Have You Heard of Rooibos?

Have You Heard of Rooibos?

Rooibos tea, also called red tea, is in fact not a tea at all.

This herbal from South Africa is brewed like tea, and tastes similar, but comes from an entirely different plant. This low, grassy shrub is totally caffeine free, and has been making headlines lately for being unusually healthy. The name, by the way, is pronounced Roy-boss. Feel free to practice saying it in your own home. We have a lot of requests for Reebus tea, Ryebus tea, and especially Rubious tea. We understand what you mean, but if you want to impress your friends with how much you know about tea, correct pronunciation is key.

The History of Rooibos.

This tea was traditionally consumed in South Africa, by the Khoisan tribe (whose other claim to fame is a language heavily featuring clicking noises).  When the British colonized South Africa, they were amazed to find the locals enjoying a drink similar to their own tea.  Due to the fact that rooibos was native to the area, and tea plants had a bit of a hard time growing there, European colonists adopted rooibos tea.  During WWII, when Japan and China both became unreliable sources of tea, South Africa began to export it’s rooibos, to fill in the gap.

In 1968, a woman named Annique Theron found that rooibos was immensely helpful for her child, who suffered from terrible colic.  It should be noted that South African mothers had already been doing this for centuries, but Annique was the first person to ever write a book about it.  While even less solid research has been done into verifying the health benefits of rooibos that has been done into camellia sinensis (the plant that true tea comes from), it has since made waves as an anti-aging miracle, natural anti-inflammatory, and a cure for liver damage.  

Health benefits.

While rooibos is a severely under-studied herb, we do know a few things for certain about it.


chamomile loose tea

Good for liver damage?

 In one study (conducted on rats, and not people), rooibos tea helped prevent liver 

rooibos may have prevented liver damage in ratsdamage. These rats were treated with a chemical that caused massive liver damage. Some rats were given rooibos, and some rats were not. The livers of the rats given rooibos tea tended to be less damaged at the end of the study than the rats who were not. While you may not be a rat being fed CCl₄, this information may still ring as somehow applicable. If you’re feeling up to a little bio-chemistry today, that study can be found here: http://www.biomed.cas.cz/physiolres/pdf/52/52_461.pdf

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This tea is high in fluoride and calcium

I meant to make a joke about the government controlling our minds by putting fluoride in the water supply, but it’s a slow Wednesday afternoon, and I just wasn’t feeling it. Know, however, that when you share this tea with your friends, and are talking about how much you know about it, that all of the elements for a great joke about conspiracy theories are here, just waiting to be processed into a joke. 

It’s a natural anti-inflammatory

I have a friend with jaw pain from an old injury, and I myself tend to get headaches. Both of us drink rooibos for it. Rooibos contains quercetin, a natural anti-inflammatory. It’s a little like if aspirin were a delicious, warm cup of tea, rather than a pill that’s hard on your liver. Don’t listen to me, though. I’m just a blogger on the internet. Listen to these nice folks at the University of Maryland, instead: http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/quercetin 

It’s deliciouschocolate mint rooibos loose tea

Rooibos is low in tannins. Tannins are what make tea bitter. Rooibos also has a subtle, earthy flavor which can easily be flavored in a variety of ways. My personal favorite is Caramel Rooibos, a subtly sweet tea. The same plant, however, can be made into the fruity African Autumn, the the spiced Chai Rooibos, or Chocolate Mint Rooibos, which tastes remarkably like a thin mint cookie. bourbon street vanilla rooibos

Enjoy Rooibos, Tell us in the Comments below. Ever been to South Africa? Tell us about the Rooibos you drank there. Thanks

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  • I have just been prescribed 75mg low dose aspirin and there are so many herbal teas that I can no longer drink. I am at a loss as a herbal tea drinker. So can I drink rooibos tea?please advise me. M.Y.A

    M.Y.Asante on
  • Hey! South African who loves rooibos here. I came here through route of looking up why rooibos “isn’t technically tea”, as my friend likes to point out. Interesting article! My favourite tea in the world is Chai Rooibos, so to anyone who sees this and is considering buying some, I’d highly recommend trying that. The hot cinnamon one sounds delicious too though, I can imagine it’d be really good.

    Tiaan on

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