Rooibos

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    Last Updated: September 28, 2022

    Rooibos (Aspalathus linearis) is a semi-sweet tea touted for its potent antioxidant properties; despite being highly palatable and marketed, the poor absorption of the main bioactive (aspalathin) suggests a limit to its health promoting properties.

    Rooibos is most often used for .

    Summary

    Rooibos tea is a tea brewed pretty much exclusively from the plant Aspalathus linearis, and it is becoming a more popular beverage to drink in part due to its taste (being semi-sweet and less bitter than green and black tea) and having a low to no caffeine content, as well as marketing suggesting its antioxidant properties are healthful.

    When looking at the main claim, the bioactives in Rooibos appear to be relatively potent antioxidant but even when tested in vitro (outside of a living body) they are not as potent as the green tea catechins; the main bioactive, aspalanthin, also has a pretty poor absorption in living models which limits how it can increase plasma oxidation capacity. The antioxidant potential of Rooibos is present, but both lacklustre as well as unreliable.

    There are some potential benefits to drinking this tea even when low absorption is considered. It is said that the tea can alleviate intestinal distress and it does appear to have some relaxing effects in the intestines, but there is no evidence in humans at this point in time (and for that claim, peppermint would be a more prudent option). It appears to inhibit glucose absorption from the intestines as well, which may be an anti-obesogenic and anti-diabetic property, but no human studies exist at this point in time.

    Currently, Rooibos is interesting due to being a palatable tea option but there is not enough evidence to support much health benefits associated with it aside from the standard beneficial (and small of magnitude) changes to unhealthy persons that are seen with any antioxidant compound.

    What are other names for Rooibos

    Note that Rooibos is also known as:
    • Aspalathus linearis
    • Red Bush Tea
    Rooibos should not be confused with:
    • Astaxanthin (sounds similar to aspalathin and is also red)

    Dosage information

    Not enough information is known to evaluate the optimal dosage or Rooibos as a tea or as a supplement, although it appears that the minimum effective dose in humans has been a cup of tea brewed from 750mg of the plant.

    A daily intake of 750-3,000mg of the tea leaves, preferably in multiple doses with meals, might be optimal

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    Examine Database References

    1. High-density lipoprotein (HDL) - Marnewick JL, Rautenbach F, Venter I, Neethling H, Blackhurst DM, Wolmarans P, Macharia MEffects of rooibos (Aspalathus linearis) on oxidative stress and biochemical parameters in adults at risk for cardiovascular diseaseJ Ethnopharmacol.(2011 Jan 7)
    2. Oxidative Stress Biomarkers - Till Breitera, Christian Laueb, Gaby Kressel, Stephanie Gröll, Ulrich H. Engelhardt, Andreas HahnBioavailability and antioxidant potential of rooibos flavonoids in humans following the consumption of different rooibos formulationsFood Chemistry.()
    3. Oxidative Stress Biomarkers - Débora Villaño, Monia Pecorari, Maria Francesca Testa, Anna Raguzzini, Angelique Stalmach, Alan Crozier, Claudio Tubili, Mauro SerafiniUnfermented and fermented rooibos teas (Aspalathus linearis) increase plasma total antioxidant capacity in healthy humansFood Chemistry.()
    4. Heart Rate - Persson IA, Persson K, Hägg S, Andersson RGEffects of green tea, black tea and Rooibos tea on angiotensin-converting enzyme and nitric oxide in healthy volunteersPublic Health Nutr.(2010 May)
    5. Hydration (Total Body Water) - Utter AC, Quindry JC, Emerenziani GP, Valiente JSEffects of rooibos tea, bottled water, and a carbohydrate beverage on blood and urinary measures of hydration after acute dehydrationRes Sports Med.(2010 Apr)