Health Benefits of Rooibos Tea (Volume 3)

Health Benefits of Rooibos Tea (Volume 3)

by Dr Marli Botha

This traditional South African beverage delights the senses with a bright red hue and blend of sweet and malty flavour. It features a bold flavour profile that entices taste buds and completes the experience with a smooth or crisp finish. The rooibos plant grows exclusively in the mountainous Cederberg region of South Africa. Rooibos tea is commonly called ‘red bush tea’ or ‘bush tea’ in the western world. The term ‘rooibos’ has been legally protected in South Africa since 2013. Teas may only be labelled as ‘rooibos tea’ if the leaves come directly from the Aspalathus linearis plant.


  1. Rooibos tea is naturally caffeine-free, making it an ideal choice as a base tea for flavoured and herbal teas. This red tea is commonly used as a replacement for black tea for people who want to limit their caffeine intake.
  2. Strictly speaking, rooibos isn’t a tea, as it is unrelated to the traditional tea plant (Camellia sinensis). It is actually a herb – a broom-like member of the legume family of plants that includes peas, beans, peanuts and alfalfa.
  3. Most black teas have tannins that impede iron absorption. Rooibos tea has less than half the tannins of black tea, and can actively help the body to absorb iron.
  4. Rooibos is a digestive aid – it can ease stomach cramps and diarrhoea thanks to the calming effect of its flavonoids on the digestive system.
  5. Due to rooibos tea’s alpha hydroxyl acid and zinc content, rooibos is able to revitalise and invigorate the skin. It can be applied directly on to the skin to help acne, pimples, sunburn, eczema, etc. Use rooibos tea instead of hard tap water to cleanse your face and skin. Place cold used rooibos tea bags on your eyes to soothe tired or red eyes. Add a few tea bags to your bath to soothe skin ailments or sunburn. Rinse your hair with strong lukewarm rooibos for revitalised hair
  6. Rooibos can be given externally or internally to treat dry, itchy, irritated skin of animals like horses, dogs and cats. Externally a rooibos cream can be applied to the problem area to soothe and protect the skin. Taken internally, the bioflavonoids in rooibos have a potent anti-itch effect.
  7. Use Rooibos tea bags for cleaning the leaves of household plants. Since plants absorb the tea through the leaves, they get a real treat!

It is important to mention that no food is meant to be a cure-all for any condition, though there are certainly health and skin benefits contained within them. The one thing you should always do before using a new skin care product is to do a patch test to look for allergies and sensitivities.

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