Green, black, oolong, herbal…..there are so many choices when it comes to tea.  I have to confess that I have never liked tea.  I was a no coffee and tea type of girl and only stuck to hot chocolate.  I ended up having a flare up of my acid reflux and really wanted something warm and remembered that my Mom drinks rooibos so thought I would give that a try.   Chocolate often upsets my stomach when I have a reflux attack so I knew better about not ordering a hot chocolate.  I was surprised at how much I actually enjoyed the vanilla rooibos tea.  This little gem is still not well known so I want to make people aware of all of the amazing things packed in this South African ‘red bush’ tea.

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What roobois tea looks like

Rooibos is becoming more popular in Western countries, particularly among health-conscious consumers, due to its high level of antioxidants such as aspalathin and nothofagin, its lack of caffeine and its low tannin levels compared to fully oxidized black tea or unoxidized green tea leaves. Rooibos also contains a number of phenolic compounds, including flavanols, flavones, flavanones, and dihydrochalcones.

Rooibos is purported to assist with nervous tension, allergies and digestive problems (perfect for my symptoms I was experiencing). Rooibos tea has been shown to inhibit in vitro activity of xanthine oxidase, but an in vivo study has not been conducted

. Xanthine oxidase (XO) plays a role in conversion of purine to uric acid in humans and reducing the activity of XO could limit uric acid production, which would aid in treatment of gout. In in vitro tests only, for the specific concentration tested, the infusion was shown to be less than half as effective as allopurinol, which is the drug typically prescribed to inhibit XO activity in treating gout.

Two flavonoids found in rooibos, quercetin and luteolin, have been known to have can

cer fighting qualities.   I was particularly intrigued by this as cancer runs in my family.  Rooibos does not contain the antioxidant Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) found in tea.

Traditional medicinal uses of rooibos in South Africa include alleviating infantile colic, allergies, asthma and dermatological problems.  Human studies of rooibos are scarce in scientific literature. Animal studies show that rooibos has potent antioxidant, immune-modulating and chemopreventive effects.  A review found no documentation of adverse side effects of consuming rooibos tea.

In 2011, researchers conducted a trial to test the effects of rooibos on various biological markers considered to be indicative of risk for cardiovascular disease and other degenerative diseases. A high intake of rooibos tea resulted in significant reductions in lipid peroxidation, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and an increase in HDL cholesterol levels compared with the control group. The researchers concluded that rooibos lowered risk factors.

Many stores and tea shops carry this type of tea so next time you’re out, why not try it?  Starbucks has vanilla rooibos.  David’s Tea has a whole wall which include flavours like birthday cake (Yum!) mint chocolate and currant affair.  Teavana has flavours like blueberry bliss, chai and tropical nut paradise.

Whatever your taste buds prefer, do your research for the healthiest tea for you.

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Enjoying my mint chocolate rooibos tea from David’s tea in my timolino (this travel mug seriously keeps your tea hot for more than 3 hours!!)

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