, introduced this “Mountain Tea” to the modern world again. His family recognized the potential of this tea and distributed it locally. Rooibos became a cultivated crop by the 1930’s, and was used in World War II.

Have you drank Rooibos Tea before?

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How is Rooibos Tea Processed?

The planting technique that the South African farmers use is beneficial to the prevention of using chemical fertilizers. The seeds are planted during the month of February, and seedlings are replanted five months later. The farmers wait 18 more months before the rooibos can be first harvested.

The processing of most regular teas involve oxidation and of drying the leaves. Red rooibos is processed in the same manner, which darkens the color of the leaves and enhances the flavor. The green version of rooibos goes through a more difficult production process that preserves the leaves through oxidation. This is why green rooibos is more expensive, but contains more of the original antioxidants.

Drinking rooibos tea throughout the day will curb your appetite.
Drinking rooibos tea throughout the day will curb your appetite. | Source

Nutritional Facts of Rooibos Tea:

  • Antioxidants
  • Iron, manganese,calcium, zinc, potassium, magnesium,vit C
  • Alpha-hydroxyl acid

Rooibos Tea Health Benefits

Rooibos is the complete "body protector," benefiting every single organ in our body. It does not contain colors, additives, or preservatives. The list of benefits for rooibos tea is endless.

Let's focus on the most significant benefit, which is the extremely high level of antioxidants. Antioxidants are powerful substances that fight free radical in the bloodstream, helping your body fight off infection and disease.

  • Protection against cancer! With the whopping amount of antioxidants, it’s also anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-viral. With the alarming rise in cancer statistics each year, many people are looking to find ways to help prevent and protect themselves from mutagens and cancer-causing agents. With the high level of antioxidants, rooibos tea increases the enzymes that detoxify production of carcinogen and suppresses abnormal cells.
  • Decrease insomnia. Since there is no caffeine in rooibos tea, drinkers can enjoy a cup before bed or throughout the day to help relax them. It has a relaxing effect on the nervous system, allowing you to be more calm and rested.
  • Weight loss. Many people drink rooibos tea throughout the day to help suppress their appetite.
  • Stronger bones and teeth: With high levels of manganese and calcium, rooibos tea provides bone health and teeth strong.
  • Healthy Heart: Rooibos contains compounds called flavonoids which help regulate blood pressure and enhance stability of capillary arteries. What this means to you is the reduction in cholesterol build-up and blood clots, minimizing your chance of having a heart attack or heart related disease.
  • Healthy skin/ reduce acne! Rooibos also contains alpha hydroxyl acid! As you know, this is an important agent found in many expensive skin products over the counter that promotes healthy skin. Studies show that people who apply it directly to the skin twice a day will minimize acne.
  • Anti-aging. Once again, free radicals are our body’s enemy! They attack our healthy cells, causing rapid process of aging. A Japanese study found that rooibos contains a copycat enzyme called Super Oxide Dismutase (S.O.D.), another antioxidant. S.O.D. attacks these free radicals and limits their damaging effects.
  • Improve immune system: With the combination of antioxidants and minerals, drinking this tea daily will strengthen your immune system, while fighting off colds and illnesses.
  • Pregnant ladies can drink tea now! The strong and aromatic taste makes it a natural substitute for coffee especially in the time of pregnancy when caffeine intake should avoided. The low tannins in rooibos can cause a lower iron absorption in the blood, associated with cause of anemia. This is good news for pregnant women now that they can enjoy a cup of tea without the worry of caffeine. The key is to drink pure rooibos tea that has not been mixed with other components, such as rosemary, which causes uterine contraction.

Rooibos tea can help with insomnia.
Rooibos tea can help with insomnia. | Source

How to Serve Rooibos tea

  • Red Rooibos has a distinctive red hue and a slightly nutty, less astringent flavor. The herbal infusion can be served plain, with hot or cold milk or lemon. It can be lightly sweetened with honey or sugar.
  • I usually prefer to brew loose leaf tea, the way tea was meant to be consumed. Full-leaf loose tea has a depth of flavor that wakes up all your senses as it steeps. Teas that are sold in tea bags can have an inferior taste since the leaves are broken up. When tea leaves are broken up, the natural flavors are diminished due to the evaporation of essential oils.
  • Many tea producers are combining rooibos tea with other ingredients such as vanilla, ginger, mint, and even dark chocolate.
  • TIP: The longer you brew the loose tea leaves (at least 10 minutes), the more antioxidants are released. Rooibos tea does not have that bitter tea flavor like other teas. It tastes more pleasant!

