24 Possible Benefits Of Rooibos Tea For Your Health

From the land of the wild, South Africa, comes an unassuming, yet salutary herbal tea, made from the stems and leaves of the rooibos plant, also known as the red bush. Conventionally, rooibos is a legume, but people commonly consume it in the form of tea. Though initially popular only in South Africa, the demand for rooibos tea is increasing immensely in other parts of the globe with every passing day, owing to its pleasant taste, distinctive flavor, and copious health benefits.

1.  It May Aid Weight Loss

The flavonoids in tea were found to tinker with fat cells in a way that prevents obesity (1).


2. May Benefit Infants

Rooibos tea is known to treat a number of ailments related to infants – like colic, stomach cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting. The tea, being naturally high in vitamin C and antioxidants, can fight diseases caused by free radicals (2).

Rooibos tea is also low in tannins that, otherwise, can interfere with your baby’s digestive functionalities. However, remember that rooibos tea is just a supplementation and not an alternative to breast milk. Always consult with your child’s pediatrician before giving your child any kind of herbal tea.


3. May Help Improve Skin Health

Rooibos tea, being rich in alpha hydroxyl acid and zinc, can play a pivotal role in maintaining skin health (3). Applying this tea to your skin can revitalize it and give it a natural glow. The tea can also help heal wounds and offer protection against the harmful UV rays of the sun.

Have you ever considered rooibos tea for acne? When it comes to acne, rooibos tea can do wonders. Acne can be a nightmare, can’t it? Even when it heals, it leaves its mark(s) behind. Rooibos tea, when applied topically, helps to treat and reduce the acne scars. The tea’s high antioxidant content increases blood flow to the skin, thereby speeding the healing process. Its anti-inflammatory properties also help in soothing inflamed skin.

You might as well stop worrying about sunburns when you have rooibos tea ready in your kitchen. Yes, basking in the sun does feel great at times, but it can also be one of the worst things you can do to your skin. Too much exposure to the sun can make you susceptible to sunburns and even skin cancer. Rooibos tea, when applied topically, helps in soothing inflamed skin caused due to sunburn, eczema, or acne (4).

Warning: Please consult a dermatologist before using this tea on your skin.


4. May improve Hair Health

Rooibos tea aids hair growth and fortifies hair fibers as it is packed with essential minerals like zinc, copper, calcium, and potassium. The active ingredients present in rooibos tea prevent dead skin cells from clogging up the hair follicles, thereby enhancing hair growth. The anti-inflammatory properties of rooibos tea also provide respite from the itchiness caused by dandruff.


5. May Improve Sleep

Rooibos has mild sedative properties that can help you sleep. It also is found to have a relaxing and calming effect on the mind, which can help one have restful and deeper sleep.(5)



6. May Improve Digestive Health

Troubled by an upset tummy every other day? Maybe you need to sip a cup of rooibos tea daily! Rooibos tea has anti-spasmodic effects that help soothe the gastrointestinal tract and counter common digestive problems like acidity, nausea, vomiting, and even colic in infants. Rooibos tea is also a great remedy for irritable bowel syndrome.


7. May Help Treat Diabetes

Studies performed on mice suggest that rooibos tea contains aspathalin, a powerful antioxidant. It is now known that it could have the potential to offer protection against diabetes in humans.

In one Japanese study, studies conducted on diabetic rats suggested that aspathalic has anti-diabetic properties (6). Another Japanese study had come up with similar findings with regard to type 2 diabetes as well (7).

In another Korean study, aspathalin and nothofagin, the two antioxidants present in rooibos tea, were found to have significant benefits in the treatment of diabetes (8).

The glucose-lowering effects of aspathalin in rooibos tea were also found in a South African study, proving the efficacy of the tea in aiding in the treatment of diabetes (9).


8. May Improve Fertility

Rooibos tea, amongst its counterparts, was found to offer the greatest protection for male fertility against oxidative stress. This was discovered in a South African study conducted in 2012 (10).

