7 Health Benefits of Rooibos Tea (aka Red Bush)

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It’s funny how tea is a popular beverage the world over yet we all drink it in very different ways. In the UK people drink black tea with milk and sugar whilst in America and Japan it would seem green tea on its own is the tea of choice. The South Africans, however, have a taste for Rooibos (aka Red Bush) with milk and sugar.

I started drinking Red Bush a couple of months ago as there’s so many different types of tea to buy I wanted to be a little more adventurous. When I saw it in the supermarket I thought I’d give it a try.

What is Red Bush?

First of all, white/green/oolong/black tea is all made from the leaves from the camellia sinensis plant. The end product simply depends on how long the leaves have been fermented.

Red Bush (pronounced roy-boss) on the other hand is a completely different plant grown in the Western Cape Province. The leaves are actually green but turn red when oxidized.

What Does it Taste Like?

When I first opened the box I was hit by its distinctive smell. I couldn’t decide if I liked it or not, it just smelt… different. Once I tasted it I liked it instantly but it did take several cups for me to get used to the smell. You can also buy Red Bush with added caramel, I can understand why as it does naturally have a subtle caramel taste.

Although the Africans drink it with milk and sugar most other people drink it with just water.

Now I have to admit I actually prefer it to green tea, it’s a lot more flavoursome.

Health Benefits of Rooibos

The health benefits of Red Bush are very similar to tea made from camellia sinensis leaves.

  1. Contains similar amounts of polyphenols and has been shown to be anti-carcinogenic, anti-mutagenic, anti-inflammatory and anti-viral activity.
  2. Naturally caffeine-free so is ideal for people who want to cut back on caffeine or want to drink it before going to bed. Actually it’s recommended you drink it before going to bed as it can help with insomnia. It’s also very low in tannins.
  3. Contains calcium, manganese and fluoride to help build strong teeth and bones.
  4. Can be given to infants suffering from colic, sleeping problems or stomach cramps. Simply add some milk to the tea.
  5. Contains alpha hydroxy acid and zinc which is great for the skin. You can even apply it directly to the skin to help with acne, eczema and sunburn etc.
  6. People with kidney stones can drink it because there’s no oxalic acid.
  7. Full of vitamins and minerals such as zinc, copper, calcium, manganese, magnesium, potassium.

I live in the UK so I simply buy whatever Red Bush happens to be in the supermarket, however according to one of my readers, Micah, Davidson’s Organic Rooibos Tea on Amazon.com tastes great!



  1. Mindey says:

    I have enjoyed rooibos for years and my favorite is Bourbon Street Vanilla Rooibos from http://www.tealaden.com I buy from them because I can’t find any rooibos in the stores around here.

  2. April says:

    Thanks for stopping by Mindey.

  3. Oh, great, it contains calcium. I am always looking for this kind of tea.

  4. Enjoy Tea says:

    I really love tea a lot and have been trying out all sort of different varieties. Rooibos is quickly becoming one of my favourites

  5. Desmond says:

    I really enjoy the taste of rooibos, and I just cannot do without it. I have noticed that my teeth are alot stronger and do not bleed so much when I am brushing them….could this be the rooibos?

  6. Deborah says:

    I have enjoyed rooibos for several years and have heard that it has health benefits, but had never looked into what those might be, as I just like it. I recently found green rooibos, in addition to the regular rooibos, and just did a search to see what I could find. I buy it from Numi teas, which carries a wide variety of teas I like, including Lapsang Souchon, which is next to impossible to find in stores. I also like their “Bushmen’s Brew” honeybush tea. I don’t know if there are any health benefits there, but it is another nice herbal tea I rally enjoy.

  7. babz says:

    my favorites in rooibos are chai and organic green. i order by online at http://www.specialteas.com
    they have a huge selection of brewing teas..fresh/aromatic and you can buy 1 ounce samples or 1/4 lb, 1/lb, 1 pound resealable pouches. reasonable prices and shipping.

  8. LadyT says:

    I buy the Good Earth brand from Walmart here in Richmond, VA. It tastes sweet with plain water, no sugar added. My co-workers always compliment the wonderful spicy smell. I prefer this tea over green tea.