All Rights Reserved

Copyright © 2012 Turtlewoman (Kim Lam)

Owner and creator of Lettuce Be Healthy
Owner and creator of Lettuce Be Healthy | Source

About the author

Kim Lam is a board certified Health Coach, Healthy Living and Cleanse Expert, half-marathon runner, gardener, and creator of Whole Foods, Whole Body Cleanse.

Kim Lam received her training from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She studied under Dr. Andre Weil, Director of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine and Dr. Walter Willet, Chair of Nutrition at Harvard University, among many other leading researchers and nutrition authorities.

She is deeply dedicated to sharing the exciting, yet critical journey to healthy living.

Connect with her on Facebook where she shares many health tips and recipes. Learn how to lose weight, get rid of toxins, and decrease inflammation with her 14-Day cleanse at Lettuce Be Healthy.

Comments on Rooibos Tea Health Benefits

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    • Web-design-Lancs profile image


      2 years ago

      Great post! Very well written and keep up the good work

    • Turtlewoman profile imageAUTHOR

      Kim Lam 

      4 years ago from California

      Glad you enjoyed the article Kristen- thank you

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 

      4 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Kim, this was real interesting to know. I've just tried it recently and it had a strong taste. Thanks for sharing this lens!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Hi there,

      If I am reading the information correctly, does Green Rooibos tea contain several times as much anti-oxidants as green tea?


    • profile image

      Deckan Coffee Co. 

      7 years ago

      Hi Turtlewoman, we are a small coffee/tea company we would love to send you some samples of our rooibos to to try to review on your blog? Would you be willing to do that? Please let us know at our website is

    • Turtlewoman profile imageAUTHOR

      Kim Lam 

      8 years ago from California

      Hi Steve/ It all depends on you, if you like a richer consistency. It's a matter of preference. :-) Thanks for stopping by!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Does the green rooibus tea go better with or without milk????

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      to add to Rooibos's many effects it can not only help allergies but, amazingly, studies show that it can work as a bronchodilator!, which helps relieve Asthma and other respiratory conditions with which is the reason i try to have two cups every evening!

    • Turtlewoman profile imageAUTHOR

      Kim Lam 

      8 years ago from California

      Thank you Jan! Feel free to share this article with your clients! :-)

    • profile image

      Jan Lantrip 

      8 years ago

      Great info on Rooibos. As a Pharmacist and owner of The English Tea Room- I can educate customers on the tremendous health benefits.

      We sell incredible amounts of loose leaf Rooibos - in the store (Covington, LA) and shipping all over the country!

    • Turtlewoman profile imageAUTHOR

      Kim Lam 

      8 years ago from California

      Hi lifelovemystery-

      Thank you for stopping by and commenting! Rooibos tea also has another name... "Red tea" or "Red bush." Give it a might just add it to your collection of teas!

    • lifelovemystery profile image

      Michelle Orelup 

      8 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      I have a variety of teas that I love but I've never heard of this one. The information in this hub is fantastic! Cheers!

    • Turtlewoman profile imageAUTHOR

      Kim Lam 

      8 years ago from California

      Hi Barry,

      I used to drink green tea for my weight loss program too. Now I switch back and forth between coffee, green tea and rooibos tea, depending on how much caffeine I need. With rooibos, I can sip it all day without worrying about overloading on caffeine.

      Thank you so much for stopping by! I appreciate your comment and input on "tegreen." Cheers!

    • Turtlewoman profile imageAUTHOR

      Kim Lam 

      8 years ago from California

      Hi Jennifer! Thank you for the kind comment. I'm glad to hear that you're a fan of rooibos tea too! Cheers to healthy living!

    • Turtlewoman profile imageAUTHOR

      Kim Lam 

      8 years ago from California

      Rolly, you're so sweet. I'm sending a digital hug back! :-)

      You can imagine my excitement about this tea when I first discovered it awhile back. Thanks for stopping by!

    • Turtlewoman profile imageAUTHOR

      Kim Lam 

      8 years ago from California

      Cclitgirl- thanks for sharing and I appreciate your support. I love tea-lovers! :-)

    • Turtlewoman profile imageAUTHOR

      Kim Lam 

      8 years ago from California

      Thank you Debbie for your words of encouragement. The 30/30 is indeed creeping up really fast! I would be proud of the discovery of rooibos too, if I was originally from South Africa. It is definitely a blessing they're sharing it with us.

