Rooibos can help you shed over a kilo a month

One of the best-kept weight-loss secrets could already be in your pantry. Celebs swear by it, and research confirms that Rooibos tea is the ideal way to help you slim down this summer.

By swapping just one cup of coffee for Rooibos tea every day, you could lose as much as a kilo every month. Most of us load our coffee with sugary syrups, honey, whipped cream or milk and sugar which can add anything from 35 to 250+ calories per cup. And if one considers that the average South African knocks back about four cups of coffee a day, drinking Rooibos instead could lead to a whopping 7 – 14kg shed in a year.

Ernest du Toit, spokesperson for the SA Rooibos Council, says the indigenous tea offers dieters a healthy, enjoyable and sustainable way to lose weight.

“Rooibos tea contains no fat or carbohydrates and its weight-loss properties further extends to inhibiting fat-storage hormones within the body. Rooibos’s unique Bioflavonoid, Aspalathin, helps to reduce stress hormones that trigger hunger and fat storage, typically associated with high blood pressure, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes. In a nutshell, Rooibos tea can prevent the body from storing and even forming new fat cells.

“Rooibos tea is also caffeine-free and naturally sweet so there’s no need to add extra sugar. Plus it comes in a variety of flavours like berry, cinnamon, mint and citrus. It’s also 100% natural with no additives, no preservatives and no chemicals,” he says.

“Drinking Rooibos tea instead of a regular 35+ calorie cup of coffee (enjoyed with milk and a spoonful of sugar) or a 100+ calorie carbonated drink will automatically reduce your calorie intake, which should put you well on your way to losing centimetres.”

A-list celebrities sporting already svelte figures such as Angelina Jolie, Catherine Zeta Jones and supermodel Cindy Crawford all swear by Rooibos’s health benefits.

Drinking up to six cups a day – hot or cold – along with a healthy and balanced diet, will provide you with the maximum health and weight-loss benefits that Rooibos tea can offer.


Rooibos as a cure for smelly feet?

Scientists have found that rooibos can prevent and slow down cancer, reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke, boost the immune system and ease stomach cramps but now a Cape Town doctor is suggesting it might also help prevent smelly feet.

Responding to a reader’s query in the Cape Argus, Dr Darren Green, suggests that rooibos tea soaks may help to give smelly feet the boot.

SA Rooibos Council scientific advisor, Marina Joubert, says the contention makes sense as there is scientific evidence that rooibos can relieve allergies and soothe skin disorders.


10 MARCH 2009

From the majestic mountains of the Cedarberg comes a plant so rich in antioxidants, alpha hydroxy acids, zinc and a myriad of other substances known for their soothing, healing and anti-ageing properties, that cosmetics houses the world over have incorporated it into their ranges. Rooibos offers an amazing, all-natural formula to promote clear and healthy skin while acting like a shield against environmental influences that are to blame for premature skin ageing. Although the uses of Rooibos have been passed down through the generations, the benefits that this herb offers are no longer merely anecdotal, much research has been done into this magical plant and the natural healing powers that it possesses.

Here are just a few useful beauty tips from the South African Rooibos Council to enhance your beauty regime:

Wash your face with cold or lukewarm Rooibos tea instead of water; it is a great alternative skin freshener.
Rinse dark hair with strong Rooibos to give it a beautiful shine or use as a leave-in for lighter hair to provide a slight reddish tint to your colour.
Treat tired and sensitive eyes to a rinse with lukewarm Rooibos or wipe out eyes gently with a face-cloth dipped in lukewarm Rooibos for instant relief from sore eyes of any kind. Alternatively, you can also hold cold Rooibos tea bags over your eyes to relieve your tired or red eyes.
The following face-mask method has proven a saviour to many an acne sufferer: take half a cup of strong, plain Rooibos tea (fairly warm); add half a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar; add 2 teaspoons of oatmeal (NB – if you’re allergic to oatmeal, use a gluten-free flour); allow the mixture to cool until it’s lukewarm; apply it over your face and neck; lie down and relax for about 15 minutes; rinse off with lukewarm plain Rooibos tea, then press to dry.
If you have itchy or burning skin, then after a cleansing bath, wipe off your affected skin with a face-cloth moistened in Rooibos tea; press gently to dry (NB – do not rub, as this will only make the itching/burning worse). Alternatively, you can also add a few Rooibos tea bags to your bath water to sooth your skin.
If you suffer from eczema, bathing the affected skin areas in Rooibos tea or applying it with cottonwool can provide soothing relief.

“Many of the unique anti-ageing and anti-allergic properties of Rooibos may be attributed to the unique blend of potent antioxidants found in Rooibos,” says Dr Jeanine Marnewick, researcher at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. “Researchers in South Africa and Japan were able to prove that Rooibos has the ability to delay ageing, preserve fertility and, when applied externally, could even reduce and slow down skin cancer.”

So in short, Rooibos can be used for achieving healthy skin; delaying the signs of ageing; the treatment of acne, eczema, sunburn and tired eyes; while offering shine for hair and even protecting your hair colour. And these are just some of the cosmetic benefits. There is a long and varied list of benefits offered by Rooibos, including the prevention of life threatening diseases like cancer and heart disease, providing relief from stomach problems, assisting with detoxing, and even helping with anxiety or depression.



Rooibos can help fight allergies by boosting the production of Cytochrome P450, an important enzyme that helps to metabolize allergens, according to Japanese researchers.


Summer is on its way bringing with it warm weather, beautiful flowers, freshly cut grass and bared skin. While these are some of the things that we look forward to, for allergy sufferers they can have negative side-effects such as runny noses, nasal congestion, post-nasal drip, itchy eyes and skin irritation. Home-grown Rooibos may offer relief and help make your summer more carefree.

