Rooibos Tea: Delicious and Naturally Caffeine Free

by Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist October 2, 2010

rooibos tea benefitsI love tea!  My tea cabinet is overflowing with tins, paper boxes, and bags of both bulk tea and tea bags so I can always find the right herbal tea to fit whatever my need is at that particular moment.

A little congested?   A cup of alfalfa or stinging nettle tea work well due to their natural antihistamine properties.

Stressed out?   A cup of chamomile tea will calm you down in no time.

So, where does tea fit into a healthy diet?

Rooibos Tea Benefits:  An African Herbal Gem

For the past few weeks, I’ve been drinking a morning cup of rooibos tea, also known as red or redbush tea.  I’ve switched recently because I find that don’t do well if I have a cup of green tea every morning as even a small daily dose of caffeine tends to weaken my adrenals and contribute to early afternoon fatigue after awhile.    I really can only enjoy green or (my favorite) English Breakfast tea on occasion as caffeine so quickly develops into a habit if you’re not especially careful.

I don’t prefer decaffeinated black or green tea because, to me, this is an unnatural over processing of these herbs. I would rather choose a tea that is naturally caffeine free, such as red tea.

Rooibos tea is native to the continent of Africa and is primarily grown in South Africa’s Western Cape.  Local people have traditionally used red tea for centuries, and the Dutch settlers in South Africa used it as an alternative to expensive black tea whose supply was dependent on trading ships from Europe.

Red tea has an earthy and a slightly nutty flavor.   The first time I tried a cup, I didn’t really care for it much.   Red tea grows on you after awhile, though, and I now I simply love it.

Rooibos tea benefits primarily revolve around the fact that it is naturally decaffeinated and loaded with antioxidants.  Scientifically, no adverse effects whatsoever have been attributed to rooibos tea.

Other rooibos tea benefits include antifungal as well as antimutagenic properties.  It is also alleged to beneficially modulate the immune system and to assist with nervous tension, skin problems, and digestive complaints.

I personally find that a warm cup of red tea gives me a lift in the morning with no caffeine required.   This effect is perhaps due to rooibos tea benefits to the digestive system, as anything that reduces digestive burden results in an improved energy state!

I also love to have rooibos tea on hand because it is a caffeine free choice for the kids whenever they ask for a cup.

Like many plants, rooibos readily takes in flouride from the surrounding soil, so make sure you buy organic rooibos as commercial fertilizers contain large amounts of flouride.

Rooibos Tea Benefits: Healthy Alternative to Lattes, Cappuccino and Espresso

“Red espresso” is served in South African coffee shops and is concentrated rooibos served in the same manner as coffee espresso.

Rooibos tea is delicious with milk and makes an excellent caffeine free latte or cappuccino.

In the summer, iced red tea is a very pleasant alternative to the black tea based iced teas on the market.

For those attempting to shake the coffee or, in my case, the green/black tea habit, a switch to rooibos tea may be just the ticket!

What is your favorite tea of late?

More information on coffee substitutes is contained in this article.

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

 

Comments (26)

  1. Thanks for the Info!
    That is where I grew up – Western Cape – and was raised on RooiBos Tea in many forms and shapes! Bring back many memories!
    Many times I use the cold black left-over Tea and mix with fresh frozen Peaches (from my garden) into a Creamy Smoothie! Deliciously! Spear Mint goes well with it, too.
    Enjoy some Sunshine and Good Health in a Cup far away from Home! x

