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.0

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 ot8her 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.

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What is Rooibos Tea

What is Rooibos Tea 

Rooibos is well-known for its distinctive flavour, which is derived solely from the Rooibos plant (Aspalathus linearis). This plant species is exclusively found in the scenic Cederberg region of South Africa and belongs to the Legume family, which produces needle-like leaves that can grow up to three feet tall. The leaves of this plant are used in the brewing of Rooibos Tea, offering a delicious blend of nutty, honeyed and caramelly flavours.

To fully enjoy it, Rooibos must first be harvested. This tough plant endures extreme weather conditions ranging from sub-zero winters to scorching 40°C summers in the region.

After being carefully picked by skilled workers, the Rooibos is transported to the factory for processing. This is where the main difference lies between Green and Red (often pronounced "roy-boss").

Rooibos Green Tea undergoes minimal oxidation, similar to green tea from the Camellia sinensis plant. However, red rooibos goes through a process of bruising and fermentation, which changes the colour and structure of the leaves. This enzymatic oxidation has a significant impact on the benefits of rooibos tea.

History of Rooibos

History of Rooibos 

For over 300 years, Rooibos has been a cherished beverage in the Cedarberg mountain area of South Africa. This plant was first noted by botanists in 1772 when locals offered them a delicious, sweet-tasting brew.

Since the 1930s, rooibos has been a popular cultivated crop that is now being exported to over 31 countries, such as the UK, Germany, China, Japan, and the United States.

Rooibos Timeline

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 - This 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 burdens, it also played a part as a viable alternative.

At the end of the war, by which point they could start mass-production again and 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.

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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's benefits could reduce symptoms of allergies, in part due to its wealth of 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.

Rooibos Nutritional Information

Rooibos Nutritional Information

Rooibos tea boasts impressive antioxidant levels and contains unique polyphenols, including aspalathin, that provide significant nutritional benefits. These plant-based compounds serve as a shield against free radical damage, which can contribute to the development of serious conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer. Enjoy a cup of rooibos tea to protect your health and nourish your body.

In terms of micronutrients, rooibos only contains meaningful amounts of fluoride and copper. Other minerals in trace amounts are insignificant and won't provide much nutrition for the average person. While there are anecdotal claims that it may help support the electrolyte levels of athletes if used as a replacement for fluids, research does not back up this suggestion.

This South African Tea, has a distinct advantage - it is remarkably low in tannins, with only 4.4%. This characteristic makes it an excellent option for tea lovers seeking a gentler flavour or struggling with digestive issues caused by high-tannin beverages.

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1. Rooibos Tea Weight Loss

1. Rooibos Tea Weight Loss

This is a smart choice for those looking to shed some weight. With no calories and natural sweetness, it's a guilt-free option that's packed with antioxidants and helps balance blood sugar levels. Add it to your beverage rotation and enjoy the benefits it brings.

Studies indicate that aspalathin, a key component in rooibos tea, can effectively decrease stress hormones that activate appetite and fat retention. This is significant as it is associated with several health concerns such as heart disease, metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes.

The study reveals that rooibos tea health benefits can potentially prevent obesity by influencing the energy balance and how it is utilized as energy or accumulated as fat. This is positive news for those looking to lose weight and maintain healthy lifestyle habits.

Combat Allergies

2. Rooibos Tea Can Combat Allergies

Allergies occur when your body responds to substances that are usually harmless, such as pollen, dust and animal fur. While some individuals may experience mild symptoms, severe reactions can be life-threatening for others.

It can offer relief to allergy sufferers due to its unique bioflavonoids. The rutin and quercetin found in rooibos can help alleviate the discomfort of itchy eyes and runny noses that many people experience during allergy season.

Bioflavonoids inhibit histamine release, which is the body's response to allergens. Unlike antihistamine pills, rutin and quercetin do not cause drowsiness or dry mouth. Experience the benefits of allergy relief without unwanted side effects with these natural compounds.

According to a Study in Bioscience, Biotechnology and Biochemistry, rooibos tea can potentially improve the immune response in a lab setting. The bioflavonoid quercetin present in the tea inhibits histamine release from mast cells, indicating potential benefits for those with allergies. While more research is needed, these preliminary findings suggest it could be a promising addition to allergy management.

Although there is no conclusive scientific evidence to support the use of rooibos tea for allergy treatment in humans, some anecdotal evidence suggests it may be effective. Give it a try for a natural approach to managing allergies.

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3. Helps Manage Type 2 Diabetes

3. Helps Manage Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes, characterized by elevated blood sugar levels, is the prevailing form of the disease. This condition arises when the body produces insufficient quantities of insulin, a hormone critical to regulating blood sugar, or when produced insulin fails to function as intended.

