If you’re looking for rooibos facts, look no further. This should cover just about everything you might need to know and hopefully a little bit more. So get yourself a hot beverage if you haven’t already and settle into some rooibos reading.
What is rooibos? Is it even tea?
For starters, it’s pronounced ‘roy-bus’ and is also known as red bush.
It’s a is a naturally caffeine-free herbal tea originating from South Africa. It’s made from the leaves of the Aspalathus linearis plant, native to the Western Cape province of South Africa.
When the plant reaches about 20 months old, the needle-like leaves are harvested, fermented, and then dried, resulting in a red-brown colour and a sweet, earthy flavour when steeped (stope) in hot water.
Harvest usually falls between January and April in the Western Cape region of South Africa where most rooibos is grown.
Did you know:
The leaves and stems of the rooibos plant can be used to create a natural dye that produces shades of yellow and orange. So if you’ve got a spare few leaves from your potted aspalathus linearis, consider making a tie-die t-shirt.
Is rooibos really tea?
While Rooibos is often referred to as "red tea" or "African red tea," it is technically an herbal tea or tisane, not a “true” tea.
So no, strictly speaking, it’s not ‘tea’ because it doesn’t come from the camellia sinensis plant.
However, we recommend immediately stopping talking to anyone who tries to correct you when you ask for Rooibos Tea.
Life is too short for such pedantry.
What are the health benefits of rooibos?
The list is pretty long so buckle up. It’s worth noting that drinking tea isn’t the same as sipping from the fountain of youth and in any case, you shouldn’t be taking medical advice from a company who sells tea.
However, the evidence certainly does suggest that a variety of teas added to your diet can contribute to a healthy lifestyle so why not treat yourself to a couple of boxes? It won’t do you any harm and it tastes great!
Cardiovascular health benefits
In the study Rooibos (Aspalathus linearis), a functional food targeting cardiovascular disease, the authors note that rooibos contains a range of bioactive compounds, including antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, which may have beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system.
It reviewed animal and human studies that have investigated the effects of rooibos on various cardiovascular parameters, including blood pressure, lipid profiles, and endothelial function and concluded that rooibos may have beneficial effects on blood pressure regulation, lipid metabolism, and endothelial function.
Basically, this means that rooibos could potentially be good for your heart health by helping to keep your blood pressure under control, improving your cholesterol levels, and supporting the healthy function of your blood vessels.
It could help with bone health
This study looked at how Rooibos tea affects bone health in rats. The researchers divided 40 male rats into four groups and fed them different diets, with some rats getting Rooibos tea in their food and others not getting any Rooibos tea.
After six months, the researchers looked at the rats' femurs (leg bones) to see how strong and healthy they were. They found that the rats who had been fed Rooibos tea had higher bone mineral density (which means their bones were stronger) than the rats who didn't get any Rooibos tea.
The Rooibos tea-fed rats also had better bone structure and stronger bones compared to the rats who didn't get any Rooibos tea. Based on these results, the researchers think that Rooibos tea might be good for bone health because it can help improve bone density and strength.
Keep in mind that what is true in rats isn’t necessarily true in humans but it is promising nonetheless.
It has antioxidant properties:
Since the 2000s “Antioxidant” has been the buzzword in marketing ‘superfoods’.
Rooibos tea is rich in antioxidants, which are compounds that help protect your cells from damage caused by harmful molecules called free radicals - major contributors to many health problems such as cardiovascular and inflammatory disease, cataract, and cancer.
In this study, researchers investigated the potential cancer-fighting properties of rooibos tea and another South African herbal tea called honeybush.
The researchers found that both types of tea were able to stop tumours from growing in mice, and that rooibos tea was especially good at preventing damage to DNA (which can lead to cancer).
Based on these results, the researchers think that rooibos tea might be able to help prevent or reduce the risk of getting cancer. However, more research is needed to fully understand how rooibos tea might help fight cancer in humans.
Does rooibos tea contain caffeine?
No, Rooibos tea is naturally caffeine-free, which makes it a great alternative to tea or coffee. A fine choice if you’re looking for an absolutely delicious tea in a more relaxed time of the day.
Some drinking occasions to try:
- After dinner as your father-in-law tells you how he would have laid the decking in your garden better than you did.
- While you sit through a 5pm Zoom meeting that you don’t have to present in.
- As you watch a past-his-prime television presenter journey down a canal system.
Can I drink rooibos if I’m pregnant?
Yes, Rooibos tea is generally considered safe to drink during pregnancy.
It’s naturally caffeine-free, making it a great alternative to caffeinated tea and coffee. It may have potential health benefits for both the mother and baby, such as reducing inflammation and improving cardiovascular health as we discussed earlier.
I’m sure you don’t need us to tell you but it’s always a good idea to check with your doctor or midwife before consuming any new foods or drinks during pregnancy.
Can drinking rooibos tea cause side effects?
Rooibos tea is generally considered safe and is not associated with any serious side effects.
However, some people may take things to unusual extremes and drink excessive amounts of rooibos tea in a bizarre attempt to undo their unhealthy habits.
Like any other food or drink, it may cause mild side effects in some people, such as digestive discomfort, headaches, and allergic reactions.
In researching this post we came across some studies that have suggested Rooibos tea may interfere with the absorption of certain minerals, such as iron and calcium, although more research is needed to fully understand the potential effects.
What is green rooibos?
Green Rooibos is a type of Rooibos tea that is unfermented, which means it has not undergone the oxidation process that gives traditional Rooibos tea its distinctive reddish-brown colour and flavour. As a result, Green Rooibos has a milder, more delicate flavour and a greenish-yellow colour.
Unfortunately we don't stock Green Rooibos at this time but it is on the new product long list so watch this space.
Where can I buy rooibos tea?
We would like to think that if you're this far down our blog post by now, you would consider buying some Chanui Rooibos, but we also aim to arm you with as much Rooibos information as possible!
You'll be happy to hear that Rooibos tea is widely available in UK and NZ supermarkets, both in-store and online.
In New Zealand, Countdown, New World, and Pak'nSave carry Rooibos tea in their tea and coffee sections. You can also find loose leaf in health food stores like Health 2000 and Huckleberry.
In the UK, Sainsbury's, Tesco, Waitrose, and Morrisons carry Rooibos tea, but you'll want to go to the bigger shops as it might not be available in Expresses, Locals, Metros, etc. You can also find it in specialist health food shops like Holland and Barrett.
In researching our competitors, our favourites (other than Chanui, obviously) are made by Clipper and Tick Tock (not that one).
Give it a try!
Rooibos (not technically) Tea is a caffeine-free, pregnancy-safe sipper.
If you haven’t already, you should give it a try the next time you’ve clocked off for the day and are looking to unwind with something that is likely pretty good for you!