    Reply
  2. Tian van Heerden July 8, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    Dear Sarah,
    As a native, Afrikaans South African and erstwhile Rooibos farmer – and long-time fan of your blog! – allow me to add a few points: the tea is called “rooibos” and not “rooibus”. The name literally means “red bush”. I mention this because your readers will find tons of useful information about this tea online if you search with the right name.
    Someone asked about the pronunciation – don’t rely on the pronunciation guide on Youtube! The one on Wiktionary is a lot better: http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/rooibos
    Please note that almost none of the anti-oxidant or other benefits of Rooibos tea will be realised by perfunctory brewing – this tea LOVES to be brewed at length. Unlike normal English/breakfast/Ceylon/black tea, it does not become bitter – it only becomes sweeter and more lovely with extended brewing.
    If you don’t have a teapot that can go on the stovetop for extended brewing, then at least ensure that you brew/steep it in your cup or teapot for at least 5 minutes. Take the necessary steps to ensure that your tea remains warm, e.g. pre-warming the cup/teapot with boiling water, keeping it well covered during brewing (e.g. a saucer over your cup or a tea-cosy over your teapot).
    During one happy period of my life I lived on a farm where there was a giant kettle stocked with Rooibos teabags steaming on the wood-burning stove round the clock – we only topped up the water when it ran low and constantly added MORE teabags until the kettle was clogged with bags… after a day or so of this brewing the tea ran dark and sweet – and we quite happily quaffed this without any desire for sweetener or milk. Fantastic stuff.
    Even if you end up with cold tea it’s no loss – like you said, it’s also delicious as an iced tea.
    This site has some good tips on brewing: http://www.rooibostea.com/proper-brewing-of-rooibos-tea.php
    When winter colds and flu threaten my family, they get dosed with the following brew: strong rooibos tea infused with fresh sliced ginger, a squeeze of lemon juice, and a dab of honey. Tastes yummy, warms the innards, and drives off the lurgies.
    Lastly, I’d like to point your readers at this article which delves into the many health benefits of Rooibos tea:
    http://inhumanexperiment.blogspot.com/2010/04/many-health-benefits-of-rooibos-tea.html
    In summary:
    - more potent anti-oxidant than green tea
    - protection against DNA damage
    - cardiovascular benefits
    - benefits for diabetes sufferers – and all those concerned about blood glucose levels (which will certainly include all WAP readers!)
    - liver tissue regeneration
    - lowers blood pressure, acts as bronchidilator and antispasmodic
    - inhibits brain aging

    … what’s not to like? :)
    Sunny South African wishes and thanks for all the amazing info you disseminate.

    Reply
  3. Can anyone comment on the caffeine content of kombucha, since it is made with black tea?
    Does the caffeine get used up in the brewing process? I have read that kombucha cannot be made using caffeine free tea. Thanks!

    Reply
    • In Sarah’s video on basic kombucha making, she says the caffeine is mostly used up by the time the tea has fermented at least 7 days. You could refer to it for more information.

      Reply
  4. I’m not sure if you comment on old post but if you do…. do you know if red teas are safe to consume when you are pregnant?

    Reply
  5. I get my rooibos teas from Teavana, a on-line site and a store (one in Portland, OR). Several mixes to choose from, so far all I've tried are great!

    Reply
  6. I also love rooibos tea, but didn't like it at first. I lived in South Africa for several years and really have grown to love it. It is pronounced ROY boss with a little roll on the r.

    Reply
  7. As y0u have started on the topic of tea, I wondered if you could do a post on the topic of tea additives. A few years ago, I was shocked to notice that many herbal teas on the market have soy lethicin as an ingredient (virtually of the Celestial Seasons brand teas, which may not be a surprise, but also some of the groovier brands). In fact, many of the teas in my local food co-op have all kinds of things added to them, it seems to be harder and harder to find "pure" teas. The solution of course is to go back to the old fashioned way of just collecting the herbs oneself, but I admit that I like the convenience of a teabag. I guess they needed one more place to park all the excess soy by-product, and so they decided to put it in…tea? Would love to hear your comments.

    Reply
  8. I can't drink rooibos- it tastes like warm cough medicine to me! *lol* But since I gave up caffeine (not counting chocolate) about 2 years ago, and I avoid hibiscus (small chance of it affecting fertility) and mint tea (may be bad if you're pregnant), I've been bouncing around from herbal tea to herbal tea. Even before giving up caffeine, my favorite was smoked Yerba Mate, and I've heard that the caffeine in Mate becomes "matteine" rather than caffeine. But for my reasons, I'm not willing to risk it.

    My current favorite is lemon ginger Tulsi, which I'd never heard of until Dr. Mercola mentioned it. It's delicious, so I'm sticking to it until they start bringing out all the spicy Christmas blends. One of those was my favorite until I ran out, and now I can't remember what it was called!

