Rooibos Tea is a type of Herbal Tea from South Africa. It is a remarkably versatile infusion - and in more than one way. Perhaps best of all is the fact that it comes with Rooibos Tea benefits.

But what, exactly, can it do to improve your health and wellbeing? We’ll find out in the following blog. Please keep reading to discover the answers to these questions:

There will, of course, be other areas we’ll be looking into below. And once you’ve realised its full potential, you can buy it and try it right here at The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company.

We take pride in packing all of our teas, including rooibos, fresh to order. In doing so, we can guarantee not only quality but also consistency with every cuppa brewed.

What is Rooibos Tea?

What is Rooibos Tea?

The Rooibos plant (Aspalathus linearis) from where we get this Tea grows exclusively in the Cederberg region of South Africa. It is a member of the Fabaceae (Legume) family, reaching heights of up to 3 feet (0.9 metres) and boasting thin, needle-like leaves.

These leaves are the component used in the making of Rooibos Tea, which, when brewed, offers a gentle sweetness with notes of nuts, honey and caramel.

Before you can enjoy it as such, however, it must first be harvested. The plant itself experiences some of the harshest conditions in the world, with the region’s temperatures dipping below zero in the winter and above 40°C in the summer.

Once it has been collected by workers, it arrives at the factory for processing. This is the primary difference between Green and Red Rooibos (usually pronounced “roy-boss”).

The former of the two only undergoes minimal oxidation similar to “regular” Green Tea (from the Camellia sinensis plant). Red Rooibos, on the other hand, is first “bruised” and then left in heaps to ferment.

The enzymatic oxidation that follows changes both the colour and the structure of the leaves. It also has a significant influence on Rooibos Tea benefits.

History of this Tea Type

Brief History of Rooibos

But where did it all begin? It’s a long story and, as such, we’ve had to condense it a little. The main thing you need to know is that one of South Africa’s indigenous peoples, the Khoisan, first discovered it many centuries ago.

They are indeed the reason why we hold Rooibos Tea benefits in high regard today. But it wasn’t always easy for them, nor was it always trouble-free for the Rooibos plant.

  • Before the 1600s - The Khoisan used Rooibos Tea to cure common ailments in their society.
  • 1660s - Dutch and British settlers start to encroach on Khoisan land.
  • Early 1700s - The Khoisan way of life diminished significantly - and Rooibos Tea, as a result, was forgotten for several decades.
  • 1772 - A Swedish botanist named Carl Thunberg (1743-1823) rediscovered the Rooibos plant.
  • Early 1800s - Rooibos Tea started to become known again.
  • 1904 - Benjamin Ginsberg, a Russian immigrant with ties to the Tea industry, began marketing Rooibos as a “Mountain Tea.” He re-popularised its consumption.
  • 1930 - Dr. P. Le Fras Nortier, a local doctor and amateur botanist, discovered the value of Rooibos as an agricultural product. Together with Olof Berg, a commercial farmer, he developed new and groundbreaking cultivation methods.
  • 1939-1945 - The Japanese occupation of China during the Second World War meant Tea shortages for Britain and her colonies. Although India’s Assam and Darjeeling Tea regions took up some of the burden, Rooibos also played a part as a viable alternative.

At the end of the war, by which point China could start mass-production again, this Herbal Tea returned to relative obscurity. Thankfully, it wouldn’t last for long.

The next time Rooibos became popular, it would remain so. This was mostly because of one remarkable woman: Dr Annique Theron. If it wasn’t for her, we might know half of what we do about Rooibos Tea benefits.

Annique Theron

Annique Theron and Rooibos Tea

Born on April 18, 1929, Annique Theron (1929-2016) grew up on a small farm near Potgietersrus. She married her husband Meiring in 1948, eventually moving to Pretoria to start a family. During the 1950s, they raised two children named Hank and Marius.