In 2022, the number of individuals living with diabetes in the UK is projected to exceed five million, marking an unprecedented high. Currently, over 4.3 million people in the UK have diabetes, with an additional 850,000 potentially affected but undiagnosed. Around 1 in 10 Americans, totalling over 37 million individuals, have diabetes. Type 2 Diabetes accounts for approximately 90-95% of these cases.

By regularly drinking rooibos, you can benefit from the abundant protective compounds found in plants, particularly polyphenols. These compounds can aid in shielding you from the oxidative harm linked to diabetes.

This plant-based beverage, contains aspalathin, a potent antioxidant that has been shown in animal studies to regulate blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity. Nevertheless, further research is required to validate these findings in humans.

4. Rooibos Tea for Skin Benefits

4. Rooibos Tea for Skin Benefits

Acne and eczema are two types of inflammatory skin conditions that typically affect different skin types. Eczema is more commonly found on dry skin, while acne tends to occur on oily or combination skin types.

Rich in compounds such as alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) which can help reduce inflammation and improve skin health. The natural AHAs found in rooibos help exfoliate the skin, reduce wrinkles, and promote a healthy complexion. Furthermore, its abundance of antioxidants helps to protect your skin from free radical damage associated with premature ageing.

In a clinical trial spanning 28 days, the combination of tea and rooibos was found to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by nearly 10 percent. The possesses properties that soothe the skin, leading to a reduction in redness and irritation, ultimately resulting in more even-toned skin. Furthermore, the presence of zinc in rooibos indicates its potential to address prevalent skin conditions, including acne and eczema.

Further studies are required, however, indications suggest that consuming one or two cups of rooibos tea daily can help maintain smooth and youthful-looking skin.

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5. Rooibos Tea Promotes a Healthy Heart

5. Rooibos Tea Promotes a Healthy Heart 

The human heart, about the size of a closed fist, is located at the centre of the chest, slightly tilted to the left. As a vital component of the circulatory system, it effectively circulates blood throughout the body with every beat. This process delivers much-needed oxygen and nutrients to all areas of the body while simultaneously removing harmful waste products and carbon dioxide.

Rooibos tea has multiple health benefits for your heart. By inhibiting angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE), it can have a positive impact on blood pressure levels, as revealed by a study. This is because ACE triggers the constriction of blood vessels, leading to increased blood pressure. Incorporate this healthy beverage into your routine to support your heart's optimal functioning.

According to a study conducted in 2011 on 40 overweight adults with a high risk of heart disease, consuming 6 cups (1,420 mL) of rooibos tea every day for 6 weeks resulted in a significant decrease in LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and an increase in HDL (good) cholesterol levels.

Maintaining healthy cholesterol levels is strongly associated with a decreased likelihood of developing heart conditions, such as heart attacks and stroke.

6. Benefits of Rooibos Tea for Insomnia

6. Benefits of Rooibos Tea for Insomnia

Insomnia is defined as a sleep disorder where you struggle to get enough rest or maintain a good quality of sleep. It can manifest as difficulty in falling asleep or waking up frequently throughout the night. While some may only experience mild discomfort from insomnia, for others, it can significantly disrupt daily life. Many different factors can contribute to insomnia, making the causes varied and complex.

If you struggle with sleeplessness for a period of fewer than three months, it is referred to as short-term insomnia. If the problem persists for more than three months, it is classified as long-term insomnia.

The calming properties can reduce levels of cortisol (the ‘stress hormone’) in the body and induce relaxation. Furthermore, its relaxing effect can assist with naturally alleviating feelings of insomnia.

An animal study found that rooibos extract could help improve overall sleep quality without causing any adverse side effects within the body. This indicates that it might be an effective alternative treatment option for people looking to manage their insomnia symptoms.

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7. Rooibos Tea Benefits Aids Bone Health

7. Rooibos Tea Benefits Aids Bone Health

Our bodies are reliant on bones for support and structure. The human skeletal system comprises 206 bones, encompassing the skull, spine, ribs, arms and legs. Bones are forged from connective tissue fortified with calcium and specialised bone cells, and many house bone marrow, the primary site for blood cell creation.

The body's musculoskeletal system comprises bones, muscles, and joints, which work together to provide support and flexibility. The skeleton not only gives structure to the body, but also safeguards vital internal organs like the brain, heart, and lungs.

Research suggests that rooibos tea benefits could improve bone health. While the evidence is limited, certain studies have indicated positive effects on osteoblasts – the cells responsible for bone formation. Discover the potential benefits of this tea.

