Rooibos tea is everywhere these days.
It has been enjoying a surge in popularity.
Primarily, people tout it as a great caffeine-free alternative to coffee, or green or black tea.
But that is far from the only benefit. And it has its drawbacks as well.
While many rave about the tea, few actually know all the pros and cons of rooibos tea.
That changes now.
Keep reading to learn all about the advantages and disadvantages of rooibos. We will cover everything you need to know about this popular, healthy, and delicious herbal tea from South Africa.
Table of Contents
- 1 Pros And Cons Of Rooibos Tea
- 1.1 Pros Of Rooibos Tea
- 1.1.1 Great Alternative To Black Tea And Caffeinated Beverages
- 1.1.2 Great Sleepy-Time Tea
- 1.1.3 Great For People With Calcium Oxalate Stones
- 1.1.4 Dermatological Benefits
- 1.1.5 Anti-Inflammatory And Antispasmodic
- 1.1.6 Beneficial For Overall Health And Wellness
- 1.1.7 Adds A Ton Of Flavor To Various Dishes
- 1.2 Cons Of Rooibos Tea
- 1.3 Is It Good To Drink Rooibos Every Day?
- 1.4 Which Is Better: Green Tea Or Rooibos?
- 1.1 Pros Of Rooibos Tea
- 2 Rooibos Tea Benefits And Drawbacks: Final Thoughts
Pros And Cons Of Rooibos Tea
Rooibos (Aspalathus linearis) tea does not have any caffeine, tannins, and oxalic acid. It is also rich in antioxidants, polyphenols, and flavonoids.
This makes it an excellent choice for people looking for healthy alternatives to caffeinated beverages, black tea, etc. The major disadvantage or con of rooibos tea is that it is estrogenic, which could be an issue for people with hormone-sensitive cancers.
Let’s begin with the advantages of rooibos tea. Then we will get into much more detail on its disadvantages.
Pros Of Rooibos Tea
Rooibos has a number of great benefits and some major advantages over black or green tea or coffee. Let’s take a look.
Great Alternative To Black Tea And Caffeinated Beverages
Coffee and tea are great pick-me-up beverages, but excess consumption of both drinks does have side effects. For example, too much caffeine consumption has been linked to heart palpitations, sleep issues, headaches, and dehydration.
Similarly, black tea is known to interfere with iron absorption, making it unsuitable for people with anemia. Moreover, black tea has been linked to anxiety, restlessness, ringing in the ears, high blood pressure, and heart palpitations.
Since rooibos (or red bush tea) does not contain tannins and caffeine, it can be a wonderful and healthy alternative for people suffering from the above effects of tea and coffee.
The great news is that the nutty, malty, and earthy flavor profile of rooibos tea even mimics the taste of black tea or chai latte (especially when you add frothy milk and honey).
Great Sleepy-Time Tea
Rooibos is a refreshing drink that you can enjoy throughout the day. The fact that the tea is devoid of caffeine and other stimulants also makes it a wonderful bedtime tea.
The minerals and vitamins in rooibos combined with its polyphenols and flavonoids help reduce stress-inducing cortisol. This could improve sleep quality, leaving you feeling refreshed and well-rested in the morning.
Great For People With Calcium Oxalate Stones
For people suffering from calcium oxalate stones (like kidney stones), rooibos tea can be a great alternative to beverages containing oxalic acid. Some drinks with high-oxalate content are instant coffee, black tea, chocolate drinks, and beer.
Since rooibos tea is completely devoid of oxalates, it won’t increase the oxalic acid in your blood, making it a healthier drink for people prone to kidney stones.
Rooibos tea has wonderful benefits for the skin. Sufferers of dermatitis and eczema have reported fewer flare-ups after consuming rooibos.
Some people even use it topically to soothe skin rashes and acne. The quercetin content of rooibos combined with alpha hydroxy acids and zinc can reduce wrinkles and make your skin glow.
The tea’s high antioxidant content makes it a fantastic tool in your arsenal against premature skin aging.
