The Ultimate Guide To The World Of Red Tea

The Ultimate Guide To The World Of Red Tea

Every once in a while, we seem to experience a major breakthrough in the western world, discovering something that other cultures and countries have known for decades or centuries before us. Usually, these products come with unique health benefits unlike we’ve ever seen before, and once word gets out we are hooked on the results.

Turn the pages of any health and wellness magazine or read through a medical blog and you’ll no doubt find someone talking about red tea or rooibos. This amazing South African tea seems to be experiencing its time in the limelight at the moment, and it’s all thanks to how many benefits it offers the human body.

Red tea, view from above.

If you’ve never heard about rooibos before or just want to know a little more about your favorite beverage, this is the ultimate guide that can answer all of your questions and more. We’ll cover the health benefits of red tea, what makes it so amazing, and show you how to get the best use out of it.

It’s rare that we get to find a new and amazing natural product like this these days, and once you learn everything that red tea is capable of achieving you’ll wonder why it wasn’t brought to our attention sooner.

Rooibos has been around in South Africa for hundreds of years but only relatively new to the rest of us, so it’s a wonder what else we’ll discover about this naturally powerful and delicious tea as time goes on.

What Exactly Is Red Tea?

You might have heard the term red tea before, or even heard someone try to pronounce rooibos (roy-boss), but what exactly is it? Although it shares the same name as other teas, rooibos is actually from a completely different plant, a shrub called Aspalathus linearis.

The shrub is only grown in one place on earth, in the mountains of South Africa, which is why it’s taken so long for word about this miracle tea to reach our shores. When compared to other types of tea it performs exceptionally in terms of its health benefits, and it’s all thanks to the many antioxidants and other nutrients and minerals you can find in just one cup.

The most common way that people drink this tea today is either with a tea bag or from a loose leaf, and it all depends on your preference. People realize that tea drinkers are usually quite loyal to how they like to brew and sip on their favorite drink, and the exact same can be said for red tea.

For some, the taste may be a little strange at first, and they might like to add milk and sugar just as they would with their other cups of tea. Others prefer the flavor, though, and love to drink it without anything added, feeling that this allows them to get even more of the benefits that it offers.

Other names for this tea are red tea, bush tea, and redbush tea, depending on where you come from. The one thing that remains the same, though, is the deliciously sweet and nutty taste that it offers and the myriad health benefits that you can get from having a regular intake of it.

Where Does Rooibos Tea Come From?

One reason why we’ve known so little about red tea until recently is that it is only grown in South Africa. The tea must grow on the Cederberg mountain range which is in the Western Cape of the country, as the conditions there are ideal for its survival and growth.

Cederberg mountain range, rooibos tea production.

The shrub is grown until ready and then picked for processing, from there undergoing an oxidation method like most other teas use. Once processed, the tea gets its reddish brown color which lends it the name ‘red tea’ and also enhances the flavor at the same time.

There are also green rooibos plants which are unoxidized, however, these are less common but more expensive. When compared to other types of tea, this green rooibos has some of the highest levels of antioxidants found in any other of the beverage, which is why it’s become such a wanted commodity.

The shrub grows broom like leaves which are picked for processing, and once brewed they are said to have an earthy taste. As the popularity of this type of tea continues to grow, the export of it is has grown with it, and there are now many different farms that offer the tea to be enjoyed in other countries.

However, just as with other types of teas, there are questions regarding the sustainability and ethical practices of the farming methods, leaving many people to look for organically grown rooibos instead.

The Chemical Composition Of Rooibos

Although we all know that tea is powerfully beneficial for our health, there’s actually a lot more to it than that. To understand what makes red tea so good for us, it’s helpful to look at the chemical composition so we can better learn what parts of it are so special.

When looking at the fresh leaf, rooibos has a very high level of vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid. In addition, it also contains polyphenols like flavones, nothofagin, and aspalathin, all known to be some of the most highly beneficial ingredients you can find in tea.

One of the biggest bonuses of rooibos is that it is naturally caffeine free, so it’s the perfect choice of drink for people who want to avoid this. When compared to other teas it is also very low in tannin, giving it yet another advantage over traditional types of tea that so many people know and love.

The grading of rooibos is largely related to the appearance of stem or the ‘needle’ in blends, with many people believing that this actually helps the flavor of the tea. The higher grades of this tea are usually used for export only and not sold locally, with countries like Germany using the tea to then create additional loose leaf tea blends.

