A product of the Cederberg, rooibos is loved for its flavour and health benefits.
The earthy flavour of rooibos is a firm South African favourite. In fact, the unique shrub only grows in our very own Cederberg region. But, it’s not just the taste that has put the herbal tea on the map both locally and abroad — rooibos has a number of health benefits thanks to its antioxidant-rich contents.
It’s good for your heart
Studies have shown that the antioxidants found in rooibos may actually help to boost heart health in a number of ways. Some research suggests that the herbal tea may have a positive impact on blood pressure, plus it can increase levels of good cholesterol in individuals who are at risk of heart disease. In fact, one study looked at adults who were at high risk of heart disease and found that after drinking six cups of rooibos a day for six consecutive weeks, their levels of bad (LDL) cholesterol dropped, while their good (HDL) cholesterol increased.
It’s naturally caffeine-free
For those who prefer to avoid or limit caffeine, rooibos is a great alternative to coffee, as well as green and black tea. Besides the fact that rooibos is naturally free from caffeine, it is also much lower in tannin than other types of tea. This is beneficial as tannins, such as those found in black tea, tend to affect the body’s ability to absorb important nutrients like iron.
It’s full of antioxidants
Many of the health benefits associated with rooibos are due to the many antioxidants which it contains. These antioxidants, which include aspalathin and quercetin, help to protect the cells of the body from damage caused by free radicals, reducing the risk of illness over time. Some studies suggest that the antioxidant aspalathin (of which rooibos is the only known natural source) may have the ability to improve insulin levels and balance blood sugar levels.
Get your fix
The popularity of rooibos continues to grow, and with that comes an exciting number of products that contain the healthy plant.
For your skin: African Extracts, a proudly South African beauty brand, offers a range of skincare products that are made with rooibos extract and other natural plant extracts. Their range includes masks, scrubs, tissue oil and serums.
For DIY drinks: redespresso makes a range of ground rooibos, as well as rooibos tea capsules and instant red cappuccino sachets, all of which are ideal caffeine-free alternatives to coffee and black tea. Interestingly, a shot of red espresso contains ten times more antioxidants than a cup of regular rooibos tea because it is so concentrated.
For your cocktails: If you fancy a dash of rooibos goodness in your evening tipple, try The Rooibos Red from Cape Town Gin. Made with rooibos extract, this gin has an earthy, spiced flavour.
For something different: If you like your rooibos with a little extra flavour, you might like Ronnefeldt Tea Couture rooibos chocolate truffle tea. It has a delicate taste of vanilla with sweet chocolate truffle notes. LMC, another local brand, also offers a range of flavoured rooibos — options include ginger and lemongrass, Earl Grey and Chai. They’ve recently launched a delicious, must-try Pear & Elderflower infusion, too.