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For the Love of Rooibos + 3 Delicious Ways to Enjoy It

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Today I’m excited to share my love of rooibos tea. Rooibos tea, or red tea, grows exclusively in South Africa, where it has been enjoyed for its taste and medicinal properties for many years. Rooibos has just started becoming popular in the United States over the last decade or so, and continues to gain a following as people begin to recognize its myriad health benefits. It’s been a favorite of mine for several years, before I even knew it was good for me. I like the mild flavor, it’s less “grassy” and bitter than green tea, so I often enjoy sipping it plain, without any sweeteners. It’s also caffeine free, a major bonus for me. I would’ve continued drinking it just for the taste, but now that I know all of the advantages of drinking rooibos tea, I make sure I’m enjoying that cup a day. I’ve even come up with some other tasty ways to enjoy it besides just plain hot tea. But first let’s talk benefits.

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  1. Antioxidants and polyphelols a-plenty. You might be surprised to hear that rooibos tea beats out the antioxidant favorite, green tea. In fact, rooibos has nearly 50% more antioxidants than green tea. Antioxidants prevent disease and premature aging at the cellular level, fighting off free radicals that not only lead to the aged appearance of skin and hair, but also cardiovascular disease and certain cancers. It contains a unique polyphenol, aspalathin (known for its super-antioxidant powers) found exclusively in rooibos tea.
  2. It reduces stress hormones. According to Michael Greger, M.D. of nutritionfacts.org, research on rooibos tea has shown that in the presence of rooibos tea, adrenal gland cells produce 4 times less steroid hormones. This recent finding provides scientific support for years of anecdotal reports that rooibos tea has a calming effect.
  3. It effectively reduces inflammation in the body. Polyphenols in rooibos tea have anti-inflammatory, anti-mutagenic, and anti-viral properties. In fact, a recent study concluded that rooibos tea could help prevent widespread inflammation and damage at the DNA level, reducing the occurrence of a number of diseases.
  4. It can improve the health of your skin. Because of the high levels of anti-inflammation and antioxidant polyphenols, rooibos tea has been hailed by some as the perfect beauty tea for skin. Not only can you drink the tea for skin benefits, but many people have reported clearer skin and relief from eczema, itchiness, diaper rash, sunburn, wrinkles, and acne by applying it topically. It has also been studied for its ability to help prevent the growth of skin tumors and skin cancer. You can find rooibos in some commercially sold skincare products, or you can simply use cooled tea as a toner. This is always the most exciting kind of beauty food for me, one that can be used both from the inside out or outside in!
  5. It can help you have a good night’s sleep. Rooibos tea has been used by some to treat insomnia. It is completely caffeine free and will help you relax. It’s my go-to evening tea.
  6. It’s good for your tummy. Rooibos can help ease an upset stomach, thanks to effective anti-spasmodic agents, and can help stop vomiting and diarrhea. It has long been given to colicky infants in South Africa for generations and can safely ease stomach pain in children.
  7.  It contains vitamins and minerals. Rooibos tea has small amounts of many minerals, including calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, and zinc. These nutrients help support bone health, and also contribute to healthy hair and skin.
  8. It doesn’t block iron absorption like black and green tea. Since it’s low in tannins, rooibos tea is a great choice for those interested in increasing their iron levels. Also, it contains zero oxalic acid, so those with kidney stones and other problems who are advised not to drink black or green tea can safely consume rooibos without worry of oxalate build up.

Although more studies need to be done, rooibos tea could also be helpful in improving diabetes symptoms and complications, male infertility, allergies, brain health (may protect against dementia and Parkinson’s), and respiratory disorders.

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Personally, I love Rooibos for the mild flavor and the fact that it is caffeine free.  I can enjoy it anytime of the day, including right after I get my daughter to bed, which is my favorite time to make a relaxing cup of tea. I’ve always enjoyed it as a loose-leaf tea or in tea bags, but recently I had the opportunity to try powdered rooibos from Pure Matcha.

Pure Matcha is my go-to brand for ceremonial matcha green tea, and I knew their rooibos powder, aka “Red Matcha” would be of the highest quality. I was right! I loved this powdered rooibos. It is made similarly to matcha green tea, meaning the rooibos is stone ground into a fine powder allowing you to consume the entire leaf. This allows you to consume even more antioxidants. It also makes it super easy to make frothy lattes, creamy iced beverages, or rooibos boosted smoothies. Hot lattes have a richer flavor using powdered rooibos, while iced lattes aren’t as watered down as when using tea bags. Below are some of my favorite creations so far usingPure Matcha‘s Red Matcha (powdered rooibos).

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Hot Rooibos Latte 

serves 1

  • 1 cup of non-dairy milk (I used homemade cashew milk)
  • 1-2 tsp powdered rooibos* 
  • 1/4 cup of hot water
  • 1-2 tsp maple syrup to sweeten (or to taste)
  • optional: big pinch of cinnamon, 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Directions: Heat your tea kettle until just boiling .Add the powdered rooibos to a small bowl and whisk in the hot water. Whisk until no clumps remain, add the maple syrup, cinnamon, and vanilla and whisk again. Gently warm the cashew milk over the stove, whisking it at the end to create some foam, remove from heat. Add the tea to a mug, and then pour in the heated cashew milk. Sprinkle with cinnamon and enjoy!

*If you don’t have powdered rooibos, simply brew some strong tea using loose leaf or tea bags (maybe 2 tsp) in 1/4 cup of water.

Make it a chai rooibos latte by adding a dash of ground ginger, nutmeg, and cardamom along with the cinnamon.

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Creamy Iced Rooibos Latte with Cinnamon and Vanilla

makes two 12 ounce glasses

  • 2 cups of strong brewed rooibos tea (use 2 teabags, 4 tsp of looseleaf, or 3-4 tsp powdered rooibos) we are making a concentrated rooibos liquid
  • 1 – 2 cups of non-dairy milk as needed (choose something creamy like cashew, coconut, or my homemade macadamia nut milk)
  • 1-2 tbsp of maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp of vanilla

Directions:

1.If you’re using tea bags, brew tea quite strong, at least 5 minutes, longer if you have time. If you’re using powdered rooibos, it will be ready immediately. Pour one cup of the brewed tea into a silicone ice cube tray and place in the freezer.

2. To the remaining cup of warm tea add in the cinnamon, vanilla, and maple syrup (it’s helpful to do this while the tea is still hot). Chill in the refrigerator in a covered container, I used a jar.

3. Once your ice cubes are frozen, add a handful of frozen tea cubes to two tall 12 oz glasses. Add half of the chilled rooibos tea to each, and then fill the rest of the way with non-dairy milk. Give it a quick stir, and serve.

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Strawberry Mango Rooibos Smoothie

A thick, ice cream like smoothie with a hint of rooibos.

  • 1 cup of frozen strawberries
  • 1 cup of frozen mango
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup coconut yogurt, divided in half (I used So Delicious Unsweetened Plain)
  • 1 tsp of powdered rooibos
  • Splash of non-dairy milk if needed
  • A handful of granola, raw or toasted nuts, coconut shreds, etc.

Instructions: Blend frozen fruit, 1/4 cup coconut yogurt, and rooibos in your food processor or high speed blender. Top with remaining coconut yogurt and granola.

If you don’t have powdered rooibos, simply use a 1/4 cup of cooled, brewed rooibos tea, either use it in place of the yogurt, or add extra frozen fruit.

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I hope I’ve inspired you to make rooibos tea a part of your daily relaxing tea ritual. I’d love to hear your thoughts on rooibos tea. Have you tried it? Have you experienced any of its benefits? How do you like to enjoy it?