When looking at the nutritional information regarding red tea, it’s important to note that there is no sugar, no calories, and no fat found in the plant. This makes it a great choice for anyone looking to lose weight or move away from drinking soda, especially because it can be enjoyed hot or cold.

The Benefits Of Drinking Rooibos

These days, when we find a new product or food like this we instantly want to know what makes it so good.

Woman drinking red tea.

You’ve likely heard people talk about rooibos before, and the reason that it’s become as popular as it has is because of all the benefits it offers.

  • Caffeine free - One of the biggest selling points of red tea is that it’s caffeine free, which means you won’t get any of the sleeplessness or jittery feelings commonly associated with the beverage. Many people even drink a cup before bed to promote a good sleep and find it helps them drift off easier.
  • High in polyphenols - Many antioxidants are polyphenols so finding something that has such naturally high levels as this is important. These chemical compounds are found in plants and red tea has a huge number of them, so it’s a great way to get your daily dose of antioxidants. 
  • Improves heart health - Rooibos tea works in more ways than one to improve heart health. Firstly, it can inhibit the growth of an enzyme that causes blood vessels to contract and raise your blood pressure. Secondly, it actively lowers bad cholesterol in your body making you healthier overall and reducing your risk of heart disease.
  • Protects against free radicals - Our cells become damaged daily by free radicals, and red tea works to restore those cells and also protect them from further damage. Free radicals are responsible for oxidative stress, so it’s important to stay protected.
  • Reduces the risk of cancer - Studies have proven that red tea can be beneficial in fighting against cancer, as it contains both luteolin and quercetin. These ingredients work at inhibiting the growth of tumors as well as killing cancer cells.
  • Regulates blood sugar levels - Anyone who suffers from diabetes or erratic blood sugar levels will benefit from a few cups of red tea a day. This is all thanks to the aspalathin present and is a great natural remedy to prevent diabetes and help people to manage the existing condition.
  • Improves the appearance of skin and hair - Not only does red tea help to alleviate skin conditions like eczema, but it can make your skin and hair glow like never before. The antioxidants and alpha hydroxy acid found in rooibos are what directly impacts the hair and skin in positive ways.
  • Curbs appetite - Many people use rooibos as a weight loss tool because it naturally curbs your appetite. This means you’re less likely to reach for junk food and unhealthy snacks, leading to a dramatic loss of weight quickly. 
  • Removes fat cells - Rooibos can actually remove fat cells from the body and prevent further fat cells from developing, making it one of the most effective weight loss substances on the market today.

Potential Drawbacks And Side Effects

Even with the most natural and organic products around, there is still the potential for some side effects to occur.

Rooibos tea is quite safe in the recommended quantities however when people go above and beyond what they should be drinking each day there may be the chance you’ll experience some side effects.

  • Breathing problems or feeling short of breath;
  • Exhibit estrogenic activity;
  • Chemical driven liver damage;
  • Upset stomach;

Although these side effects might sound scary, they are really only a threat when you’re taking too much of the tea. The recommended daily amount is six cups, however, that doesn’t mean you have to try and drink that much every day just to get the benefits.

Drinking Rooibos Tea During Pregnancy

Many women struggle during pregnancy because of a lack of food and drink options, as many things are now restricted that they once were able to enjoy. Rooibos tea has been proven to be safe for pregnant women and breastfeeding moms, and even recommended as a safe and healthy alternative to caffeinated drinks.

Pregnant woman in red dress drinking tea.

As with anything during pregnancy, you need to stick to the recommended dosage and never exceed it. However, many people find that the natural benefits of rooibos are even greater during pregnancy and can help promote a restful sleep, reduce the likelihood of headaches, and even help some women with reducing morning sickness and nausea.

The only concern that may be relevant for breastfeeding women is when mixing red tea with other supplements and vitamins. If you are taking anything else during this time, it’s always best to consult with a health professional who can lead you in the right direction. However, the benefits of rooibos can definitely be seen and enjoyed during pregnancy and while your baby is still young and breastfed.

Rooibos Tea And Weight Loss

One of the biggest benefits that rooibos has is its weight loss properties, so in addition to being packed full of health benefits, it’s also great for shedding a few pounds. Many companies nowadays feature red tea as one of their ingredients when promoting a weight loss product, and it’s easy to see why when you look at the results it has.