      I appreciate your vote and share!

    • Turtlewoman profile imageAUTHOR

      Kim Lam 

      8 years ago from California

      Hello Cindy, time to drink some more! Thank you for reading. Btw, you're doing great on the 30/30!

    • BarryCross profile image

      Barry Cross 

      8 years ago from York, UK

      Interesting and informative Hub! I am an avid greeen tea fan and drinker, plus I take a high end caffeine free supplement daily by Pharmanex called Tegreen, one of the best on the market.

      Will definitely be sampling rooibos due to its huge health benefits. Thanks for sharing, voted up and socially shared. You have a new follower too. Cheers, Barry :)

    • jenniferg78 profile image


      8 years ago from Philadelphia, PA

      Well researched and written post. I love rooibos tea, the flavor, the aroma and the positive effects of it. Thanks for all your research and time that went into writing this hub.

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 

      8 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Great hub and I just recently discovered this tea and it has begun to grow on me so to speak. Thanks for all the research and the work you put into this.

      Hugs from Canada

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Calhoun 

      8 years ago from Western NC

      Beatufiul, comprehensive hub! I love rooibos tea. MMMMM. I just love tea in general. Voted up and sharing. :)

    • debbie roberts profile image

      Debbie Roberts 

      8 years ago from Greece

      I was introduced to rooibos tea by my husbands family. South Africans are very proud of their tea and the health benefits it has to offer.

      It is a milder tasting tea than the average cup of black tea, but very pleasant tasting too.

      Another good hub from you turtle woman, your 30/30 must be nearing it's end soon. Hang in there and keep bring the good hubs!

      Voted up and shared.

    • homesteadbound profile image

      Cindy Murdoch 

      8 years ago from Texas

      I have rooibos tea in my cabinet, and I had heard that it was healthy, I just did not know how healthy. You have inspired me to drink more of it. Great hub!

    • Turtlewoman profile imageAUTHOR

      Kim Lam 

      8 years ago from California

      Thanks RTalloni, I'm glad you like it!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Thanks for this look at rooibos tea with details on its benefits.

    • Turtlewoman profile imageAUTHOR

      Kim Lam 

      8 years ago from California

      Teaches12345- Hello and thank you for stopping by. I'm so glad to hear rooibos is your favorite tea. The green one will taste a bit more 'herbal' but it's still more mild compared to other types of tea.

      Take care, and cheers to good health!

    • Turtlewoman profile imageAUTHOR

      Kim Lam 

      8 years ago from California

      Good morning Peggy, you will not be disappointed in this tea. I am almost sure House of Tea will carry this since it is starting to be more well known across the states.

      Thank you for stopping by and I appreciate your votes!

    • Turtlewoman profile imageAUTHOR

      Kim Lam 

      8 years ago from California

      Thanks Cosmic Bus, you are so funny! That girl must be in 2nd grade too.;-)

      I'm glad the article reminded you to stock up. Enjoy your tea!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      8 years ago

      As you know, this is my favorite tea and glad you wrote a hub on its benefits. I am going to have to pick up some green rooibos tea, as I see from your writings that it has twice the benefit of the red. The history lesson along with the processing description and photos make for an interesting read. Voted up.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Thanks for writing this hub! Between you and LadyLyell's hub about Rooibos tea, I am sold! Next time I purchase more loose leaf tea from The House of Tea in Houston, it will be on my list. All up votes except funny and will share this with my followers.

    • Cosmic Bus profile image

      Cosmic Bus 

      8 years ago from Maryland

      I love Rooibos tea! Great hub. Now I think I have to go store and stock up. I don't think my waist has ever been as small as the girl n the pic, maybe second grade!

    • Turtlewoman profile imageAUTHOR

      Kim Lam 

      8 years ago from California

      Oh my goodness, LadyLyell, you should write a hub about the tour! And take pictures! I recently discovered Rooibos a year ago, and have not paid attention to any other tea since. It truly does taste wonderful.

      Thank you for your kind comment!

    • LadyLyell profile image


      8 years ago from George, South Africa

      All my support for your article as I wrote one myself on Rooibos. I am a lover of this tea too as I was introduced to it in my early days living in South Africa. In a few weeks time I am returning to the Cape to live near to where the tea is grown so may go on a tour.

      As the tea is healthy your hub will spread the message. Keep on enjoying Rooibos!


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