Rooibos

Rooibos (pronounced Roy-boss), botanical name Aspalathus linearis, is clearly gaining popularity in the U.S. due in part to all the hype surrounding the South African herb. I personally get a lot of questions about Rooibos and the various benefits it delivers. Like everyone else, I can get drawn up in the hype so I decided to do an in-depth look at exactly what we do and do not know about Rooibos. Here is what I found;

History & Trends

Rooibos has a 300 year history. The first botanical reference recorded in 1772.
Rooibos is found only on the southwest coast of South Africa in the Cedarburg Mountain region of the Western Cape.
Unlike other herbs, Rooibos is available in non-oxidize and oxidized forms (think green tea, non-oxidized vs. black tea, oxidized). (What is oxidation?)
The most commonly consumed type of Rooibos is the dark or oxidized version.
Rooibos is refreshing, never bitter and can be served hot or cold.
Rooibos is a great addition to recipes. (Rooibos recipes)
Rooibos is naturally sweet and is calorie free.

Dispelling the Myths

Rooibos does not have 50 times the antioxidant benefit of green tea, it does not even have as much.
Rooibos does not contain any vitamin C.
Rooibos does not aid weight loss.

Antioxidants fight off free radicals which damage the DNA in our cells making us more prone to diseases like cancer, cardiovascular disease and stroke just to name a few. Antioxidants have the ability to bind to these free radicals before they can do damage, making them an important element to good health. Rooibos is a great source of powerful and plentiful antioxidant benefit.

Health Facts

Rooibos is all natural and contains no additives, preservatives or colorants.
Rooibos is naturally free of caffeine and makes a terrific beverage for anyone avoiding caffeine late in the day or all together.
The soothing effect that Rooibos seems to have on the central nervous system may make it an effective sleep aid.
While Rooibos is high in antioxidants it is not as high as green and black teas.
The antioxidants in Rooibos are also different than those found in green and black teas.
Additionally Rooibos is high in polyphenol content, another type of antioxidant.
Rooibos has itís own properties, one is a specific flavonoid that is found only in Rooibos called aspalathin.
Of the 10 identified antioxidants present in Rooibos aspalathin is one of three that are found in the greatest quantities.
Green Rooibos or the non-oxidized version has more antioxidant benefit than the more popular oxidized version.
Rooibos contains numerous nutrients.
Rooibos has been successfully used to treat the symptoms of colic in infants.
Rooibos can relieve stomach and digestive disorders such as nausea, vomiting, heartburn, cramps and constipation in adults.
Rooibos has shown promise in alleviating the symptoms of psoriases and aiding in the treatment of acne and aging when used topically and I predict it will be the next big thing in beauty products.

So what is the bottom line? If you like Rooibos, drink it. It taste great, is inexpensive, has no caffeine or calories and is certainly beneficial to your health. If your adventurous, have fun with recipes we have linked to this article.

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Beth Johnston, a tea importer and noted tea expert, publishes an informative monthly newsletter on tea, tea history, health and lifestyle enhancements. To learn more about the world of tea, join her free newsletter at http://www.TeasEtc.com/Newsletter.asp or visit http://www.TeasEtc.com.

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