Rooibos excellent source of antioxidants

Excellent source of antioxidants

Rooibos “red bush” is a broom-like member of the legume family of plants growing in South Africa’s fynbos.

The generic name comes from the plant Calicotome villosa, aspalathos in Greek. This plant has very similar growth and flowers to the redbush. The specific name linearis comes from the plant’s linear growing structure and needle-like leaves.

The plant is used to make a herbal tea called rooibos tea, bush tea (esp. Southern Africa), redbush tea (esp. UK), South African red tea, or red tea. The product has been popular in Southern Africa for generations and is now consumed in many countries. It is sometimes spelled rooibosch in accordance with the old Dutch etymology.


Rooibos tea is known to be an excellent source of antioxidants and has comparable amounts of polyphenols to those found in green tea. The 'Red Bush' Tea as it's also known contains a unique antioxidant called aspalathin which in recent animal studies has been suggested to have a beneficial effect in the treatment of type 2 diabetes.

First human trials suggest real health benefits

A trial looking at the benefits of Rooibos tea in humans was recently reported by the American Botanical Council. The trial (entitled "Modulation of blood oxidative stress markers and DNA damage by rooibos tea in volunteers at risk for coronary heart disease") showed in preliminary results that Rooibos tea protected the body against oxidative damage. This kind of damage plays a significant role in cardiovascular disease. The trial was conducted by Jeanine L. Marnewick (PhD), senior researcher at the Oxidative Stress Research Centre at Cape Peninsula University of Technology in Cape Town, South Africa.

Drinking Rooibos tea regularly shows positive results relevant to cardiovascular disease

"With cardiovascular disease being the biggest killer of people in North America and elsewhere in the world, this study's preliminary positive results may help increase the relevance of rooibos as a beneficial beverage for consumers and healthcare providers seeking safe, low-cost ways to reduce cardiovascular disease risk," Mark Blumenthal, founder and executive director of the American Botanical Council

Anecdotal evidence was taken from years of drinking Rooibos tea

In addition to the cardiovascular benefits, anecdotal evidence also suggests that Rooibos tea

  • acts as a digestive aid and anti-spasmodic
  • can helps manage allergies
  • soothes skin irritations when applied directly to the affected area
  • help boosts the immune system
  • will help relieve anxiety and stress, aiding sleep.
  • low tannin levels make rooibos tea ideal during and after pregnancy
  • with low tannin content of only 1%-4% Rooibos tea does not inhibit the absorption of iron in the way that some teas, like black tea, do and is therefore ideal during pregnancy.
  • Rooibos is free from caffeine, colorant, additives, and preservatives

Combine that with the facts that Rooibos does not contain any caffeine, colorants, additives or preservatives and is virtually calorie free it makes for an extremely healthy tea either on its own or when combined with other ingredients.