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The Health Benefits of Red Tea

Mishael is a health and wellness junkie. She loves learning about things that will keep her family happier. And all other people too.

What Is Red Tea?

Red tea, also known as rooibos (which is pronounced "roy-boss," for those of you who are wondering), has been a popular addition to South African diets for many years. In recent years, much has been said about its high antioxidant properties. Now this healthy drink is in high demand all over the world.

Rooibos commonly comes in two forms: fermented (red) and unfermented (green). While the green form of rooibos contains more antioxidants, it is not as popular because it has a much more bitter taste. The fermentation process is what gives the rooibos its red-orange color, and that is why it is called red tea.

Beware: there is a red tea impostor out there. The Lipton tea company markets what they call a red tea, but a close inspection of the ingredients reveals that a main ingredient of this product is, in fact, black tea. Now, I don't know how they can market black tea as red tea, but they do. Go figure.

Black tea also has antioxidant benefits, as all teas do, but it has caffeine. Rooibos does not. So, if you're looking for health benefits without having to drink caffeine, don't be fooled.

What are the health benefits of red tea? Read on to find out!

Heart-Healthy Minerals

Rooibos contains several nutritional minerals that promote heart health in humans:calcium, magnesium, potassium, and copper.

Calcium, magnesium, and potassium have all been shown to lower blood pressure and help the entire circulatory system function more efficiently. Magnesium is also helpful in preventing blood clots.

While the effects of copper on human hearts still needs to be examined more closely, the results from rat studies have been promising. When rats were given heart attacks during experiments and then given copper following the heart attacks, the condition of their hearts actually improved. 

Cancer-Fighting Ingredients

Black tea, green tea, and red tea all have high levels of antioxidants that can cut down the action of cancer cells in the body. But red tea has two - aspalathin and nothofagin - that are not found in any other food source.

Research has shown that aspalathin is even better at fighting cancer-causing agents than EGCG, the star antioxidant of green tea. Nothofagin is not as effective, but its cancer-fighting abilities are still impressive, nonetheless. These two antioxidants work together to reduce inflammation in the body and prevent any major DNA damage.

Low Tannin Content

One problem with otherwise healthy teas like black and green is that they contain high levels of tannins. Tannins inhibit iron absorption, and this can be a real problem for people suffering from anemia, or even marginally low iron.

Red tea, on the other hand, does not have high tannin levels, so it does not interfere with the body's ability to use the iron it receives either from diet or from supplementation. So, if you know you have a problem with low iron, you want to choose red tea over other teas.

Skin-Improving Agents

Red tea contains two ingredients - alpha hydroxy acid and zinc - that are great for the skin. In fact, these two ingredients are found in a number of commercial skin products.

It is an effective natural treatment for a number of troubling skin conditions, including eczema and acne. And its anti-aging properties make it perfect for women in their 30s and 40s who still have to deal with the occasional pimple and worry about wrinkles at the same time.

The best part is you can get the skin benefits of red tea by either drinking it or applying the (cooled) brewed tea directly on the affected areas.

Stomach-Relaxing Components

Rooibos contains several antispasmodic agents, which means that drinking it can help relieve and prevent muscle cramping all over the body. These effects are most prevalent in the digestion system.

For years, African mothers have been giving red tea to their colicky infants. But it's not only good for babies. Rooibos has soothing effects on ulcers and heartburn. It can even be used as a treatment for both constipation and diarrhea.

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And menstruating women may want to drink red tea at a certain time of the month to relieve those bothersome menstrual cramps.

Insulin Stimulators

The same antioxidant that is responsible for red tea's cancer-fighting properties may also prove useful when it comes to helping diabetics control their blood sugars.

In clinical studies with rats with Type 2 diabetes, aspalathin was shown to keep fasting blood sugars from rising too much. It also enhanced glucose tolerance, which is an early predictor of diabetes. Aspalathin even has a stimulating effect on the pancreas, getting it to secrete more insulin when needed without overtaxing the system.

Anyone who has a family history of diabetes should consider adding a daily cup (or two) of red tea to your diet.

AIDS Fighters

Drinking red tea may not help you if you have HIV, but taking a little red tea extract every day certainly can.

Research has found that red tea extract can actually stop HIV dead in its tracks. While it is not a cure, it has been shown to significanly limit the damage that HIV can do to the body, and it even slows down the progress of the virus.

That's really good news for the more than 30 million people worldwide who suffer from HIV today.

Davidson's Rooibos Tea

Get Some Red Tea Today!

With all the health benefits red tea offers, can you afford NOT to get it today?

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


Mellonyy on July 31, 2012:

Very well-written hub. For all I know, red tea is often prescribed for nervous tension. I hope more people to read this article. Voted up and shared. So, I also wrote a hub about the benefits of rosemary.

YogaKat from Oahu Hawaii on March 04, 2012:

Workingmomwm, this is an awesome hub. I have been drinking green, white and black tea for years. Red tea is news to me and has some major health benefits. I too will be drinking red tea.

Mishael Austin Witty (author) from Kentucky, USA on April 13, 2011:

Thanks, Simone. There is some good research (and a lot of anecdotal evidence) out there backing up the health claims, so it's worth a try. I'd not even heard of it until I was researching this hub, but now it's my second favorite drink (behind coffee - that will always be first!).

Simone Haruko Smith from San Francisco on April 12, 2011:

How very interesting, workingmomwm! I'm not at all familiar with red tea. Guess I should give it a try!

Mishael Austin Witty (author) from Kentucky, USA on April 12, 2011:

I know! I was really surprised when I saw that. I mean, it does have the rooibos in it, but that's not all.

Amy DeMarco from Chicago on April 12, 2011:

Wow! I had no idea red tea was so good for you. I'm glad I found your hub. I will be drinking more red tea now. Except for Lipton's red tea. I can't believe they get away with that!

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