In another study, rooibos tea was found to prolong the fertility in Japanese quail hens, hinting at the possibility of a similar effect on humans as well (11).

Diabetes is known to affect the sperm quality. But in one South African study, rooibos tea was shown to have beneficial effects on the sperm quality in individuals suffering from diabetes (12). Owing to the presence of antioxidants, rooibos tea can also play a role in improving reproductive functions.


It must be noted that excessive consumption of rooibos tea can lead to structural changes in the male reproductive system, and might even harm the functioning of the kidneys and liver (13).


9. May Help Treat Allergies

Again, its antioxidants must be given the credit. In one Japanese study, the antioxidants in rooibos tea were found to enhance the production of antibodies in the body, which might ward off allergies (14).

In another Italian study, nothofagin, one of the main antioxidants present in rooibos tea, was found to have the ability to treat skin allergies (15).


10. Might Reduce The Risk Of Cancer In Humans

Rooibos tea has properties that can help reduce the risk of cancer. It has been found that for many centuries, the indigenous Bushmen of South Africa have sworn by the many healthful benefits of the tea. Research conducted has suggested that the tea has the potential to ward off cancer (16).

Rooibos is found to increase those enzymes in the body that help in detoxification, which eventually helps slow down DNA mutation.

The advantage rooibos tea has over other herbal teas (like green and black teas) is that it is free of caffeine. Hence, it has close to zero toxicity, thereby being a more effective form of chemoprevention.

According to a study conducted in Japan, rooibos tea has a large amount of flavonoids and acts as a potent antioxidant (17). Hence, it can offer protection against cancer. Another North American study has also come up with similar findings (18).

A study conducted by Nutrition and Cancer in 2011 discovered the cancer preventive ability of unfermented rooibos when it helped reduce the size of esophageal papilloma in rats.

This probable protective benefit of rooibos would be due to the counteractive activity of its flavonoid groups on cancer cells. Rooibos also contains antioxidants that might protect the body cells from oxidative damage and might lower the risk of cancer.


11. Might Help Treat Gout

Rooibos can lower the activity of xanthine oxidase in the body, which is responsible for converting purine to uric acid. Excessive buildup of uric acid can lead to gout.


12. Might Help Prevent Liver Diseases

Rooibos tea contains antioxidants that can protect your liver from damage. When consumed during the initial stages of a liver problem, it can even reverse the damage. A study conducted by Physiological Research on rats found that rooibos might act as a hepatoprotective agent (an agent that prevents liver damage) when included in the diets of patients suffering from liver disease (19).


13. May Aid In The Treatment Of Diarrhea

In a study conducted in Karachi, Pakistan, rooibos tea was found to have antispasmodic effects that can help treat abdominal spasms and diarrhea (20).

Rooibos tea also exhibits antiviral activity, and it might be helpful in treating diarrhea caused by rotavirus infection (21).


14. Helps Relieve Anxiety And Mental Stress

Rooibos tea also helps relieve nervous tension because of the presence of magnesium, zinc, and iron in it. These minerals help to create a systemic balance in the brain. The tea thus promotes improved functioning of the nervous system.

It is often prescribed as an antidepressant due to its nerve-calming benefits.

Stress is one of the biggest problems today and is responsible for a number of health issues like heart diseases, obesity, asthma, anxiety and gastrointestinal troubles. A study conducted by Stellenbosch University found that the aspalathin and nothofagin compounds in rooibos tea can help reduce anxiety and stress as they help lower the production of cortisol – the stress hormone (22).


15. May Help Prevent Kidney Stones In Humans

As per an article published in the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine alumni newsletter, 2007, rooibos tea is free of oxalic acid, which is one of the major causes of stone formation.

Another Indian study shows rooibos tea can have an inhibitory effect on kidney stones formation in rats, due to its antioxidant activity (23).