Rooibos works in two ways to help you lose weight, with the first being its natural ability to suppress the appetite. If you’re someone who is always snacking or reaching for unhealthy food choices, having a cup of rooibos there for you all day to sip on can be one of the easiest ways to stop this habit.

Secondly, and most importantly, rooibos contains aspalathin which is a bioflavonoid. This unique chemical actually gets to work where you can’t see it and inhibits the fat storage hormones within your body. This means that drinking the tea will not only stop your appetite but will also strip fat away from your body as you do.

The tea works by stopping your body from storing fat and attacking the fat that’s already there, so as long as you’re using it with a nutritious and balanced diet, you’ll be well on your way to dramatic weight loss. Some who have used it even claim to have lost over 5 pounds in just the first week, which is a testament to how powerful this natural source is.

Because rooibos is a natural source, many prefer to use this method of weight loss rather than reaching for dangerous pills and prescription medicines. When used in conjunction with other natural ingredients, the powers of red tea are even more prominent and can have a huge impact on weight loss for all types of people.

What Is Green Rooibos?

Although the most common type of rooibos is known as red tea, there is also another form which is gaining popularity. Green rooibos is from the exact same plant that its red counterpart comes from, however, it’s just been processed differently.

Green Rooibos.

When red rooibos is processed, the leaves are oxidized and bruised which helps them get their flavor, but green rooibos is a little different. This tea is the stage before the processing and means that the leaves are treated so that they can’t oxidize, giving a completely different taste altogether.

Green rooibos is usually more expensive to buy because it’s believed to have more antioxidants, however, the studies aren’t yet conclusive enough. The taste of the green rooibos is more light than red and some think it has more of a sweet flavor that requires little or no sweetener.

When compared to the health benefits, these are much the same as rooibos. Green rooibos features no caffeine as well and also has low levels of tannin, making it a lot more attractive thank black and green tea which many people drink as their preference.

Red Tea Vs Other Teas

Whenever a new product like this comes out, it’s natural to want to know how it stacks up against the competition. Although not technically from the same type of plant that most tea comes from, red tea is still often compared to the likes of black or green tea to see how it performs. Here are a few key areas of difference:

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    Antioxidants: Tea is known for its antioxidant properties, and all kinds of tea are happy to boast quite a large amount of them. Antioxidants are good for treating a range of problems, helping to prevent premature aging, and giving you an overall healthy body and mind.
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    Caffeine: One of the biggest advantages of red tea is that it has no caffeine in it, however, if you’re someone who drinks tea for an energy boost this might not be a pro to you. Green tea has about half the caffeine of black tea, but both types are low in tannin.
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    Health Benefits: All types of tea have health benefits, it just varies for each type. Red tea covers quite a wide range of areas in the body, compared to those like green tea which is mainly used for prevention of cancer and other disease or black tea which is good for circulation.
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    Taste: There are conflicting ideas on what red tea tastes like, but the most common response is woody, fruity, and nutty. People drink it without sweeteners most commonly but there’s nothing stopping people from adding milk, honey, sugar, lemon, or anything else to improve its taste.
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    Brewing Method: Just like other teas, the most common way to enjoy red tea is with a tea bag or loose leaf. However, in order to get the best taste and maximum health benefits, you should let it steep for five minutes or longer, which is a lot more than other types.
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    Price: The cheapest type of tea available is black tea, and it can vary quite significantly in quality and price. Red tea is on the upper end of the price scale, though, but this is mainly due to its rarity and huge health benefits.

A Miracle Tea With Numerous Benefits

The hype surrounding red tea is something that surely won’t die down for many years, as we seem to learn more and more about what it can offer us as time goes on. This amazing South African tea has already given us so much to be thankful for, and there’s no telling what other results it might offer in the future.

Products like this which have been used by locals for centuries but only just reached our shores are usually those that have the most benefits, as they might have tried to keep their wonder a secret. Everyone from pregnant women to seriously ill patients can benefit from drinking a few cups of red tea each day, though, so we’re glad it’s not a secret anymore.

Red tea.

In order to get the most benefits from this astounding type of tea, you need to shop for the very best product on the market. Your tea will only be able to offer you as much as possible for the quality that it holds, so don’t think that getting a cheaper product will result in the same health benefits as one of the more potent blends.

If you’ve been looking for a natural solution that can answer so many of your health problems from weight loss to improving heart health, rooibos can give you everything you need. Check out our in-depth buying guide that can show you how to source the purest and best quality red tea so that you’re able to benefit from all this and more.

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