If you’ve ever tried to quit caffeine, then you know how hard it is to let go of your favorite black tea blends like earl grey, peach tea, and green jasmine tea.
Before you mess up your mascara, we have some good news. Rooibos is a fairly new tea on the market that can recreate caffeine-free versions of all your favorite blends. But what is rooibos, exactly? Read on for the lowdown and eight reasons why you should seriously try this tea.
Sips by is a personalized tea discovery subscription. Each month, we match tea drinkers across the U.S. with delicious teas from over 150 global tea brands that we’re sure they’ll love. Members receive 4 teas chosen just for them in every box. Learn more about our tea subscription service.
Get to Know Rooibos
Before we get into what makes rooibos tea so amazing, let’s do a little introduction. What is this smooth, nutty wonder? We’ll spill the tea.
What Is Rooibos Tea?
If you’ve found yourself in the tea aisle of your local grocery store recently, you’ve probably noticed rooibos tea. Interestingly, rooibos tea is not considered true tea because it is not made from the Camellia sinensis tea plant. Instead, rooibos is made from the leaves of the aspalathus linearis plant.
While true tea plants are native to China and India, the rooibos plant is native to South Africa. Also called red bush tea, rooibos has a few key differences from “true” teas such as black tea and green tea.
Rooibos lacks caffeine and L-theanine, an amino acid that is found in true tea. Rooibos is also sweeter in taste and is a bit lighter since it is technically an herbal blend.
Red Rooibos vs. Green Rooibos
Within rooibos tea, there are two options you can choose from: red rooibos tea and green rooibos tea. Red rooibos tea is the traditional variety and is made by beating the freshly harvested rooibos leaves and letting them ferment in the sun. This is what gives rooibos its signature red color.
However, green rooibos tea is a more recent tea development. Green rooibos is made by harvesting the leaves and immediately fermenting them. Because the leaves are not bruised, they do not develop a red color.
Tea manufacturers developed green rooibos as a way to preserve more antioxidants and healthy benefits found in traditional rooibos. Without the leaf bruising, green rooibos is much higher in antioxidants.
If you haven’t seen green rooibos before, we promise we aren’t making it up – it’s just incredibly rare to find since it’s such a new development. Luckily, we have a growing selection of green rooibos tea for you to try.
8 Health Benefits of Rooibos Tea
If you’ve never heard of rooibos tea before, we’ve got you covered. Here are eight reasons rooibos deserves a spot in your tea drawer.
Picture this: you come home from a long day out and heat up yesterday’s takeout. It’s delicious, but about fifteen minutes after eating, you feel them – the stomach cramps.
There are a lot of reasons you might experience discomfort during digestion, but one of the most common is muscle spasms. Your digestive muscles can contract pretty forcefully when digesting something your body disagrees with.
Rooibos can help ease some of that discomfort by calming those muscle spasms and promoting relaxation. This effect is due to rooibos’ powerful antioxidants.
The tannins in rooibos can also help keep your digestive process smooth and steady. The rooibos-specific tannins may also help ease other signs of stomach upset.
As if all of that wasn’t enough, rooibos tea is full of vitamins and minerals that can help support your immune system. The effect may not be significant, but every little bit helps!
The human metabolism is just one of those things that can really cause some issues if it’s out of whack. There are a lot of ways your metabolism can be unbalanced, but one of them is unbalanced blood glucose.
Rooibos tea can help balance blood sugar levels so that your metabolism can work as smoothly as it’s supposed to. Specifically, a polyphenol called aspalathin can help keep glucose at an even level, especially for anyone whose body displays insulin resistance and struggles with weight management.
When your metabolism is running as it should, then you might notice elevated energy levels. This is just because your body isn’t quite so bogged down.
Supports a Healthy Heart
Rooibos tea has a special trick up its sleeve to support your heart health: a flavonoid called chrysoeriol. This flavonoid can help maintain healthy blood pressure levels and keep your circulation steady.
Rooibos can also help keep your blood vessels healthy by maintaining healthy LDL cholesterol levels. By doing so, rooibos helps lower your risk of heart disease.
This South African tea can also lower your risk of cardiovascular disease by maintaining healthy hormone levels. Animal studies show that some compounds in rooibos tea can act similar to estrogen once they are metabolized. We need more research to know what this means, but in the meantime, those who are sensitive to hormones may want to stick to other herbal teas.
Provides Antioxidants Galore
Like its black tea and green tea cousins, rooibos tea contains an impressive array of antioxidants. Rooibos shares some polyphenols with true tea, such as catechins and flavonoids.
However, rooibos actually contains some unique antioxidants, which include aspalathin, quercetin, and luteolin. Rooibos is the only tea that contains these antioxidants. Rooibos also contains nothofagin, which is an incredibly rare antioxidant only found in two other plants around the world.
Antioxidants are important because they target free radicals. Free radicals are unstable atoms that can cause serious damage if they aren’t neutralized quickly. Antioxidants find and neutralize these free radicals so that you can stay healthy and strong.
Aids Glowing Skin
We love a good multi-purpose tea, and rooibos tea is no exception. Whether you drink rooibos tea in a cup or wear it as a face mask, you might be surprised at the beauty benefits of this African tea.