Theron’s third child, Suzette, arrived ten years later, with Lorinda being born in early 1967. One year after, on April 8, 1968, a then-14-month-old Lorinda was suffering from severe allergies and colic.

After many sleepless nights, Annique decided to warm her milk with Rooibos in an attempt to ease the child’s insomnia. Lorinda, as a result, slept comfortably for 3 hours straight.

Annique went on to publish a book entitled “Allergies: An Amazing Discovery”. It noted how Rooibos Tea benefits could reduce symptoms of allergies, in part due to its wealth in vitamins, minerals and other antioxidants.

Rooibos Tea sales increased by over 50% soon after. Meanwhile, Annique continued her journey with the herb, eventually earning her doctorate in alternative medicine at the age of 72.

Dr Annique Theron passed away at the age of 86. She was survived by much of her family, including Henk, who said: “Her legacy will remain. She is one woman who added value to many people’s lives, and we’re grateful that we could have been a part of that.”

Recounting her experience with Rooibos in a 2009 interview, Dr Theron herself noted that:

“It was a long but delightful journey. And I’m so happy that I could’ve been the instrument to have achieved that.”

For us, every Rooibos Tea sold at The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company is in honour of her.

Nutritional Information

Rooibos Tea Nutritional Information

Dr Annique Theron and the Khoisan people before her taught us a lot about Rooibos Tea benefits. However, there is still more to learn from the latest scientific evidence.

We now know, for instance, that when it comes to Rooibos Tea nutritional information, it’s good news all round. Here is a table showcasing just some of the constituents it contains:



Why Rooibos Tea is Good for You?

Alpha Hydroxy Acid Aspalathin Calcium
Chrysoeriol Copper Iron
Isoorientin Isoquercitrin Isovitexin
Luteolin Magnesium Manganese
Nothofagin Orientin Potassium
Quercetin Rutin Zinc

It’s important to note, though, that the specific amount of any one of these properties depends on whether you choose Red or Green Rooibos. This is because Green Rooibos, as mentioned previously, undergoes only minimal processing and consequently contains higher levels of antioxidants.

Yet its red counterpart still has much to offer, which we’ll be looking into in greater detail soon.

Flavonoids in Tea

Does Rooibos Tea Contain Flavonoids?

Many of the constituents mentioned above are, in fact, flavonoids. This includes aspalathin (Rooibos is the only plant known to contain it), chrysoeriol, isoorientin, isoquercetin, isovitexin, luteolin, nothofagin, orientin, quercetin and rutin.

But why does it matter? The reason is their incredible ability to combat free radicals in the body, the product of natural, though harmful, human oxidation.

When left unchecked, oxidative stress can cause untold damage by introducing free radicals, which in turn are unpaired (and unsafe) electrons. Part of the answer, then, is to drink flavonoid-rich Rooibos.

Research suggests that this could reduce the risks of developing a multitude of chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease, type-2 diabetes and even, potentially, cancer.

Does Rooibos Tea Contain Fluoride?

Does Rooibos Tea Contain Fluoride?

Fluoride is a chemical compound typically found in toothpaste. It has a unique ability to prevent tooth decay by influencing the mineralisation of your bones and teeth, thus keeping them hard and strong.

Additionally, it can help prevent dental cavities in several ways, as well as inhibit bacterial activity. Too much of it, though, can have the opposite effect, weakening bones and raising the risk of damage.

So, does Rooibos Loose Tea contain fluoride? Yes - the same way that “regular” Tea contains it. The difference between the two is that Rooibos has lower levels in it than, say, Black Tea. This then makes it an excellent alternative if you’re looking to cut down.

In other words, if you are worried about the side effects of fluoride, you have little to worry about with this herbal infusion.

 Contain Tannins

Does Rooibos Tea Contain Tannins?

Tannins, also known as tannoids or tannic acid, are a class of astringent polyphenols. They exist in a variety of naturally occurring substances, including wood and, of course, Tea leaves.

