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Rooibos Tea: The African Disease-Fighting Secret

When it comes to the worst health scourges, I’ve always thought of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes as the Big Three.

Together, they account for about two-thirds of all deaths in the U.S.[i]

The Big Three are interrelated. They share a number of risk factors… inflammation, obesity, and insulin resistance.

Wouldn’t it be great if there were a natural nutrient that could fight all three of these serious diseases? Thankfully, there are several. But one that is often overlooked is rooibos tea.

It’s pronounced like ROY-boss and it’s also known as red tea or red bush tea. It’s an herbal tea, made from the leaves of Aspalathus linearis, a shrub grown in South Africa.

There are two versions. Traditional rooibos is made from fermented leaves and is red-brown. Green rooibos is not fermented.

Rooibos tea’s remarkable benefits are largely due to its rich antioxidant content. A study published in the journal Food Chemistry gave 17 ounces of rooibos to 15 volunteers. Red rooibos boosted antioxidants in their blood by 2.9%. Green rooibos raised antioxidants 6.6%.

Health Benefits of Rooibos Tea

Let’s look at rooibos’s specific disease-fighting properties…

  • Rooibos is the only naturally occurring source of the antioxidant aspalathin. For a study published in the European Journal of Nutrition, a rooibos extract rich in aspalathin was given to diabetic mice. The animals had improved glucose intolerance. And lower blood glucose levels.[ii] 

    Complementary research from Tokyo University found aspalathin can balance blood sugar levels. It also reduces insulin resistance.[iii]

  • Quercetin and luteolin are constituents of rooibos. A study published in the journal Anticancer Research exposed tumors to these powerful flavonoids. The cancer cells self-destructed.[iv] 

    Research published in the International Journal of Cancer backed up those results. Scientists exposed pancreatic cancer cells to quercetin and luteolin. The flavonoids inhibited the cells’ growth and induced cell death (apoptosis).[v]

  • Heart disease. Angiotensin-converting enzymes (ACE) are substances in your body that narrow your blood vessels. And they release hormones that raise your blood pressure. A study published in Public Health Nutrition gave volunteers one 400 ml dose of rooibos tea. After a half hour, that single dose inhibited ACE activity.[vi] A study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology looked at 40 overweight subjects. All were at high risk of heart disease. Researchers gave them six cups of rooibos tea daily. After six weeks, the subjects’ “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglycerides fell, while their “good” HDL cholesterol increased.[vii]

Research shows rooibos is safe. Side effects are extremely rare. It’s also caffeine-free. And by the way, it’s acclaimed for its rich flavor as well.

Rooibos tea is widely available from online retailers and in health food stores.

Pour yourself a cup of rooibos tea and enjoy the subtle fruity flavor while reaping health benefits that could save you from the deadly Big Three.

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[i]https://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/27/7/1812

[ii]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23238530

[iii]https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0944711308002213

[iv]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12168845

[v]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11920648

[vi]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20144258

[vii]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20833235