    Margaret- I read somewhere that it's pronounced "roy-boss", and looking at Melissa's pronunciation, I'm pretty sure that we're both right on the first part being "roy". Can't guarantee the second!

    Reply
  9. Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist October 3, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    Hi Ashley, skip the lecithin. These vitamin stores have a silver bullet supplement for everything. Just rely of nutrient dense whole foods for your nutrition and take just a couple of whole food supplements like cod liver oil is all you need.

    To find a source of clean raw milk in your area, to to westonaprice.org and find the local WAPF Chapter Leader for your locality.

    Reply
  10. Hi Sarah, thanks for all the good info you put out. It is overloading me, lol. But i am taking it in bits as i am new to the whole foods way. I have never heard of any of these teas before. I was looking up Yogi tea and found a place called TheLuckyVitamin.com and looked them up on fb. Well they put up a post about the health benefits of lecithin.(i know this is totally off subject) Lecithin sounds to me like something i should steer clear of. I believe i see it in a lot of prepackaged foods. Here is the link to it. http://blog.luckyvitamin.com/supplements/health-benefits-of-lecithin/
    I just wonder if this is true or not. Thanks for all you do. I enjoy your videos and show my family the right way to nourish the body. They seem willing, but are very skeptical of raw milk. I am willing to try it. But we live in South Ga and i don't know where to access it at. Thank you so much again.

    Reply
  11. I also enjoy red rooibos tea! (I've heard it pronounced ROY-bose)
    I can't really dring green tea straight-up, so I've been mixing it with peppermint (a natural stimulating herb), cloves, ginko and others to cut back on the caffeine.
    Drinking tea is one of my favorite morning activities :)

    Reply
  12. Sarah , can you please advise good brand of Red Tea & Nettle Tea Powders nd source to buy Red Tea and Nettle Tea –

    -Rag

    Reply
  13. Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist October 2, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    Hi Carolyn, glad you like the panacotta! I make no less than a big bowl of this about every week. It is my husband's midafternoon snack nearly every single day!

    Reply
  14. Funny you mentioned this today. I have really been enjoying chai tea but didn't want the caffeine anymore(it is typically made with black tea.) Just the other day at Trader Joe's I found Ruby Red Chai Tea. Its organic, no caffeine and I love it! Thanks for your blog. I've found it very helpful. We LOVE your panna cotta recipe!
    Carolyn

    Reply
  15. Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist October 2, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    That's funny Margaret! Good question on the pronunciation – better to just call it red tea which is sure a lot easier to say!

    Reply
  16. My husband and I drink a lot of rooibus. Now can you tell us how to pronounce that word? :-)

    Our other favorite is dandelion root tea (DandyBlend) is one brand. It's the yummiest coffee alternative we've ever come across.

    Third favorite would have to be raspberry leaf tea, which we used to buy, but now we just harvest the leaves of rampant raspberry in our backyard. Yum! It's a nice rich flavor like red tea, but very different.

    Reply
  17. I have been drinking red rooibus for a few years now. It helped me kick the coffee habit as it just made a good replacement. I just love it. To me, it is a very comforting thing to sit on the patio, in the early morning, with my cup of rooibus. And thank you for the latte idea. I am going to try a cup with some milk (raw, of course). Blessings ro you, Sarah.

    Dawn

    Reply
  18. Another wonderful afternoon pick me up is Fermented Spirulina by Grainfields, I have felt such calm and steady energy from this amazing superfood. I have felt like the energizer bunny ever since starting this, I have 1 oz first thing in the morning, and then 1/2 an ounce in the late afternoon and cannot believe how good it makes me feel. It is one of the Superfoods that Weston Price Foundation recommends and I sure wish I had tried it long ago!!!

    Juliann

    Reply
  19. Dr. Laura Aridgides October 2, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    I also drink rooibus, but I make iced tea with it. To me, it tastes exactly like black tea does, minus the caffeine, so I still can enjoy my iced tea, and I sweeten it with Stevia.

    I'm not a big hot tea drinker, so I've never tried it that way. But, it does make wonderful iced tea!

    Dr. Laura

    Reply

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