  9. anna says:

    The minute I started drinking Rooibos, I was hooked. The taste is very smooth and comforting. It was only after I started drinking it regularly that I researched the health benefits that it confirmed my suspicions that this tisane was doing wonders for me. The health benefits are endless. But the best part, is that you actually do experience the benefits first hand. Without a doubt, I feel very calm and relaxed after having drunk a fresh cup of Rooiboss with a splash of milk. The best kind of Rooiboss, is the loose leaf kind. It is amazing that our planet grows some incredible bushes and plants that can be harnessed to make delightful and healthy teas. Thank you South Africa

  10. johnny h. says:

    i started drinking rooibos several wks ago and i’m hooked, love the stuff.feel great!

  11. johnny h. says:

    ok what else can i say im sleeping better than ever before, 8 hrs. thats unheard off for me.

  12. zahir says:

    dude, africa is not a country why do americans always make that mistake? Anyway i just wanted to share a delicious idea on rooibos. Have it with some lemon juice, 1tsp honey and some fresh ginger for taste. And like rb itself this tastes great cold as well.
    Have fun, from Cape Town South Africa

  13. zack says:

    dude, who ever said Africa was a country? And why do people always assume its an American making a stupid comment. Theres idiots in every nook and cranny of the world….nothing is worse than a stuck up foreigner

  14. Tessa says:

    I am on a strict non dairy diet which was agony as I have always drunk tea by the gallon. But I tried Red Bush with rice milk – and wow! I will never go back to regular tea. I like the taste SO much better, and knowing that it’s doing all these good things to keep cancer at bay (I had breast cancer) – need I say more! anyway, just to let tea addicts know that Red Bush with regular milk is so/so but with rice milk it’s addictive.

  15. Micah says:

    I love rooibos tea. It has helped my IBS symptoms diminish greatly and it has amazing calming properties. Check out the Davidsons Organic Rooibos Tea on Amazon.com it’s the best I’ve tasted.

  16. Ann Trenton says:

    I’ve really gotten into Rooibos tea. I started drinking it for its health benefits which are many. Rooibos tea is used for its anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic properties. Consumption of rooibos tea may relief fever, asthma, insomnia, colic in infants and skin disorders. Rooibos extracts are used in ointments against eczema.

  17. Ann Trenton says:

    I’ve really gotten into Rooibos tea. I started drinking it for its health benefits which are many.Rooibos has anti-carcinogenic and antimutagenic effects. Rooibos tea is used for its anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic properties. Consumption of rooibos tea may relief fever, asthma, insomnia, colic in infants and skin disorders. Rooibos extracts are used in ointments against eczema.

  18. Liz says:

    I just tried it for the first time tonight and the first thing I noticed also was the smell, to me it smells like tobaco, has that sweet smell, even my husband who use to be a smoker smelled it and agreed with me. I do like it but will have to have a few more cups before I really like it I think.

  19. Natural says:

    Thanks for the information. I am just about to taste my first cup of this tea and I was looking for the health benefits. Apparently, it should be one of those great plants.

  20. Michaela says:

    I love the “Marco Polo Rouge” I bought from Mariage Frères.. lovely flavor!

  21. ss buffalo says:

    i cant find it

  22. Keith says:

    My favorite is Rooibos Chai, it adds a bit of spicy flavor to the Chai which really makes it taste great. You can try it with Yogi Teas ‘Rooibos Chai’ avail in grocery stores.

    For bulk buys, Starwest Botanicals carries Organic Rooibos and seems to have the best price. I got regular Rooibos the first time, its good but the Chai definitely adds flavor. 8 ozs or 1 LB lasts a long time!

    Also you can use a Rooibos Tea Bag twice! If you normally let a tea bag steep in water for 5 minutes, 1st time let it steep 5 minutes, next time 10 minutes, so you get 2 uses from each bag and it tastes fine.

