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Rooibos

ROOIBOS TEA FACTS

  • Rooibos is not a true tea, but a herb. The brew made from the dried Rooibos leaves is therefore a herbal infusion (known as a tisane) rather than a tea, but is widely known as Rooibos tea.

  • Rooibos has a distinctive colour, flavour and aroma, which differentiates it from most other teas. The flavour can be described as slightly sweet and fruity.
  • The vibrant amber colour of Rooibos comes from the natural colour that develops during the post-harvest “fermentation” (oxidation) process, brought about by natural enzymes in the plant.
  • Rooibos is a pure and natural product, as it contains no colourants, additives or preservatives.
  • Rooibos has no kilojoules.
  • Rooibos is graded according to colour, flavour, and cut length.
  • Rooibos ages well and can be stored for long periods without any deterioration in quality, flavour and taste.In many countries Rooibos is enjoyed as a hot or cold beverage without milk, with or without sweeteners. Many South Africans enjoy Rooibos as a hot beverage with milk, sweetened with sugar or honey

 

GREEN ROOIBOS

  • Green Rooibos is made from the same plant as traditional Rooibos. The only difference is in the processing. For traditional Rooibos, the green leaves and stems of the plant are crushed and “fermented” before drying. The fermentation step is actually an oxidation process brought about by enzymes and chemicals naturally present in the plant. In the case of green Rooibos, the fermentation process is skipped, and the “green” leaves and stems are dried directly. Different processes are used to prevent oxidation.
  • Green (unfermented) Rooibos infusion has a lighter tan/yellow colour and a very mild "green" taste reminiscent of green tea.
  • Green Rooibos has higher levels of antioxidants than traditional fermented Rooibos and demonstrates even higher antioxidant and - in some cases - antimutagenic (cancer-fighting) activities.
  • Most green Rooibos is exported. It is used as a tea and in extract form in beauty and nutraceutical products. (A nutraceutical is any food substance that provides medical or health benefits, including the prevention and treatment of disease.)

ROOIBOS HEALTH FACTS

  • Rooibos is a good source of antioxidants and is the only known source of a potent antioxidant aspalathin, which could play a role in combating several lifestyle diseases.
  • Unlike black and green teas, Rooibos is naturally caffeine free (not decaffeinated) and therefore suitable for children, infants and breast-feeding mothers.
  • Rooibos has proven cancer-fighting properties in animal research studies.
  • Rooibos contains low amounts of tannin. (Tannins are astringent, bitter-tasting plant polyphenols that bind and precipitate proteins and interfere with iron absorption in the body.)
  • After centuries of use, no negative side effects of Rooibos have ever been recorded.
  • In Japan, Rooibos is called “Long Life Tea” and considered an anti-ageing beverage. Many Japanese women also believe that Rooibos tea offer special benefits during pregnancy.

ROOIBOS ANTIOXIDANTS

  • Rooibos contains a complex and abundant blend of antioxidants.
  • Rooibos is the only known source of a specifically beneficial and rare antioxidant called aspalathin.
  • Unfermented (green) Rooibos has higher levels of antioxidants than traditional, fermented Rooibos.
  • The antioxidant content of Rooibos also depends on the soil conditions of the region where the plant was grown, and on how the infusion was prepared, i.e. ratio of leaves to water, temperature of the water, extraction time, stirring, etcetera.

 

ROOIBOS vs CANCER, HEART DISEASE, AND MORE …

  • Rooibos slows down the development of cancerous skin lesions.
  • The complex mixture of polyphenols in Rooibos may help protect against free radicals. (Free radicals are unstable molecules that can damage the DNA in cells, leading to cancer.)
  • These free radicals can also oxidise cholesterol, leading to clogged blood vessels, heart attack and stroke. The antioxidants in Rooibos can neutralize these free radicals and help to limit their impact.
  • Rooibos increases the antioxidant status of rat’s livers. This could result in Rooibos being used in the treatment of chronic liver disease. Based on recent research done in the Slovak Republic, this research team recommend Rooibos for people with chronic liver problems.
  • Rooibos protects the brains of aged rats against oxidative damage. This could play a role in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Many of these findings require more research before specific recommendations about the use of Rooibos can be made, and therefore several research groups around the world are currently working on Rooibos.
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