Rooibos tea contains notable levels of copper, which helps to promote healthy hair. This drink also contains zinc, calcium, and potassium, all of which also help keep your hair shiny and strong. Before you start soaking your hair in rooibos tea, you should know that you’ll need to drink your rooibos to help reap these benefits.
A cup of rooibos tea can also help your skin feel smoother and look brighter. Rooibos contains natural alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs), which are well known in the skincare industry for providing natural exfoliation.
In fact, AHAs can even help revitalize dull skin by clearing away dead skin cells. AHAs are also known for smoothening the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and other signs of premature aging. Working alongside these AHAs is the enzyme superoxide dismutase, which helps to keep your skin smoother for longer.
You can get these effects by drinking rooibos or by simply placing the tea on your skin. Next time you have friends over, take everyone by surprise and suggest a rooibos tea face mask!
Boosts Bone Health
Another one of rooibos’ beneficial effects is its ability to support your bones. It’s strange to think that just one little cup of tea can support your skeleton, but it’s true.
Rooibos tea contains trace amounts of manganese, magnesium, calcium, and fluoride, which can help keep your bones strong. Aside from maintaining current bone structure, these minerals can actually add support to even your weaker bones.
It’s true that rooibos isn’t special for having these minerals; in fact, many teas can help strengthen your bones. However, rooibos tea contains unique flavonoids that can actually help your bones retain more minerals.
Tastes Sweet and Smooth
If you don’t like black tea or red wine, then what you’re really reacting to are the tannins. Tannins are components of many plant-based drinks such as true tea, coffee, and wine, and can even be found in chocolate.
Not only are tannins bitter, but they can also make your mouth feel a little dry as you’re drinking them. Plants evolved tannins as a way to keep from being eaten, so we can’t really blame them – the tannins are just doing their job.
Some people enjoy the taste of tannins, while others prefer to stay away. If your taste buds fall into the latter category, then rooibos may be a wonderful fit for you.
This low tannin content is what makes rooibos tea taste so sweet and smooth. It’s a lovely tea for when you’re winding down your evening – just try it, and you’ll see what we mean.
Provides Caffeine-Free Fun
Perhaps one of the most popular benefits of rooibos is that this tea is caffeine-free. This is because true teas such as black and green tea are made from the Camellia sinensis plant, which naturally contains caffeine. However, rooibos comes from an entirely different plant that does not produce caffeine.
This means that rooibos is wonderful for anyone trying to cut caffeine or for anyone who may be more sensitive to caffeine. You can also enjoy rooibos at any time of day! One of our favorite ways to enjoy a cup of rooibos is by watching the sunset in the evening or by winding down for bed with a good book and a cuppa.
Because it’s free from caffeine, rooibos is often used as a base for caffeine-free versions of true tea. One of our favorite examples of this is our Rooibos Earl Grey tea, which mixes the taste of earl grey with the caffeine level of rooibos – which is nonexistent.
If you’re wondering about side effects, then let us ease your worries. While you should always check with your doctor before drinking tea while actively taking prescription medications, rooibos tea is safe for many tea drinkers.
How Can I Enjoy Rooibos Tea?
Rooibos is not only full of health benefits – it’s also delicious! Here are some tips on how to enjoy a good cup of rooibos.
First, you’ll need to pick out your rooibos. Even though it comes from one plant, there are countless herbal variations that each have unique tastes and benefits. For inspiration, check out our favorite rooibos tea blends.
You can drink rooibos the traditional way by steeping loose-leaf tea leaves or a pre-made tea bag in boiling water for a few minutes, then pouring your tea into a cup. We recommend pairing hot rooibos with a cinnamon scone or a decadent slice of apple pie.
You can also drink rooibos iced tea. To make iced rooibos tea, simply let your hot tea cool and pour it over ice. If you want to enjoy iced rooibos as soon as possible, just brew your rooibos extra strong and pour the hot tea over ice.
Although it hasn’t been around for as long as other types of tea, rooibos has made its mark and it’s here to stay. Originally from South Africa, rooibos can now be enjoyed all over the world in many shapes, tastes, and sizes.
Aside from being delicious and incredibly versatile, rooibos tea can also provide some benefits. From boosting your metabolism to giving you an all-natural glow-up, rooibos tea really does it all!
Rooibos Tea Shop
Explore the best rooibos teas as rated by Sips by's 750,000 tea-loving Members. Savor the sweet and nutty flavors of these naturally caffeine-free rooibos teas with natural notes of honey, vanilla, and caramel. Try pure organic rooibos blends mixed with apple, chocolate, berry fruit flavors, and more. Find loose leaf rooibos tea, rooibos sachets, and bagged rooibos tea from the best tea brands around the world. Discover your new favorite rooibos tea today!
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About Sips by: We’re a female-founded and led startup that makes discovering tea fun, personalized, and affordable. The Sips by Box is the only multi-brand, personalized tea subscription box. Each month, we match tea drinkers across the U.S. with delicious teas from over 150 global tea brands that we’re sure they’ll love. Based out of Austin, Texas, we are adept at savoring a hot mug even when it’s seasonally inappropriate.
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.