You've heard all about the health benefits of green tea, but have you heard about healing properties of red bush tea?
Red bush tea (called "Rooibos" in Afrikaans, pronounced "roy-boss") comes from the Red bush plant in South Africa, and has been used for centuries. The tea itself is made from its needle-shaped leaves, blossoms, and stems that have been washed, fermented, and packaged. While the wild-growing bush is native to South Africa, it has been commercially cultivated in other areas, particularly in the United Kingdom. Low in tannins and completely caffeine-free, red bush tea is rapidly becoming one of the trendiest health teas around.
Rich in Antioxidants
According to Vibrant Life, red bush tea is full of polyphenol antioxidants, substances that protect the body against the damaging effects of free-radicals. Free-radicals are molecules produced by the breakdown of certain foods, or environmental toxins, such as cigarette smoke and pollution. Those unstable molecules bond with healthy molecules in the body, thereby weakening them and often destroying them. Free-radicals can cause ageing, damage to healthy tissue and certain diseases. Polyphenol antioxidants, such as those contained in red bush tea, slow down and neutralise the damage caused by free-radicals.
There is some debate over the significance of the value of vitamin C in rooibos tea, but according to herbs2000.com, even though the vitamin makes up less than 1 per cent of all the tea's nutrients, this is still nutritionally significant -- perhaps in contrast to common teas, which have no vitamin C. Vitamin C is an important nutrient, as it is an antioxidant and is essential for the healing of wounds and repairing damage to the skin.
Flavonoids are a type of antioxidant believed to reduce the risk of respiratory symptoms, and have anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties. According to Vibrant Life.com, because of these healthful properties, red bush tea is often used to relieve congested bronchial tracts, help with conditions such as allergies and eczema, as well as soothe colicky babies and adults with intestinal spasms. However, most of these claims of aid are anecdotal and are not validated by scientific research.
Fight Against Cancer?
The online magazine "Science in Africa" states that research has shown rooibos tea to protect against the potential onset of cancer in animals. In the study, mice with skin cancer were treated topically with red bush tea, while a control group received no treatment. The mice that received the treatment had 70 per cent fewer tumours than those in the control group. The treated mice also showed smaller tumours with slower growth. Similar results were found in rats with liver cancer that drank rooibos tea. While these studies have not yet been replicated in humans, the results are nonetheless promising.
Help with insomnia
According to herbs2000.com, in South Africa, Red bush tea is often prepared at bedtime because it acts as a sleep aid. The tea has properties that calm the neurons responsible for wakefulness, and influences the metabolism of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is reponsible for nerve impulses.