You may have sipped a yummy tea called rooibos, also known as Red Bush, from South Africa. If you haven’t tried it, you’re in for a delicious treat that’s really good for you, too! This 100% caffeine-free herb can be made into a tea that has a woody-sweet, fruity and nutty flavor and is wonderfully high in antioxidants!
The active antioxidants in rooibos tea are called aspalathin flavonoids which are similar to the flavonoids found in green tea. In fact, one laboratory study found that aspalathin is even more effective at scavenging damaging free radicals than epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) from green tea. An animal study also showed that rats given rooibos tea had higher superoxide dismutase (SOD—a protein that neutralizes free radicals) levels in their blood than those not fed the tea, and they also had less DNA damage. The study also indicated that rooibos tea had an anti-inflammatory effect that protects the health of cells.
Rooibos also has natural compounds that support healthy skin!
Because of its high flavonoid content, rooibos is used as a powerful “graceful-aging” ingredient in skin care formulations. Since much of skin aging is caused by exposure to UV rays, pollution, and other environmental contaminants that create free radicals, rooibos’ free-radical-scavenging abilities help to protect skin and support our best skin possible at any age!.
Rooibos is also known to have anti-viral, anti-fungal, and antibacterial properties, making it helpful for acne, eczema, psoriasis and other difficult skin conditions. In fact, people with acne have reported that both drinking rooibos tea and applying rooibos directly to their skin helped decrease skin congestion.
Rooibos is also a source of vitamin D and zinc, and has been shown to be protective against damaging UV rays. A 2009 study found that topical application of rooibos extract prior to UVB exposure inhibited the formation of tumors, suggesting the ingredient may help protect against sunburn and potentially helpful in preventing skin cancers.
Finally, rooibos is known to be hypoallergenic, helping to calm reactive skin and soothe redness, itching, and rashes.
I love using rich rooibos in our lotions and skin creams… along with all the skin benefits, it adds a beautiful color and depth to the aroma profile.
Brew up some rooibos tea today, drink a big cup and save another in the fridge to use on your skin after cleansing and before sun exposure for a day or two. Make a fresh batch every couple days and see the difference it makes in your skin! (Rooibos is delicious on its own or with a bit of stevia or honey.)
Here’s to healthy happy skin, naturally!
Snijman PW, et al., “Antioxidant activity of the dihydrochalcones Aspalathin and Nothofagin and their corresponding flavones in relation to other Rooibos (Aspalathus linearis) Flavonoids, Epigallocatechin Gallate, and Trolox,” J. Agric Food Chem. 2009 Aug 12; 57 (15):6678-84, http://www.hubmed.org/display.cgi?uids=19722573.
Baba H., et al., “Studies of anti-inflammatory effects of Rooibos tea in rats,” Pediatr Int. 2009 Oct; 51(5): 700-4, http://www.hubmed.org/display.cgi?uids=19419525.
Kawano A, et al., “Hypoglycemic effect of aspalathin, a rooibos tea component from Aspalathus linearis, in type 2 diabetic model db/db mice,” Phytomedicine 2009 May; 16(5): 437-43, http://www.hubmed.org/display.cgi?uids=19188054.
Khan AU, et al., “Selective bronchodilatory effect of Rooibos tea (Aspalathus linearis) and its flavonoid, chrysoeriol,” Eur J Nutr 2006 Dec; 45(8): 463-9, http://www.hubmed.org/display.cgi?uids=17080260.
Gilani AH, et al., “Antispasmodic effects of Rooibos tea (Aspalathus linearis) is mediated predominantly through K+ -channel activation,” Basic Clin Pharmacol Toxicol. 2006 Nov; 99(5): 365-73, http://www.hubmed.org/display.cgi?uids=17076689.
“The Many Health Benefits of Rooibos Tea,” Inhuman Experiment, April 4, 2010, http://inhumanexperiment.blogspot.com/2010/04/many-health-benefits-of-rooibos-tea.html.
Petrova, Antoinette, “Modulation of ultraviolet light-induced skin carcinogenesis by extracts of rooibos and honeybush using a mouse model: elucidating possible protective mechanisms” (2009). CPUT Theses & Dissertations. Paper 91. http://dk.cput.ac.za/td_cput/91.