Red tea or Rooibos tea is a red herbal tea that comes from a plant in South Africa. It has become sort of a health fad in recent times. Those who drink it swear by its medicinal powers and health benefits. In this article we look at everything related to this drink, how to make it and the benefits that are supposed to come your way once you have it. So, let’s get started.
What is red tea?
Red tea has its origins in South Africa. It is made from the fermented leaves of a plant known as Aspalathus linearis. It is also available in an unfermented variety. Many people prefer it over black or green tea.
It has a sweet, subtle and nutty flavor. Its taste is often compared with hibiscus tea and the earth tones are likened with yerba mate teas. Some people find in it hints of caramel, vanilla and a smokey fragrance like tobacco. Its taste is simple yet sweet and when brewed the leaves produce striking red hue.
Red tea contains many vital nutrients like calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and alpha hydroxyl acid. It is also packed with Vitamin C with many antioxidants that give many health benefits. It contains polyphenols that help fight free radicals keeping your body in good shape.
How to make it?
It is made much in the same fashion as a traditional tea is made. You can make it either with the help of a teabag or by using the raw leaves. Keep in point the following three points while making red tea.
- It’s ideal for you to use one tea bag or one teaspoon of loose leaves in 8 ounces of boiling water.
- Brew the tea in water for 3-5 minutes.
- You can have it in plain form or add dairy milk, plant-based milk, honey or sugar according to your taste.
Benefits of Red tea:
The various benefits of red tea are given below;
Free from Caffeine:
Red tea is good news for those who do not like caffeine. This includes pregnant women, children or caffeine sensitive people. Caffeine tends to cause jitteriness, anxiety, palpitations and lack of sleep in some people. For all of them red tea is a good alternative which is also healthy.
Tannins are naturally occurring compounds that are found in many plant-based foods. Tannins interfere with the body’s absorption of iron. Experiment conducted on a group of people who drank red tea daily, for a specific period of time showed no difficulty in absorbing iron.
Red tea has many antioxidants that have a healthy effect on the human body. Antioxidants stop free radicals from damaging cells of the body. Consumption of red tea increases the number of antioxidants in the body although its effects are not far-reaching and long lasting.
Red tea promotes a healthy heart in your body as well as controls the cholesterol levels in check. An experiment conducted on people with heart ailments showed encouraging results. They were all made to drink a cup of red tea daily for 6 weeks. After 6 weeks the levels of good cholesterol increased whereas of bad cholesterol decreased.
It also increases your heart health by keeping in check your blood pressure.
Helps in diabetes:
Red tea, especially the green variety which is unfermented has an antioxidant called aspalathin. This antioxidant has antidiabetic properties. It helps prevent vascular inflammation that results from high blood sugar levels.
Red tea is calorie free therefore it is a good option for those who want to reduce weight. It also increases the levels of leptin, a hormone that controls food intake and energy expenditure. It does not allow the formation of new fat cells and also promotes quick fat metabolism.
It contains antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce inflammation and feelings of pain and ache. By reducing inflammation, it can also aid in treating the painful symptoms of arthritis. It is high in Vitamin C which works to repair collagen and connective tissues in the joints.
Applying red tea with a mixture of other herbs topically helps reduce wrinkles and tightens the skin. You won’t get the skin related benefits by drinking it though.
May reduce cancer:
There are two antioxidants called quercetin and luteolin present in red tea. They are both known to control the spread of cancer cells and tumor growth. However, you consume very little of them when you drink a cup of red tea. Further studies are required in this regard.
There are some unverified benefits associated with red tea as well which we present below for your interest;
Healthy bones: There is weak evidence linking healthy bones with the consumption of red tea.
Better digestion: It is supposed to have digestive properties as well but the claim is not grounded in sound scientific evidence.
Others: Red tea is touted as a cure for allergies, sleep disorders, headaches or colic issues but studies are scarce and more research is needed to prove it.
Possible side effects:
Although their occurrence is very rare some side effects that have been noted after consuming red are;
- Drinking large quantities of red tea can cause an increase in liver enzymes.
- Certain compounds in the tea may trigger the production of female sex hormone estrogen in some.
- People with hormone related problems may need to avoid red tea.
These side effects are very mild in nature and appear only when you drink large quantities of red tea.
Red tea is a good alternative for those who do not like caffeinated beverages. It is packed with health benefits and makes for a near ideal drink of choice. Studies are still going on to ascertain more and more benefits of consuming red tea. Some of the benefits are based on heresy and flimsy evidence. It has little to no side effects and most people can consume it without much problem.