11 Amazing Health Benefits of Red Rooibos Tea

by Meenakshi Nagdeve last updated - Medically reviewed by Vanessa Voltolina (MS, RD)

Rooibos tea, also known as red tea, is more than just a refreshing beverage; it’s a wellspring of health benefits. Native to South Africa, this herbal tea is derived from the Aspalathus linearis shrub. Unlike traditional teas, it’s naturally caffeine-free and boasts a unique red hue post-fermentation. Praised for its medicinal properties, rooibos tea offers a bounty of antioxidants, supports heart health, manages diabetes, improves bone strength, and even aids in skincare. This blog delves into the myriad health advantages of red rooibos tea, exploring how this delightful drink can contribute to overall wellness.

What is Rooibos Tea or Red Tea?

Rooibos tea or red tea is an herbal beverage, touted to have medicinal properties. Rooibos is acquired from the Aspalathus linearis, [1] a shrub found in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. According to the South African Rooibos Council, rooibos is not a true tea, but an herb. The fermented and dried tea is red in color and is also referred to as African red tea or red bush tea. The health benefits of red rooibos tea are abundant. [2]

Health Benefits of Red Rooibos Tea

Red rooibos tea is one of the best beverages for those who care about their overall health. The beneficial factors that have been positively correlated with red rooibos tea are listed below.

Rich in Antioxidants

Red rooibos tea is a treasure trove of antioxidants, making it a delightful and healthful choice. Two key antioxidants, aspalathin and nothofagin, grace this South African brew, fortifying your immune system and shielding your body from various ailments, including diabetic complications. [3]

Delving deeper into its antioxidant arsenal, rooibos tea boasts polyphenols, flavonols, flavonoids, and dihydrochalcones, each with its unique anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antimutagenic qualities. Polyphenols, celebrated for their antioxidant prowess, are prominent among these compounds. [4] [5] [6]

A South African study underscores the liver-boosting potential of red rooibos tea, emphasizing its role in delivering potent antioxidants to this vital organ. Another study observed a 6.6% increase in blood antioxidant levels in participants who enjoyed red rooibos, further highlighting its potential health benefits. [7] [8]

A cup of rooibos tea and loose leaves on a white table

Rooibos tea has a mild taste and is great for people who love having a light cup of tea. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Improves Heart Health

Red rooibos tea, with its anti-inflammatory properties, emerges as a natural elixir for improving heart health. Swedish researchers conducted a study that revealed red rooibos tea’s potential as a natural angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor, contributing to blood pressure regulation and overall heart well-being. [9]

This health-boosting brew also contains quercetin, a potent antioxidant known for its heart-protective qualities. Quercetin not only promotes an increase in HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) but also hinders LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) from adhering to artery and blood vessel walls. [10]

Managing Diabetes

Aspalathin, one of the antioxidants found in rooibos tea, has several unique qualities. A study published in the journal Molecules in 2018 found that aspalathin in rooibos tea can help balance blood sugar, improve insulin resistance and glucose absorption by muscles, and boost insulin secretion from the pancreas. This results in an ideal defensive shield against developing type 2 diabetes.  [11]

By balancing blood sugar, rooibos tea can also protect people with diabetes. It prevents blood sugar spikes and drops that are detrimental to overall health, as per a 2019 study. [12]

Improves Bone Health

Red rooibos tea serves as a natural tonic for your bones and teeth, thanks to its rich mineral content. This South African brew boasts essential minerals like fluoride, calcium, and manganese, which play a pivotal role in maintaining robust bone structure and dental health. By enhancing the bioavailability of these minerals in your body, red rooibos tea can help reduce the risk of conditions such as arthritis, osteoporosis, and chronic joint pain. [13]

Surprisingly, red rooibos tea also contains a significant amount of fluoride, a mineral typically associated with dental health. Fluoride is a common ingredient in mouthwash and toothpaste due to its benefits for dental care. [14]

Furthermore, a study suggests that green, black, and rooibos tea can enhance osteoblast activity, reinforcing the idea that tea consumption may promote better bone health(Reference 3). Additionally, fermented rooibos tea exhibits a potent inhibitory effect on osteoclasts, potentially offering further benefits for bone health. [15] [16]

Reduces Allergies

Red rooibos tea emerges as a promising ally in the battle against allergies, primarily due to its quercetin content, a potent anti-inflammatory compound. While it’s already prescribed for asthma and topical allergic reactions, further clinical trials and research are essential to fully substantiate its anti-allergen properties. [17]

This healthful brew also acts as a bronchodilator, which can bring relief to symptoms like wheezing and coughing associated with allergic rhinitis and asthma [18]

Skin Care

Unveil the secret to radiant skin with red rooibos tea, enriched with alpha-hydroxy acid and zinc, renowned for their skin-nourishing properties. A South African study has unveiled the tea’s ability to rejuvenate aging cells, making it a natural skincare powerhouse. Alpha-hydroxy acids, a rare find in natural products, can diminish wrinkles and premature aging signs, promoting youthful skin. [19]