New findings indicate that fermented rooibos may inhibit the activity of osteoclast cells - the ones responsible for breaking down bones. This discovery implies that fermented rooibos can help in building and maintaining strong bones. However, due to insufficient evidence, additional research is required.

8. Rooibos May Reduce Cancer Risk

8. Rooibos May Reduce Cancer Risk

Cancer is a medical condition in which irregular cells proliferate uncontrollably and have the potential to infiltrate nearby tissues. These cells can also migrate to other body parts via the bloodstream and lymphatic system.

It has strong antioxidant properties that may help defend against cancer-causing free radicals. Interestingly, unfermented green rooibos boasts higher levels of polyphenols than the fermented variety, resulting in more powerful antimutagenic effects in laboratory experiments.

Despite promising results in test tubes and animal studies, it remains unclear whether it has enough bio-available antioxidants to produce the same anti-cancer effects in humans. Further research is needed to confirm the potential benefits of rooibos for human health.

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Rooibos Tea for Colic Babies

9. Rooibos Tea for Colic Babies

Colic is the term used to describe an infant's frequent, intense crying or fussiness with no obvious reason, which can be frustrating for parents who are unable to comfort their distressed child. The crying often occurs in the evening when parents are already tired, adding to the stress.

Typically, colic peaks at around 6 weeks old and declines after 3 to 4 months, but it can still be challenging to manage. However, there are steps you can take to reduce the severity and duration of colic episodes while alleviating your stress and strengthening your bond with your child.

Traditionally it has been used to treat colic symptoms in babies. In a study involving 160 healthy newborns with colic, those who consumed rooibos tea experienced significantly decreased crying time compared to the placebo group. The results suggest that this herbal infusion may be useful for calming down an irritable baby due to its anti-inflammatory properties and high levels of antioxidants.

Despite these results, it’s necessary to consult a paediatrician before giving this tea to a baby. Rooibos should only be administered as a supplement and not used as a replacement for conventional therapies.

Rooibos Tea Side Effects

Rooibos Tea Side Effects

While further research is necessary, it is generally deemed safe and without adverse effects for most individuals in good health. However, a solitary case revealed that a person who consumed copious amounts of rooibos had a rise in liver enzymes. It is uncertain if this occurrence applies to the broader population, and alternative factors may have played a role.

An animal study has indicated a potential interaction between green rooibos extract and statin drugs, which are used to lower cholesterol levels. Individuals taking this medication and consuming unfermented rooibos should consult their GP for advice.

Thus, incorporating rooibos tea in moderation as a component of a well-rounded diet is improbable to pose problems for the majority of individuals.

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Rooibos Tea Pregnancy

During pregnancy, caution should always be exercised with herbal products. However, rooibos tea is generally accepted as a safe option.

If you need a soothing hot drink, look no further than rooibos tea. It's caffeine-free and a better choice than coffee, black tea, or green tea. Plus, it's completely safe to drink while breastfeeding. You can enjoy it without worrying about caffeine getting into your baby's system and it may even help you relax and produce more milk. Stick to Rooibos Tea Bags for a relaxing and safe beverage.

It is important to bear in mind that there is currently no established guideline for the safe amount of it to consume.


It is a flavorful alternative to black and green tea. Though more research is needed, it may be associated with several health benefits, such as the potential to protect against certain chronic conditions. It has also been used traditionally in southern Africa for colic babies and is generally deemed safe during pregnancy.

When consuming rooibos, it’s important to keep in mind that large amounts or regular consumption could lead to adverse effects due to its interaction with certain drugs, so moderation is key. Consult your doctor before introducing this herbal infusion into your routine.

Brain function involves a complex network of neurons, connections and neurotransmitters that allow us to think, feel, move and interact with the world. It is compromised if certain areas don’t work properly due to illness or injury.

Research has found that the benefits of matcha green tea can improve brain function by increasing concentrations of norepinephrine in the brain - a chemical known for its alertness-enhancing properties.

To understand the effects of matcha tea on brain performance, 23 people participated in a groundbreaking study. Those who consumed either matcha or its equivalent in bar form experienced improved attention and reaction time along with memory gains.

This is compared to those ingesting placebo beverages and snacks. The findings from this experiment shed new light on the potential positive impact of drinking matcha regularly on cognitive functioning.

For those looking to reap the benefits of caffeine without experiencing a post-consumption crash, L-theanine may be an ideal solution. Not only will this compound counterbalance some of the stimulating effects that come with consuming caffeine.

It has been shown to promote alertness and even induce relaxation by increasing alpha wave activity in the brain - making for improved mental clarity and lower stress levels overall.

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.