If you’re a fan of natural foods or fancy teas, you may have heard of Green Rooibos. It’s becoming a more and more common sight in health-food stores, thanks to both its exotic nature and its health-related properties.
Green rooibosis becoming more popular thanks in part to the antioxidants trend. In fact, green rooibos had the second-most antioxidant activity of any tea in one study—a lot of the benefits of traditional green tea without the dose of caffeine that goes with it.
If you haven’t heard of it until now (or only recently), that’s probably because it’s not easy to find. The plant only grows in South Africa’s Western Cape province.
Rooibos is most often prepared by having the leaves oxidized, which turns them red. Green rooibos is the unoxidized version; the leaves are dried immediately to avoid the fermentation that would otherwise turn it red.
The green version is more difficult to produce, much like green tea. When brewed as a tea (the most common method of consumption) it brings forth a malty flavor with a hint of grassiness.
Green rooibos is also available as a swallowable capsule, which will be more convenient for some.
But it’s not popular because it’s trendy, and it’s not solely a vehicle for adding antioxidants to your diet. Green Rooibos has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries.
Traditionally, green rooibos was used to treat a number of ailments from colic to asthma to allergies.
Its effects are no less pronounced in the present day. It contains iron, potassium, manganese, magnesium, calcium, zinc, vitamin C and fluoride, a virtual multivitamin worth of nutrients in a single plant.
The antioxidant properties may help slow down the aging process, while guarding against heart disease, strokes and perhaps cancer. It even has properties that benefit the skin, keeping it moist and stopping skin eczema.
Those are pretty exorbitant health claims. Does it work? Probably. Animal model studies indicate that green rooibos has “potent antioxidant, immune-modulating and chemo preventive actions.”
More studies are ongoing, and the health effects of green rooibos and similar plants are being catalogued on a regular basis. We’ll update here as more scientific information comes to light.
Another reason for the popularity is that it’s naturally caffeine free. That means you can get the health benefits with an after-dinner cup of green rooibos tea without risking insomnia.
So you won’t be kept awake by the caffeine. And if the stories about it are to be believed, green rooibos may help alleviate those late-night health worries as well.
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