Aside from being a soothing honey drink, rooibos tea is loaded with numerous healthy components and nutrients. For a healthier life adding rooibos tea to your daily routine is a wonderful idea. Here Dr. Joseph Mercola, Mercola.com, reflects on the many health benefits of drinking rooibos tea:
“Tea may be drunk hot or cold but, either way, it’s made by infusing the dried crushed leaves of the tea plant in boiling water. Rooibos (pronounced “roy-boss”)1 is made from the fermented leaves of the Aspalathus linearis, which is native to South Africa.2 According to the South African Rooibos Council,3 it’s not a true tea but, rather, a fermented and dried herb.
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The tea is red in color and is sometimes referred to as African red tea, or red bush tea.4 It's been a popular beverage in Africa for centuries and has a sweet honey taste with a rich red hue. Green rooibos is green-brown in color and has a grassy flavor similar to green tea.
Both red and green rooibos teas are caffeine-free and have low levels of tannins, which are substances that may trigger migraines or allergies in those who are sensitive.5 More recently it’s gained popularity with tea drinkers as it is a palatable alternative to green and black tea, both of which can have a bitter taste.
The methods used to make organic rooibos tea are similar to those used more than 100 years ago. After being harvested, the stems and leaves of the Aspalathus linearis are bruised and left to ferment and oxidize.6
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The fermentation process gives the tea its distinct reddish-brown color. Keep in mind, though, there are other types of beverages also called red tea that are not rooibos, including some black teas and hibiscus tea. When the tea is not fermented, it's characterized by a green color and a grassy flavor.7
Although it undergoes less processing, green rooibos tea is often more expensive than the red variety and contains higher amounts of antioxidants.8 The flavor of red rooibos makes it perfect for a dessert tea,9 and significantly healthier than sugar-laden drinks and cakes.
History of rooibos tea
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Botanists first identified rooibos tea in 1772, but it was a housewife10 named Annique Theron who put South Africa's red tea on the map when she discovered it could calm and soothe her colicky baby when she added it to her breastmilk. She was subsequently awarded an honorary doctorate for her discovery. The South African Rooibos Council credits Theron — who later became a businesswoman selling health and beauty products — with popularizing what has become a go-to remedy.11
The tea began gaining popularity in the U.S. during World War II, a time when importing tea from Asian countries was nearly impossible. It became an excellent alternative, but the price remained high as the seeds were scarce.12
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In 1930 a local medical doctor and an amateur botanist discovered the secret of germinating the seeds, and together with a commercial farmer, developed cultivation methods that allowed them to produce rooibos on a larger scale.13
In 1980, Japanese and American scientists discovered the tea contained a powerful antioxidant and, in 1995, a medical doctor together with a South African research company discovered the tea had antiviral, anti-allergic, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.14 By 2003, rooibos tea was fully established and growing in popularity in the U.S. and Europe.
Rooibos tea flavor varies depending upon botanical content of the herb
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While there's a distinct flavor difference between red and green rooibos tea, scientists have also found a compound that contributes to the taste and feel of fermented rooibos tea. The compound, Z-2-(β-d-glucopyranosyloxy)-3-phenylpropenoic acid (PPAG), has been isolated from unfermented plant material.
Researchers found a similar compound, and analysis of the leaves of a large number of plants showed PPAG was not uniformly present in detectable quantities in the leaves of different plants on the commercial plantation.15
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During fermentation, there was a large variation in PPAG, subsequently found in infusions and food grade extracts. Researchers found it adds a slightly bitter to astringent taste to the tea, which may account for the difference in flavor in rooibos tea purchased from different manufacturers.16
This rare acid is one of the major constituents in fermented infusions and has been shown to enhance insulin release and glucose uptake in muscle cells. The results of one study17 suggest the liver is the primary target organ for bioactivity and describes how PPAG increases glucose uptake in a test tube and improves glucose tolerance in rats.
Hypoglycemic effect helps stabilize blood sugar
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Rooibos has a flavonoid profile distinctly different from those found in Camellia sinensis, from which traditional tea is derived. In addition to PPAG, rooibos tea also contains aspalathin, a component of the Aspalathus linearis plant. The effects of aspalathin, found in green rooibos tea, were evaluated in a study published in Phytomedicine.18
Scientists looked at glucose metabolism in vitro and in vivo. In the first stage they examined the effect on glucose uptake on cultured cells and insulin secretion from pancreatic beta cells. Subsequently, the researchers used mice with Type 2 diabetes and found aspalathin significantly increased glucose uptake and insulin secretion in a dose-dependent manner.19
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A second study20 found aspalalinin, which currently has only been isolated in rooibos, and a variety of other flavonoids and flavanols, including quercetin and chrysoeriol, have been isolated from the red bush. The process of fermentation gives the tea its unique reddish-brown color.
However, tea brewed from unfermented green rooibos is reported to have higher antioxidant capacity and richer bioactive constituents.21 This rich source of unique antioxidants may play a role in exerting beneficial effects against the pathophysiology of diabetes and diabetic complications.
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When fermented and administered to diabetic rats, rooibos reduced biochemical markers characterizing liver toxic effects and suppressed lipid peroxidation and enhanced glutathione-peroxidase in the blood and liver.22
Other studies have confirmed the aspalathin in rooibos can modulate glucose metabolism, suppress elevated fasting blood glucose and alleviate impaired glucose tolerance.23
Antioxidant levels of rooibos tea may contribute to multiple health benefits
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Antioxidants are sometimes called free radical scavengers as they are substances that may prevent or slow damage to your cells triggered by free radicals. Plant-based antioxidants are phytonutrients or plant-based nutrients.24 Free radicals are waste products normally produced by your cells during the process of metabolism.
Your body needs a way to remove free radicals efficiently or oxidative stress may result, harming cells and increasing your risk of disease. Oxidative stress has been linked to heart disease,25 cancer,26 arthritis,27 stroke28 and neurological disease.29 Antioxidants help neutralize free radicals, which ultimately helps to boost your overall health.”
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Read More … Article Source: https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2019/06/10/rooibos-tea-benefits.aspx
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