Recently, a new type of tea has been capturing the fancy of tea lovers everywhere. The ruby-coloured beverage is aptly called rooibos (pronounced roy-bos) tea, also known by its scientific name Aspalathus linearis. The term rooibos is derived from the word for "red bush" in Afrikaans and the plant belongs to the Fabaceae family native to South Africa. Despite being categorised as tea, the "leaves" of rooibos tea don't look anything like your regular tea leaves. But has the same kind of antioxidant powers like Camellia sinensis. If you are wonder whether or not to give it a try, here are some healthy reasons why you should.
1. It's full of antioxidants
Like your everyday cup of hot chai, rooibos also packs an antioxidant punch. It helps beat oxidative stress, inflammation, cancers and neurodegenerative diseases that can thrive due to free radical damage. A cup of this ruddy beverage contains a good amount of quercetin, an anti-inflammatory flavonoid which keeps the body in a good shape.1
Rooibos is one of the best teas you could have to improve heart health. It has a great antioxidant profile with its rich reserves of unique polyphenolic compounds that are good for the heart. Many studies point towards its various cardioprotective qualities such as improving blood supply to the heart.2
3. It can reduce cancer risk
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Since rooibos is teeming with antioxidants, regular consumption helps in lowering free radical damage to the body, thereby reducing cancer risks. The quercetin and luteolin content in rooibos can also kill cancer cells and inhibit tumour growth.3
4. It can treat diabetes
Free radical scavenging qualities of rooibos tea also seems to benefit those with diabetes or diabetes risk. The extract of the tea has been proven to inhibit the progression of the disease and prevent the onset of diabetes. The aspalathin content in the tea is known to have an anti-diabetic effect.4
5. It can strengthen bones
While tea consumption has been held responsible for osteoporosis risk, rooibos tea is said to have the opposite effect on bone health. Studies say that rooibos tea helps in boosting the production of osteoblasts, cells that secrete the substance required for bone formation.5
6. It helps you lose weight
A study says that rooibos contains a rich reserve of polyphenols, including flavonoids, which can combat obesity through its anti-adipose properties. Apart from that, the tea also works by increasing leptin secretion that helps achieve satiety after meals.6
7. Can combat allergies
Quercetin, the antioxidant present in rooibos tea, gives the tea anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and anti-allergic qualities. According to a study, quercetin can work as well as certain anti-allergic medications.7
1.Hong, I.-S., Lee, H.-Y., & Kim, H.-P. (2014). Anti-Oxidative Effects of Rooibos Tea (Aspalathus linearis) on Immobilization-Induced Oxidative Stress in Rat Brain. PLoS ONE, 9(1), e87061. http://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0087061
2. Pantsi, W. G., Marnewick, J. L., Esterhuyse, A. J., Rautenbach, F., & Van Rooyen, J. (2011). Rooibos (Aspalathus linearis) offers cardiac protection against ischaemia/reperfusion in the isolated perfused rat heart. Phytomedicine, 18(14), 1220-1228.
3. Lee, L. T., Huang, Y. T., Hwang, J. J., Lee, P. P., Ke, F. C., Nair, M. P., ... & Lee, M. T. (2002). Blockade of the epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase activity by quercetin and luteolin leads to growth inhibition and apoptosis of pancreatic tumor cells. Anticancer research, 22(3), 1615-1627.
4. Kawano, A., Nakamura, H., Hata, S. I., Minakawa, M., Miura, Y., & Yagasaki, K. (2009). Hypoglycemic effect of aspalathin, a rooibos tea component from Aspalathus linearis, in type 2 diabetic model db/db mice. Phytomedicine, 16(5), 437-443.
5. Nash, L. A., & Ward, W. E. (2016). Comparison of black, green and rooibos tea on osteoblast activity. Food & function, 7(2), 1166-1175.
6. Sanderson, M., Mazibuko, S. E., Joubert, E., de Beer, D., Johnson, R., Pheiffer, C., ... & Muller, C. J. (2014). Effects of fermented rooibos (Aspalathus linearis) on adipocyte differentiation. Phytomedicine, 21(2), 109-117.
7. Chirumbolo, S. (2011). Quercetin as a potential anti-allergic drug: which perspectives?. Iranian Journal of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, 10(2), 139-140.