Many people recognise the term from leather. Tannins in Tea, however, provide a distinct bitter taste when brewed. But what about this particular beverage? Does it also contain them?

Rooibos Tea tannins, contrary to popular belief, do indeed exist. Yet, similar to the fluoride in it, there is only a minimal amount. Some would argue that this is a good thing because tannins can interfere with the absorption of certain nutrients such as iron.

Ultimately, then, it is low in tannins, low in fluoride, high in flavonoids and a brilliant all-round brew for Rooibos Tea benefits.

Benefits of Rooibos Tea

Rooibos Tea Benefits

A recent report from the “Swiss Business Hub Southern Africa” stated that: “Rooibos appears to be headed towards becoming the second most commonly consumed beverage ingredient in the world after ordinary Tea (Camellia sinensis)”.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, is its Rooibos health benefits. Still, the question begs: what does that actually mean? What, exactly, can you expect from your cuppa?

Put simply, a lot. Let’s now explore its capacity to improve your life in small yet astounding ways. Below, we have compiled the latest evidence, all from reputable institutes, showcasing its finer qualities.

Please keep reading to find out how it combats allergies, treats colic, promotes weight loss, reduces blood pressure, prevents skin blemishes and much, much more!

Combat Allergies

Drink Rooibos Tea to Combat Allergies

Why did Annique’s daughter feel better after drinking this infusion? Researchers believe it’s something to do with the bioflavonoid, quercetin.

Quercetin reportedly has antihistamine properties, which block the release of histamine from mast cells to curb common symptoms of seasonal allergies.

Hay fever, in particular, can lead to congestion, a runny nose and sneezing. Enter Rooibos Tea benefits.

Drinking it can lessen and, in some cases, even eradicate hay fever symptoms. According to one study, it even has the potential to be as beneficial as certain antihistamine medicines.

On a side note, a 2001 report published in “Bioscience, Biotechnology and Biochemistry” found that it boosted the immune system, too, thus preventing common colds and the flu.

Treatment for Colic in Babies

Can it Treat Colic in Babies?

The 14-month-old Lorinda, in addition to having her allergies relieved, suffered less from colic after Annique’s Rooibos intervention. This is a condition that about 20-25% of all babies experience.

It is characterised as lengthy episodes of crying for more than three hours a day, often leading to restlessness and sleeplessness. Severe side effects may even include gastrointestinal issues.

When it comes to treating colic with Rooibos, the results seem promising. Some parents have been known to make ice lollies out of it to lessen symptoms - but it involves an element of risk. Few studies exist to make a case for or against giving your child this Tea.

Until we know more, then, we strongly urge you to seek medical consultation before trying such a method.

Promotes Weight Loss

Promotes Weight Loss

Does Rooibos help you to lose weight? Absolutely. But don’t just take our word for it - listen to an expert! Ernest du Toit, a spokesperson for the South Africa Rooibos Council, said:

“Rooibos Tea contains no fat or carbohydrates and its weight-loss properties further extend to inhibiting fat-stage hormones within the body. Its unique bioflavonoid, Aspalathin, helps to reduce stress hormones that trigger hunger…”

The most crucial factor is that Rooibos boosts the metabolism of fat cells. This, in turn, enables the body to burn fat quicker and more efficiently, meaning periods of exercise produce better, indeed more noticeable, results.

Just remember: it’s not going to do all of the work for you. You’ll need to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle, in other words, to see any dramatic changes.

Rooibos Tea Good for High Blood Pressure

Rooibos Tea Good for High Blood Pressure

Recent statistics indicate that around 40% of the world’s population experience, at one time or another, high blood pressure. Could Rooibos Tea benefits be the answer?

Not quite, although they could, at the very least, lend a helping hand. This is partly because the Tea acts as a bronchodilator - a type of medication that makes breathing easier by relaxing the muscles in the lungs and widening the airways.

