Even though I moved from South Africa some time ago, there are a few things that I haven’t been able to shake off.
One being my excessive use of the word “shame,” my unique pronunciation of words like “years” and “car,” my love for biltong and…my obsession with rooibos!
I drink rooibos every day and like most South Africans, I tend to think that it can solve many of life’s problems. Have a headache? Drink some rooibos. Have a sore stomach? Drink rooibos. Stressed? Put the kettle on – time for some rooibos.
Pronounced ‘roy-bos’, the herbal tea is only grown in the mountainous Cedarberg region of South Africa and has a dark red, almost copper colour. It has a sweet, earthy taste and is caffeine free. Unlike some dark herbal teas, rooibos does not have a bitter taste and is not too overpowering.
How to drink it:
There are many ways to drink rooibos. Some people add a dash of milk and sugar, others have it black with a spoonful of honey. It also makes a delicious refreshing iced tea – just brew the rooibos with some fresh mint or sliced lemon and allow to chill. As the tea has gained popularity beyond the shores of South Africa, more and more variations are emerging such as vanilla rooibos, citrus rooibos and rooibos chamomile to name a few.
Yes, I’m super proud that this wonder tea is South African, but trust me that’s not the only reason I’m bragging about it. Rooibos has a seriously impressive list of minerals that aid in a variety of ways, from improved sleep to strong bones.
Clear skin – Rooibos is acclaimed as one of the best beauty teas due to its anti-inflammatory properties, antioxidants and enzymes that fight the aging process. These properties help soothe skin, decrease blemishes and fight free radicals. Healthy skin starts from within and drinking rooibos is a great way to feed your skin with the nutrients it needs for a natural glow. Zinc and alpha-hydroxy acids found in rooibos help clear skin, heal wounds, reduce the signs of aging and reduce inflamed, acne prone skin.
Strong bones – Rich in minerals such as manganese, fluoride and calcium, rooibos promotes healthy bones and teeth. Manganese stimulates enzymes in the body used to help repair bone damage and build bone mass and therefore drinking it may help prevent arthritis and joint pain.
Digestion – When I was younger I suffered from sharp pains in my stomach and you guessed right – I was always given a warm cup of rooibos to help soothe the pain. The antispasmodic agents in rooibos activate potassium ions in the body which help ease stomach cramps, indigestion and abdominal pains.
Healthy hair – Zinc alongside copper, calcium and potassium strengthens hair fibres and promotes healthy hair growth.
Helps regulate blood sugar – The aspalathin antioxidant found in rooibos tea helps regulate blood sugar and improves insulin resistance. This can help prevent the development of type II diabetes as well as stop sugar cravings due to spikes in blood sugar levels. So, next time you find yourself tempted to devour a cheeky Mars bar, turn the kettle on instead and stay on track with your health and weight loss goals.
Blood circulation and a stronger immune system – Chrysoeriol in rooibos aids blood circulation and is linked to reducing cholesterol. The polyphenols in rooibos assist in preventing heart related illnesses and boost the immune system to help protect the body against cold and flu.
Improved sleep – Being naturally caffeine free and rich in calcium and magnesium, rooibos is the perfect bedtime beverage to help you wind down. Studies have found that when calcium levels are high we sleep a lot deeper. The brain uses calcium to manufacture melatonin (the sleeping hormone) and magnesium has a natural calming effect on the nervous system so together these two minerals help increase the quality of our sleep.
Where to buy it:
You should definitely book your air ticket to South Africa right now to purchase some of this beautifying brew – that’s a good enough excuse, right? Alternatively, rooibos can be found in most health shops and increasingly in many supermarkets.
Some of my favourite variations are:
Pukka Rooibos Honeybush – sweet and fragrant, with a hint of honey
Tick Tock Rooibos Tea – Tick Tock offers a few different rooibos teas namely vanilla rooibos and rooibos green tea. I usually stick to the original which has a strong, earthy and almost nutty taste.
Do you have a unique way of drinking rooibos? What’s your favourite variety? We’d love to hear from you!