HEALTH: Find Out Why Experts Recommend Rooibos For Better Health….


The month of February is recognised as National Healthy Lifestyles Awareness Month which aims to educate South Africans about how healthy living could avert the growing number of diseases of lifestyle, such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer, which combined claims the lives of more than 276 142 people (or 60% of all deaths) annually in our country.


In addition to regular physical activity and a healthy diet, scientists are recognising the importance of certain food chemicals called phenolic compounds that can reduce one’s risk of developing these diseases. Rooibos tea is a good source of these health promoting phenolic compounds.


Prof Christo Muller, Chief Specialist Scientist at the SA Medical Research Council says Rooibos alone isn’t a silver bullet, but has the potential to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in the body, which is the root cause of many of these diseases.


Oxidative stress occurs when our bodies uses the oxygen that we breathe in to produce energy. Through this process free radicals are produced which can cause damage to cells and ultimately disease. Antioxidants interact with free radicals before they can cause any harm. The more antioxidant-rich our diet, the less our susceptibility to disease and premature aging.


Rooibos contains polyphenols, which are considered an important source of antioxidants in a diet. Polyphenols have anti-inflammatory properties that are good for your brain, heart and gut health and are commonly found in plants and herbs. Polyphenols are further divided into sub-groups that include flavonoids. Research has confirmed that Rooibos contains an abundance of these potent free radical scavengers that help protect the body from oxidative stress and thus disease.


The polyphenols identified in Rooibos tea include aspalathin, nothofagin, quercetin, rutin, isoquercitrin, orientin, isoorientin, luteolin, vitexin, isovitexin and chrysoeriol. To date, aspalathin has only been found in Rooibos and isn’t present in any other food or beverage, which makes the tea so unique. Aspalathin has been found to help protect against cardiovascular disease, often as a result of diabetes – a condition which affects one in 14 South Africans between the ages of 21 and 79,” says Muller.


For optimal health benefits, Muller recommends drinking between five and six cups of Rooibos tea staggered throughout the day. Alternatively, put a jug of freshly made cooled rooibos tea in the fridge or pour the iced tea into a sports bottle to ensure you get your daily dose.


rooibos tea leaves
Rooibos tea and leaves


Here’s how Rooibos tea can benefit you:

Keeps high blood pressure in check

Rooibos tea is known as a bronchodilator, which not only relieves respiratory conditions, but generally reduces high blood pressure, which can cause dangerous cardiovascular diseases.

Improves heart health

Quercetin, another powerful antioxidant found in Rooibos tea, has been linked to the prevention of a wide variety of heart conditions. It promotes HDL – good cholesterol and inhibits the LDL – bad cholesterol from adhering to the walls of arteries and blood vessels. This means added protection against various heart conditions, including arteriosclerosis, heart attacks and strokes.

Reduces risk of diabetes

Preclinical research demonstrates that aspalathin in Rooibos helps to balance blood sugar, reduce insulin resistance and increase glucose absorption by the muscles. Aspalathin also boosts the insulin production in the pancreas. This acts as a defensive shield against the development of type 2 Diabetes – one of the most widespread and dangerous medical conditions in the world.

Lowers your risk of cancer

Research at the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC), found that both green (unfermented) and traditional (fermented) Rooibos, significantly inhibits the growth of cancer cells, (green more so than red). The flavonoids found in Rooibos tea are known for fighting and preventing cancer.

Boosts immunity

Another rare antioxidant found in rooibos is nothofagin, which helps to improve the immune system and is said to reduce Alzheimer’s disease as well.

Builds and repairs muscle tissue

Not only does Rooibos’ free-radical fighting antioxidants help you look and feel younger by slowing down the aging process, but these also assist with improved recovery after exercise, which means more lean muscle and less fat on your body in the long run.

Improves gut health

Rooibos tea also acts as an anti-spasmodic agent, which reduces stomach cramps and diarrhea.


For more info on the health benefits of Rooibos, visit


Image source: supplied

About Author


Thuli Gogela is a Food Technologist with 8 years of experience developing products in food manufacturing. She is dedicated to discovering wholesome traditional dishes and recipes with a distinctive taste from different parts of the African continent. Thuli is well known for her food blog, Mzansi Style Cuisine which was established in 2010. She saw a gap in the traditional food market that people were hungry for. From there, it didn’t take long to build her brand. In 2013, she started writing a recipe column for the Cape Times for and has collaborated with some of the biggest brands in South Africa namely, Knorr, Nedeburg Wines, First Choice and Spekko rice. Not only does Thuli feature traditional African dishes, she’s also open to developing recipes, food consultations and brand collaborations.

Comment ( 1 )

  • L. Annandale

    Just sad that rooibos doesn’t taste and smell like it did years ago. Got to use 2 teabags for 1 cup of tea if I want to taste something. Believe it is because the plants have to be steamed before packing. Really miss the rooibos taste.

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