Green tea is widely sworn upon as a superfood, and while it deserves this status for its many health benefits, we want to remind everyone about the equally amazing superfood that is African Red Bush Tea - also known as Rooibos.
Rooibos is a tea made from the dried and fermented leaves of the Aspalathus linearis plant. Native to South Africa, the tea is grown mainly in the mountainous areas of the Western Cape, and the name 'Rooibos' means 'red bush' in Afrikaans.
Benefits of rooibos tea
Red bush tea is one of the few foods that contain alpha hydroxy acid, which is one of the main ingredients that dermatologists use in their anti-aging treatments. It also contains superoxide dismutase, an enzyme that helps produce healthy skin cells. Both of these compounds may help to reduce wrinkles and keep skin looking fresh and youthful.
Rooibos works as a bronchodilator, helping to relieve the wheezing and coughing caused by allergic rhinitis and asthma.
As rooibos contains quercetin, it can also help to prevent allergies in from being triggered. This flavonoid works like an anti-histamine, blocking the mast cells which are responsible for releasing histamines, and thus preventing the start of an allergic reaction.
Along with minerals such as calcium, manganese and fluoride which all help to maintain strong and healthy bones, Rooibos also contains luteolin and orientin, two flavonoids which hae been found to increase the mineral content in bones.
As well as helping with the prevention of allergic reactions, the flavonoid quercetin, along with several others (such as orientin and vitexin) is an anti-spasmodic that can help to relieve digestive distress. These compounds help to relax the digestive system and relieve feelings of discomfort.
Rooibos has anti-inflammatory properties, meaning it helps to calm inflammation and reduce aches and pains. It's anti-spasmodic compounds alleviate pain from cramping by activation potassium ions, while it's vitamin C content helps the body repair collagen and connective tissue in the joints.
Some studies have found that the polyphenols in Rooibos may help to prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes. The polyphenol Aspalathin works to increase glucose uptake and suppress the fasting glucose levels that can lead to blood sugar spikes. Studies in mice have shown that those given aspalathin had lower levels of expression in genes that have been connected to hereditary risks of diabetes.
The same flavonoid (chrysoeriol) that makes rooibos a bronchodilator is also effective at lowering blood pressure and increasing circulation. In addition, the high antioxidant content in rooibos helps to lower the bad cholesterol levels in blood, making for a healthier cardiovascular system.
Impressed yet? If you're still not sold on this superfood, it is also caffeine-free, available in both red (oxidised) and green (non-oxidised) varieties, and it tastes great. We suggest giving it a try, and we're sure you'll love it as much as we do!