While it seems strange for a treatment for respiratory conditions to have anything to do with blood pressure, it’s true. Additionally, according to a 2010 report published in “Public Health Nutrition,” this beverage could have an overall positive effect on cardiovascular (heart) health.

It’s all to do with the antioxidants in Loose Leaf Rooibos Tea (see: Rooibos Tea nutritional information above).

Is Rooibos Tea Good for Your Skin?

Is Rooibos Tea Good for Your Skin?

Our skin is the largest organ - one that requires plenty of care by us. It’s a good thing, then, that Rooibos Tea benefits extend to topical treatments.

Its abundance in zinc and alpha hydroxy acid, when applied directly to the skin, can alleviate pimples, blackheads and even, to a lesser extent, sunburns. Then there is the fact that it comes with anti-ageing properties.

Researchers at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, can explain its potential here. They discovered the effectiveness of this herb in protecting against the degeneration of preadipocytes, which are cells found in fat tissue.

Fundamentally, what this did was to prevent wrinkles from forming on the skin. So, forget that £90 tub of face cream - try this beverage instead!

Products for Acne

Rooibos Products for Acne

Let’s look further into Rooibos Tea benefits for skin, specifically how it fights acne. This skin condition occurs when hair follicles become clogged with oil and dead skin cells, which often leads to a break-out in whiteheads, blackheads or pimples.

It commonly appears on the face, forehead, chest, upper back and shoulders, and, contrary to popular belief, affects people of all ages.

Alpha hydroxy acid and zinc, the same constituents that influence skin health as a whole, have anti-inflammatory properties capable of reducing acne.

This is according to a 2009 animal-based study. It established that rats given Rooibos Tea showed reduced levels of inflammation, as well as less DNA damage, compared to rodents given only water.

Rooibos Tea Cancer-

Can Rooibos Help with Cancer

Before we get into the potential (emphasis on “potential”) of Rooibos Tea for aiding cancer, let’s make one thing clear: it is NOT a cure. Although there is some promising (though indeed preliminary) research into this topic, Loose Rooibos Tea is unlikely to make a dramatic impact.

What it MIGHT do, then, is act as a support to those living with several types of cancer, including Rooibos Tea for breast cancer.

With that out of the way, it’s time to explore what we know. Some test-tube studies have found that the antioxidants quercetin and luteolin can help in eradicating cancer cells, thus preventing tumour growth.

This is perhaps because, as we’ve mentioned before, such chemical compounds combat and ultimately neutralise free radicals in the body. Naturally, though, we require more evidence before confirmation.

Rooibos Tea Benefits Diabetes

Rooibos Tea Benefits Diabetes

Statistics suggest that an estimated 4 million people, including those who’re currently undiagnosed, are living with diabetes in the UK alone.

This represents around 6% of Britain’s population - or one in every sixteen people having diabetes (diagnosed or undiagnosed). Rooibos Tea, similar to its use for cancer, is NOT a “fix-all” solution to diabetes. However, it might again help.

The aspalathin in this beverage, according to animal studies, MIGHT have anti-diabetic effects. One research project in mice with type-2 diabetes discovered that aspalathin balanced blood sugar levels and reduced insulin resistance.

This could support those at risk of developing diabetes. What it likely WON’T do is have a significant impact on people already living with the condition.

Rooibos Tea Side Effects

Rooibos Tea Side Effects

It would be fair to say that there are pros and cons of Rooibos Tea. We’ve already covered the pros, so now, unfortunately, it’s time to look into the cons.

One case study discovered links between drinking Rooibos and an increase in liver enzymes, which often indicates a liver complication. Then there is the possibility of it stimulating the production of estrogen.

Rooibos Tea side effects also extend, in the rarest of cases, to the skin. There have been reports of it causing rashes, swollen skin and itchiness in those who’re unknowingly allergic to its topical use.

If you suffer from any of these health problems or experience discomfort of any kind, we urge you to speak with a doctor. First and foremost, we care about the welfare of our customers.