16. May Treat Menstrual Cramps

Rooibos tea has long been used for treating menstrual cramps in women. The Women’s Nutritional Advisory Service, an organization that helps women around the world to improve their health and well-being, recommends rooibos tea for treating menstrual cramps (24). The tea has also been found to treat the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome since it’s an antispasmodic and rich in iron and magnesium, helping the “smooth running of the female cycle.”


17. Counters Bronchial Allergies

Rooibos tea is also a natural bronchodilator, a substance that dilates the bronchi and bronchioles, thus improving the flow of air to the lungs and making it easier to breathe (25). Rooibos tea, therefore, helps counter the symptoms of asthma and reduces the severity of the condition.


18. Has Anti-Aging Effects

Drinking rooibos tea can help you stay young for long. The antioxidants present in rooibos tea prevent oxidative stress, one of the biggest causes of premature aging.

In one Thailand study, a topical formula containing tea and rooibos was found to show the best efficacy in reducing wrinkles (26).


19. May Help Regulate Blood Pressure Levels

In a Swedish study, rooibos tea was found to inhibit the activity of ACE (angiotensin converting enzyme), an enzyme that is known to constrict blood vessels and raise blood pressure levels (27).


20. May Help Treat Headaches

According to the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, rooibos tea is one effective herbal remedy for headache (28).

Headaches are generally caused due to muscle contractions in the face or head. Rooibos tea, owing to its relaxing properties, can make you less tense and more rested, thereby eliminating the chance of contracting a headache in the first place.


21. May Be A Good Remedy For Inflammation

As per one Japanese study, the flavonoids present in rooibos tea have antioxidative properties, which can help treat inflammation (29).

The anti-inflammatory effects can also be attributed to quercetin, which is a potent anti-inflammatory agent present in rooibos tea.

In another study, rooibos tea, when taken in conjunction with red palm oil, was found to protect against inflammation (30).

A study conducted in the Republic of Korea had suggested that aspalathin and nothofagin, the two major antioxidants in rooibos tea, possess excellent anti-inflammatory properties (31), (32).


22. May Improve Bone Health

The bone mineral density in women declines as they age. The flavonoids orientin and luteolin present in rooibos tea help enhance bone mineral content, according to the reports of a study conducted by Molecular Nutrition and Food Research (33).

Also, like already discussed, rooibos tea does not contain caffeine. Caffeine is one of the major reasons for the deterioration of bone health.


23. May Help Prevent Heart Disease

As established earlier, rooibos tea provides protection against oxidative damage, and thus prevents the oxidation of essential cellular components as fats. It also reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

As per a study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, rooibos tea helps lower the levels of LDL, or bad cholesterol, that clogs the arteries and increases the risk of heart diseases. On the other hand, it increases the levels of HDL, or good cholesterol, that helps carry fat deposits out of the arteries to the liver. It is especially a great beverage for those with a history of heart diseases in the family.

In another South African study, rooibos tea was found to offer cardiac protection to a rat on whom the test was conducted (34), suggesting a similar possibility in humans as well.


24. Helps Combat HIV

HIV is one of the deadliest diseases ever. Studies prove that the active substances contained in rooibos tea extract can suppress HIV infection (35). The alkaline extracts of rooibos tea can counter HIV, reports a study published in the US National Library of Medicine.

We hope you enjoyed the read. Remember that any herbal component may interact with drugs or other herbal supplements. We recommend that you consult with a physician or dietitian to determine whether your medications would interact with rooibos tea and whether this herbal supplement would be appropriate for you if you consider to start consuming it.

Note: If you are pregnant or lactating, consult with your physician. Herbal teas may interact with many medications, and there’s not enough evidence saying they are safe for pregnant women.

Having learned the pros and cons of rooibos tea, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that it surely does a lot more good than harm. So, are you ready to enjoy the many health benefits of rooibos tea? Are you aware of any other rooibos tea benefits that we have missed? Do let us know by commenting in the box below.