In 2016, rooibos was touted as one of Time magazine’s “Top 50 Healthiest Foods of All Time”. Even though it has been a favorite among South Africans for decades, it is now consumed the world over. The tea has a deep-reddish color, with a taste and flavor somewhere between hibiscus tea and yerba mate. But when it comes to health benefits, there’s good reason why this tea takes center stage!
It’s caffeine free
This is likely the number one reason why it is so popular. Unlike black, white, and green teas, which contain small amounts of caffeine, rooibos is 100% caffeine free. This means that even those who are caffeine-sensitive can consume it. Moreover, it also means that you can give it to your kids as a healthy beverage, and you can even drink it as a night-time beverage!
Low in tannins
Tannins are present in high levels in both black and green teas. Black teas specifically can have up to 15% tannin, while rooibos has less than 5%. Besides being responsible for the astringent taste in black and green teas, tannins inhibit iron absorption. Thus, due to the low levels of tannins in rooibos tea, you don’t need to worry about it affecting your absorption. Rooibos tea is not as astringent as other teas, so you can even enjoy it without milk or sugar, thereby increasing its health benefits!
High in antioxidants
After years of research, the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA) has officially recognized rooibos as ‘a source of chemicals that can prevent cancer in both humans and animals’. According to studies, rooibos contains powerful antioxidants that fight free radicals linked to heart disease and certain cancers.
The flavonoids in rooibos tea is said to be effective for reducing anxiety, relieving cramps, reducing inflammation, and even for relieving asthma and certain allergies. This soothing property has long been known among South Africans who often use it to pacify colicky babies.
Rooibos tea is delicious on its own, but if you want you can enjoy it with a slice of lemon, a dash of honey, and even a bit of ginger.