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Red Tea: A Tea Substitute?

Updated on November 11, 2011

Rooibos Tea

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:

· Calcium

· Magnesium

· Zinc

· Copper

· Manganese

· Fluoride

· Vitamin C

· Vitamin E

· Alpha Hydroxyl Acid (AHA)

· Iron

· Sodium

· Potassium

· 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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rooibos tea with rosehip and strawberryred tea leavesrooibos plant
rooibos tea with rosehip and strawberry
rooibos tea with rosehip and strawberry
red tea leaves
red tea leaves
rooibos plant
rooibos plant


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    • BeatsMe profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      Hi Mikayla, thanks for dropping by. :)

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Hey there i just love rooibos

      -Proudly South African ????????

    • BeatsMe profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Hi Mulder, thanks for coming by. :)

    • mulder profile image


      7 years ago from Warnbro Western Australia

      I love rooibos its so good for you .

    • BeatsMe profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Hi Tony, good to know someone who drink rooibos on a regular basis. hehehe. It's not a common drink here.

      Thanks for coming by and for sharing. :)

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 

      7 years ago from South Africa

      Interesting indeed! I love reading about a product that I know so well from another perspective. Have been drinking rooibos since I was a child and of course there are many here who drink it.

      In days gone by when most families had wood or coal stoves it was common for there to be a pot of rooibos constantly simmering on the stove. With the arrival of electric stoves this is no longer really practical, but it was part of our culture for many years.

      Thanks for sharing.

      Love and peace


    • BeatsMe profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Hi Quicksand, do try to make sure the red tea in your supermarkets are made from rooibos and not the Chinese red tea or the equivalent of black tea.

      Yes, if you can get rooibos leaves that you can actually boil and not tea bags, they should be more potent.

      Thanks for coming by and am glad this hub has given you an interest in red teas. :)

    • quicksand profile image


      7 years ago

      Hi BeatsMe, I've seen packs of red tea in the supermarkets recently. However I did not bother much about getting interested.

      Now that you have kindled an interest with this article I shall check it out soon. Did you mean if red tea is boiled longer the anti-oxidants contained within become more potent?


    • BeatsMe profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Hi Victress, nice to know that it can be added with milk, just like tea. :P

      Thanks for coming by. :)

    • Victress In All profile image

      Victress In All 

      7 years ago

      Thanks for good info! We just recently discovered this drink, and love it with a little of milk added.


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