Rooibos is a tea from South Africa. Though not made from the Camellia Sinensis plant, rooibos still boasts a load of health benefits and also a delectable and savoury flavour that makes this tea an international success. Rooibos comes from a plant, the Aspalathus linearis which grows in South Africa's Western Cape Province and is considered an herbal tea.
Brewed initially by settlers to South Africa as a substitute for more expensive black tea, rooibos still is consumed akin to black tea today, which is to say it is enjoyed with cream and sugar as per the drinker's tastes. Rooibos is prepared by fermenting the leaves of the Aspalathus linearis plant which gives the liquor a reddish-brown colour. This reddish-brown appearance many around the world associate with rooibos, though "green" rooibos does exist. Green rooibos is made from unfermented leaves and is said to have more antioxidants and a grassier flavour than red rooibos. When it comes to rooibos and health benefits, there are several good reasons why rooibos should be part of your tea repertoire. Rooibos is caffeine-free, and so those who enjoy herbal tea can enjoy rooibos without the fear of jitters or accelerated heart rates! Rooibos also has fewer tannins than black or green tea. While tannins have some health benefits, they can also hinder iron absorption into the body. Rooibos does, however, have lots of cell-protecting antioxidants. Rooibos is also beneficial to our hearts and helps keep bad cholesterol under control, as well as aiding in the management of diabetes. Also, good news for those trying to lose weight or keep slim and trim, rooibos aids in the production of leptin, which is a hormone that signals to the body one is full — this feeling of satiation when drinking rooibos can help us not to overeat. Recent studies have shown that rooibos can potentially hinder the development of new fat cells and boost metabolism. Rooibos can also be applied to the skin to help reduce signs of ageing (wait until the tea cools before trying this one!).
While those all sound well and good, there are some things to keep in mind when enjoying rooibos. Rooibos can interfere with chemotherapy and have demonstrated estrogenic effects in some studies, which can negatively affect hormone-sensitive cancer such as breast cancer. Rooibos has also been linked to some forms of liver toxicity. So for those interested in adding rooibos to your daily diet, consult an oncologist or physician for more advice on the subject.