  23. Tom says:

    I love Rooibos and drink double cupsful. I stay away from sugar, but do add one packet of Sweet ‘n’ Low to the double cup. I often add a quarter cupful of dried Goji berries (no sugar…just the dried berries). And I would recommend that combination. It is delicious and both the Rooibos and the berries are loaded with antioxidents. When the tea is almost drunk, I eat the remaining berries at the bottom of the cup with a spoon. I can almost guarantee you will love this combo. (By the way, you may have read about the way protein from milk binds with the polyphenols in blueberries and in green tea, making them fairly worthless when combined. I suspect that protein does this with all polyphenols. So I stopped taking daily blueberry smoothies, among other things. And I would also recommend against taking Rooibos with milk.)

  24. Chris says:

    Rooibos is probably my favorite tea, very rich in antioxidants plus the bonus of being caffeine free for those sensitive to stimulants like myself.

    Good article. We sell pure organic rooibos plus several other tasty rooibos blends at http://www.amlaberry.co.uk

  25. Timothy Russell says:

    My favorite is Firefly Chai, it is Chai spices with red rooibos as the base. They mix so well. I like it best with chocolate milk. mountainroseherbs.com has it, as well as Vanilla Rooibos, red and green Rooibos, all of it organic.

  26. KAY says:

    i’ve always like strong everything that is strong so since well rooibos tea is not that strong so i never gave it a chance untill few weeks my parent only bought rooibos then i tried it believe me now i am drinking three to four cups of tea i just cant get enough , so please everyone who hasnt tried rooibos you are missing out on bit stuff .

  27. K. says:

    Trader Joe’s Roiboos Chai is Organic & totally awesome? No extras like sugar or agave or anything needed; great iced or hot, summer or when you want that “Fall” cozy by the fire’ vibe & I love that it has no caffeine. 🙂

  28. Julie Dornan says:

    I have stomach problems with GERD and inflamation. Someone on a health site suggested that I try it. I saw it in my local supermarket and decided to buy it. I had a cup and my husband did and we found it was nice. Im hoping now for its health benefits for me. Its nice there is different flavours. Theres so much I cant drink.

  29. paula says:

    I have never had it before until tonight. it was at World Market at the Sample spot. It was Delicious! The flavor was Chai caramel. it’s spiced with cinnamon, cloves and other spices. I am in love and will have it with a little milk and stevia in the morning. Yum! so glad i found this.

  30. Caryl says:

    I’ve been drinking rooibos for about a year now and it is my favorite tea for all of the reasons you mention. Rich flavor with all kinds of nuances and a beautiful color. I’ve had some flavored with vanilla and cinnamon, but prefer it plain with a little sweetener. Milk and honey sounds decadent! One big difference between other teas is that it does not stain either my cup or my teeth the way other teas can. I was introduced to it by a South African friend. I doubt I would have ever found it otherwise.

  31. Clm says:

    I’m from Paarl, South Africa and have grown up drinking rooibos. Never really occurred to me that it had health benefits until the worldwide explosion of the wellness market. Good stuff!

  32. Hemant says:

    Hi Friends,
    I am 62 and suffered from insomia/disturbed sleep pattern for many years till I forgot what a natural sleep was like .

    I started on Rooibos (Green) without any milk or sugar before bed time . It is over three months now and I sleep like a baby.

    I have put on ted bit of weight which had eluded my thin frame.
    My skin now glows.
    I think everyone should drink Rooibos.

  33. Pete says:

    Careful with consumption – Flouride is actually not a benefit, it was used in the Nazi camps to dumb down the soldiers. causes a wooly head, forgetfulness and general “wont revolt” attitude. Governments love it…

  34. Pindy M. says:

    Wow, i trully enjoy Rooiboss. First i couldn`t stand the smell of the tea, but now I love the taste and the aroma it has. I take it with milk and a little bit of sugar just to give it a nice taste. I recommend rooiboss to those who haven`t tried it yet.

    Many thanks.

  35. Lisa says:

    It is really nice with ginger biscuit cookies!

  36. Kerry says:

    I had my first cul of Rooibos lastnight and the scent was reminiscant of cigar tobacco but the taste was earthy and wonderful. Also @ TOM…please stop using sweet n low. Saccharin is so bad for you and totally defeats the purpose of this lovely tea. If you must use a sweetener try Stevia..it compliments rooibus and most teas very well and holds its own benefits in and of itself 🙂