Information for Health Care Professionals (by Jane Griffin):
What is Rooibos?
Rooibos (Aspalathus linearis) is a tisane or infusion unique to the Western Cape of South Africa, where it has been used since the 19th Century for medicinal purposes. Rooibos is naturally caffeine free and contains no additives, preservatives, colourings or oxalic acid.
Rooibos has a number of impressive health credentials:
Low in Tannins - Unlike many teas, Rooibos is naturally low in harmful tannins. Tannins can interfere with iron absorption, particularly in populations of individuals with marginal iron status. These include infants and toddlers, teenage girls, pre-menopausal women, elderly men and vegetarians. People in these categories are advised to allow at least one hour to elapse between the end of a meal and consumption of black or ordinary tea. Such advice is not necessary if Rooibos is the drink of choice.
Source of antioxidants - Rooibos contains naturally occurring antioxidants, a group of vitamins, minerals and plant substances or photochemicals which help protect the body against free radicals. Damage to cells by free radicals is thought to be partly to blame for chronic diseases such as cancer, heart diseases and ageing. It is the naturally occurring antioxidants in Rooibos that are beginning to excite scientists and health professionals around the world, with research being undertaken to identify the particular health benefits of Rooibos. To date no adverse effects of drinking Rooibos have been reported. (Ref: McKay DL, Blumberg JB. 2007. A Review of the Bioactivity of South African Herbal Teas: Rooibos (Aspalathus linearis) and Honeybush (Cyclopia intermedia). Phytother. Res. 21. 1 - 16.)
Caffeine free - Rooibos is naturally caffeine free and therefore does not need to undergo extensive processing. Traditionally, leaves from the Rooibos bushes were harvested and then crushed using primitive tools and left in heaps to ferment before drying in the sun. Today, plants are cultivated and the production process has been refined without losing the unique process and heritage to guarantee the best quality in every cup. Health professionals in South Africa suggest Rooibos for people suffering with irritability, headaches, disturbed sleep patterns, insomnia, nervous tension, mild depression or hypertension because it is caffeine free and appears to have a soothing effect on the central nervous system.
Rooibos is calorie free, and is therefore suitable to recommend to anyone on a weight loss plan. It has a naturally sweeter taste than other teas and is therefore an easier substitute than many herbal options. Rooibos also contains nine minerals and trace minerals, including calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc, sodium, copper, manganese and fluoride.
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