But that’s not all; the antioxidants and minerals in red rooibos tea shield your skin from free radical damage, reducing inflammation, redness, and enhancing skin elasticity and hydration [20]

Relieving Stomach Cramps

This tea is a rich source of antispasmodic agents, which can ease severe stomach cramps and abdominal pains. This is mainly due to the activation of K+ (potassium) ions in the body without antagonizing the activities of calcium, according to a report published in Basic & Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology. This can reduce the presence of hyperactivity in the gastrointestinal tract, thus preventing diarrhea and other intestinal issues. [21]

Lowers Blood Pressure

Rooibos tea is known to relieve stress, nervous tension, and hypertensive conditions. Hypertension, commonly known as high blood pressure, is practically impacted by rooibos tea, which acts as a bronchodilator (increasing airflow to the lungs). [22]

A research study with 17 volunteers showed that drinking a single cup of rooibos tea (as well as green tea) helped inhibit the angiotensin-converting enzyme. This enzyme causes our blood pressure to increase by contracting blood vessels. This study shows that drinking this tea may assist in lowering blood pressure. [23]


Rooibos tea is completely caffeine-free and is therefore recommended for patients suffering from insomnia. A cup of rooibos beverage just before going to bed can help you sleep better, according to research in Economic Botany.  [24]

By removing caffeine from your diet, you may also lower your stress levels, improve mood, and enhance your heart health. Organic, caffeine-free rooibos tisane gives you energy and health benefits without this dangerously addictive substance. [25]

Health benefits of red rooibos tea infographic

Rich in antioxidants, a cup of red rooibos tea is packed with goodness

Prevents Kidney Stones

There is some anecdotal evidence that red rooibos tea can help people with kidney stone problems. This is because it has no caffeine or oxalic acid. People with kidney stones are discouraged from drinking too much tea because most teas contain oxalic acid.

Oxalic acid is a crystal-forming substance. It can make the presence of calcium stones or other painful growth in the kidneys even worse by making them larger. According to the book, South African Cookbook rooibos tea has very little oxalic acid, which makes it suitable for people prone to kidney stones [26]

Delays Aging

The antioxidants present in rooibos tea slow down the aging process and boost the strength of the immune system. South African researchers found that the local herb helps slow down the degeneration of fat cells, thus inhibiting the formation of wrinkles. Antioxidants in the tea seek out free radicals that damage the skin, hair, bones, and other organ systems.

Antioxidant-rich rooibos tea is one of the most potent beverages which helps keep the body young. It also helps in keeping your cognitive intact, because it reduces the impact of oxidative byproducts in neural pathways, thus stimulating concentration and focus. [27]

Where to Buy Red Rooibos Tea?

It is easy to make this tea at home. All you need is either of these products:

  • Red rooibos tea bags
  • Red rooibos loose-leaf tea

Both are available online or in gourmet grocery stores. You can also get flavored versions available in chocolate, vanilla, and so on.

If you come across green rooibos tea, don’t get confused! Green rooibos tea is when the rooibos herb is steamed and dried immediately. It remains green in color and has a more grass-like flavor.

What Does Red Rooibos Tea Taste Like?

Rooibos tea has a naturally sweet and mild flavor, with nutty tones, and can be brewed on its own. South Africans traditionally drink their red rooibos tea is with a splash of milk and a little sugar or honey. The flavor deepens the longer you steep the tea leaves, becoming richer and more full-bodied.

How to Make Rooibos Tea?

To make the tea, use a level teaspoon or a teabag in a hot cup of water. The procedure is similar to making black tea. Let the tea leaves or the tea bag brew in boiled water. You can take it hot or cold. Feel free to add a dash of milk and sugar or honey, just as they do in South Africa. Enjoy your hot cup of tea in any way you prefer!

Side Effects

Despite all these health benefits of rooibos tea, there can be a downside for some people.

  • Rooibos has shown estrogenic activities in certain studies and may interfere with hormonal activity. [28]
  • Few cases of liver toxicity caused by the intake of red rooibos tea have been reported. It is advised to consult with an oncologist if this is your situation. [29]
  • Finally, if you have any existing kidney or liver conditions, rooibos might be more harmful than helpful. It should be used as a preventive measure for these conditions, not as a cure.

Make sure you speak to your doctor before adding any new dietary elements or beverages to your normal routine, particularly something as powerful as rooibos tea!

Other than that, enjoy and drink to your good health!

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About the Author

Meenakshi Nagdeve, Co-Founder, Organic Facts is a health and wellness enthusiast and is responsible for managing it. She has completed the Nutrition And Healthy Living Cornell Certificate Program, Cornell University, US. She holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Management from IIM Bangalore and B. Tech in Metallurgical Engineering and Materials Science from IIT Bombay. Prior to this, she worked for a few years in IT and Financial services. An ardent follower of naturopathy, she believes in healing with foods. In her free time, she loves to travel and taste different types of teas.

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