Anti-Inflammatory And Antispasmodic
The antioxidants in rooibos also fight inflammatory issues like hay fever and asthma. It has even been used in infants to fight colic. The fact that the tea is free of astringents, tannins, oxalic acid, and caffeine makes it safe for administering to young children.
However, please consult with a pediatrician before use!
Beneficial For Overall Health And Wellness
Rooibos contains plenty of vitamins and minerals including trace amounts of iron, zinc, fluoride, copper, and manganese. It also contains potassium, sodium, magnesium, and calcium. These minerals are necessary for strong bones and teeth and also play key roles in heart health and metabolic processes.
Adds A Ton Of Flavor To Various Dishes
In South Africa, rooibos is used as a food additive. It imparts tons of flavor to soups, stews, and even baked goods. Its earthy flavor is particularly wonderful to add to cookies, cakes, and bread.
Cons Of Rooibos Tea
As always, there is a flip side to the coin. Nothing is only positive and rooibos has its negative aspects as well. Let’s take a look at the major drawbacks of rooibos tea.
Linked To Acute Hepatitis And Liver Failure
While more studies are needed to ascertain this, some cases have shown acute liver failure and hepatitis in people who consumed rooibos over several years. One patient only recovered his liver function after stopping the tea.
Similarly, according to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, a 42-year-old woman had normal liver function enzymes a week after stopping ingestion of rooibos.
Possible Kidney Damage
Drinking large quantities of rooibos may cause kidney damage. However, we need more cases for confirming this anecdotal evidence.
Low Platelet Count
One of the side effects of drinking rooibos in excess is lowered platelet count. People undergoing surgery are often advised to stop rooibos at least 1 to 2 weeks before the surgery for this reason.
Increased Estrogen Levels
Certain compounds in rooibos tea are known to mimic estrogen. This could be contraindicative for people with hormone-related cancers like breast cancer.
For the same reason, people undergoing chemotherapy must not drink rooibos. It could interfere with the drugs in that category.
Is It Good To Drink Rooibos Every Day?
Yes, it is safe to drink one to two cups of rooibos tea every day. The tea may fight inflammation, boost skin health, ward off inflammatory issues, and even prevent the development of certain cancers, thanks to its antioxidant content.
At the same time, rooibos tea is contraindicated in some health issues. For example, people who are about to undergo surgery or chemotherapy must check with their doctor whether rooibos is safe to consume, since it could interfere with the drugs.
Secondly, people with hormone-linked cancers may want to limit, or stop consuming, rooibos, due to its estrogenic effects.
As with everything, practicing moderation is key when it comes to herbal drinks like rooibos. Also, you must not use this tea or rooibos extracts as a substitute for medical treatment.
Which Is Better: Green Tea Or Rooibos?
Both teas are healthy and both come with their sets of pros and cons. My article comparing red rooibos vs green rooibos goes into detail on the differences between the two types.
Dr. Karl R.O.S Johnson recommends swapping out green tea for rooibos, because the former contains oxalates. If you are prone to kidney issues or have chronic inflammation or pain, then rooibos may be the healthier choice for you.
Similarly, Mary Hartley, a registered dietitian in New York City, recommends rooibos over green tea because it contains several minerals and antioxidants and may be beneficial for people sensitive to caffeine.
On the other hand, the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center recommends not drinking rooibos to people with breast cancer or other hormone-related cancers.
Rooibos typically has a grassy, nutty, earthy, or malty flavor, while green tea can have a vegetal, grassy, sweet, lemony, minty, Jasmine-like, nutty, or earthy flavor, depending on how it is processed and the additives used.
Some varieties and brands of rooibos tea are quite expensive, although some premium green teas are costlier. Bottom line: the choice between green tea and rooibos may boil down to your taste preferences, overall health, and budget.
Rooibos Tea Benefits And Drawbacks: Final Thoughts
Rooibos tea has a number of potential health benefits and it tastes great to boot. Plus, it does not contain caffeine or oxalates, and has a much lower concentration of tannins than coffee or black tea. This makes it a great alternative to those drinks.
However, rooibos does contain some components that could cause health problems in certain individuals. If you suffer from the conditions mentioned above, make sure you consult with your doctor before drinking rooibos tea.