Rooibos Tea Pregnancy

Rooibos Tea Pregnancy

It’s often best to err on the side of caution when drinking Herbal Tea while pregnant. Some infusions, including Liquorice Root and Sage Tea, can cause serious issues in mothers-to-be.

But what about this particular Herbal Tea? Can I drink Rooibos Tea when pregnant? Is it safe? The consensus is that, providing you monitor your intake, there is no reason why you can’t enjoy a cuppa of it.

It’s worth noting, in fact, that its exceptional nutritional value may, indeed, make it one of the better choices - even over regular Black or Green Tea.

Nevertheless, if you have any concerns or doubts, it’s paramount that you seek medical consultation. Consider talking to your doctor, midwife or another health professional before brewing up.

Rooibos Tea Caffeine

Rooibos Tea Caffeine

Caffeine is a naturally occurring stimulant found in over 60 plants, including Camellia sinensis (Tea), Coffea (Coffee) and Ilex Paraguariensis (Yerba Mate).

Upon consumption, your body quickly absorbs it into the bloodstream, whereby it travels to the liver. Caffeine is then broken down before travelling to other organs - namely the brain. This is the point you receive that characteristic energy boost.

Does Rooibos have caffeine, though? Not even a little bit. This is a 100% caffeine-free infusion, which is good news for some and bad news for others.

If you’re needing an extra push first thing in the morning, you might want to look elsewhere. Those looking to cut down, however, have chosen well here. Ultimately, whatever you want from your brew, The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company have it.

How to Make This Tea

How to Make Rooibos Tea:

And there you have it: Rooibos Tea benefits and side effects with the science, where it’s available, to back them. You might well be thirsty for more, so let’s now show you how to make Rooibos Tea ready for when you buy it and brew.

First, you’ll need either a Tea Filter or Loose Tea Infuser. Once you have one of these items to hand, just follow the steps below:

1. Use a Tea Infuser / Filter.

Put Loose Rooibos Tea into one of our Tea Filters / Infusers.

2. Boil the Kettle.

Brew fresh water using either filtered or bottled water.

3. Add Infuser or Filter to your Cup.

Place the Tea-filled accessory into a cup or mug.

4. Pour Freshly Boiled Water.

Fill the cup or mug with hot water straight off the boil.

5. Allow it to Steep / Infuse.

Let it infuse for 5-10 minutes (the longer you leave it, the stronger it tastes.)

6. Time to Indulge

Your delicious, invigorating Herbal Tea is ready to enjoy at your leisure.

Rooibos Benefits Conclusion

We have answered the question, “what is Rooibos Tea?,” including its historical and cultural impact and even the correct Rooibos pronunciation.

We have also looked into its nutritional value and how, overall, it can benefit your health and wellbeing.

All that’s left, then, is to buy from The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company. Why not consider options such as Rooibos Long Cut, Organic Rooibos Tea or a flavoured brew? Whatever you choose, you’ve decided exceptionally well with us. 

Author: Richard Smith

Partner at The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company

Richard Smith is a Tea expert, entrepreneur, and owner of The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company. Part of a family of renowned Tea planters dating back four generations, he was born in Calcutta (Kolkata), India, where he spent his childhood between Tea Estates in Assam and Darjeeling.

In the late 1970s, having accumulated years of knowledge in the industry, Mr Smith and his mother, Janet Smith, moved to Kent, South East England, to establish a Tea business in the village of Pluckley. Their early days of packing Tea Bags by hand from chests of 10,000 prompted the creation of the company’s flagship infusion known as Pluckley Tea. It remains our most popular product today.

Mr Smith, who studied economics at London Polytechnic, has since specialised in over 1,000 types of Loose Leaf Tea - in addition to around 70 varieties of Roast Coffee - from around the world. These are now available at The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company, where everything is still packed by hand and fresh to order, not only to honour tradition but to ensure the utmost quality and consistency.