Rooibos can help fight allergies by boosting the production of Cytochrome P450, an important enzyme that helps to metabolize allergens. Japanese researchers at Showa University have found that when Rooibos is consumed regularly as a beverage, it helps to improve allergy status as a result of the increased levels of this enzyme in the body. In Japan, herbal teas such as Rooibos are widely used to prevent and relieve pollen allergy, asthma and other chronic allergies.
Many Rooibos lovers have found that they can use their favourite herb in a number of ways to treat the symptoms of allergies. Some suggestions include:
– To help alleviate runny noses and hay fever simply take lukewarm Rooibos tea in the cup of your hands and slowly draw the liquid into your sinuses, hold it for a few seconds, release it and gently blow your nose.

– Treat itchy and sensitive eyes to a rinse with lukewarm Rooibos. Dab eyes gently with a face-cloth soaked in lukewarm Rooibos for instant relief from irritated eyes. Alternatively, you can also hold cold Rooibos tea bags over your eyes to relieve your tired or red eyes.

– Eczema and itchy or burning skin can be soothed by adding a few Rooibos tea bags to your bath water, by rinsing the affected skin areas in brewed Rooibos tea, or by applying the cooled Rooibos on the affected area with cottonwool or a facecloth (NB – do not rub, as this will only make the itching/burning worse).

By going the natural route you can save money on expensive medications, and because it is gentle and nontoxic, it is safe for children to use, making it the perfect allergy solution for your whole family.



Acne sufferers will be relieved to know that Rooibos, grown exclusively in South Africa, may help to alleviate acne.

Acne sufferers around the world will agree that no single regimen works for everyone. With hundreds of natural and prescribed medications available, it is hard to choose a remedy that actually works. South Africans will be pleased to know that their much-loved Rooibos, grown exclusively in South Africa may help to alleviate acne.

Here is how to use Rooibos tea to fight acne:
– Drink six cups of Rooibos tea a day. Rooibos tea works particularly well at fighting acne because of its anti-inflammatory properties. It takes about a week to begin to see results, as reported by acne sufferers.
– Brew for more than ten minutes to get the optimal antioxidant benefits from Rooibos tea. Japanese research reports that Rooibos tea had greater antioxidant activity when it was brewed for more than 10 minutes as compared to when it was brewed for just five minutes.
– Brew a cup of Rooibos tea, let it cool to room temperature, and use it to rinse your face after cleansing, or as a toner before using a moisturizer.

Rooibos-based skincare products are able to cleanse the skin without disrupting the natural pH balance, and don’t cause dehydration. Additionally, Rooibos extract aids in thoroughly cleansing the pores, ridding the skin of impurities and prevent the pores from being blocked. Its anti-bacterial properties also allow for the acceleration of the healing process.

So if you or your child is struggling with acne, give this caffeine free drink a try. It not only tastes great, but boasts a wide range of other health benefits too.


Rooibos helps protect against skin cancer

People who spend a lot of time in the sun should consider using a skin care product containing rooibos extracts to prevent the development of skin cancer and to delay the onset of malignant tumours.

People who spend a lot of time in the sun should consider using a skin care product containing rooibos extracts to prevent the development of skin cancer and to delay the onset of malignant tumours.

This is one of the findings of a recent study in which normal and cancerous skin cells were analysed to determine how exactly rooibos extracts in skin care products such as soaps, sun creams and lotions help stop the development of skin cancer.

“Lower concentrations of rooibos extracts may be able to prevent the development of skin cancer by stopping the multiplication of cancerous cells and removing these cells by prompting them to commit ‘suicide’,” says Dr Tandeka Magcwebeba, who conducted the study as part of her doctorate in Biochemistry at Stellenbosch University.

“Once the skin has been exposed to the sun’s ultra violet (UV) rays, rooibos extracts will remove precancerous damaged cells and also block the onset of inflammation – the latter being one of the processes that promote the formation of tumours in skin.”

According to Magcwebeba, it is better to use rooibos extracts during the early stages of cancer development when they are more effective in prolonging the progression of cancerous cells into a tumour.

She says one of the major reasons why rooibos extracts are incorporated into skin care products is because “they contain certain natural compounds (polyphenols) which give them their anti-oxidant properties”.​

Magcwebeba adds that these compounds, which are found in most plants, are linked with the prevention of various chronic disorders, including cancer.

She says the presence of these compounds in an extract may also help to predict its activity and may thus serve as a measure of quality control to ensure that rooibos extracts are biologically active before being used in cosmetic products.

Magcwebeba is quick to point out that her study focused on promoting the use of rooibos extracts in an ointment rather than consuming it as a beverage to protect the skin.

“Studies on well-researched skin products have shown that topical application is more effective as the product is easily absorbed when it is directly applied on the skin.”

Her research will provide knowledge towards the development of topical products that would be less invasive and cheaper to prevent cancer development, says Magcwebeba.

“South Africa has one of highest rates of skin cancer, and one of the factors contributing this problem is attributed to non-compliance to prevention strategies and the treatment is reported to be highly invasive, expensive and tends to have a high recurrence rate.”

Magcwebeba mentions that rooibos not only helps to prevent the development of skin cancer but is also used to treat eczema, acne, nappy rash, colic in babies, nausea, heartburn, cramps, hay fever and asthma in folk medicine. It is also known to improve appetite, reduces nervous tension, promotes sleep and boosts the immune system, she adds.

Magcwebeba says she now focuses on how a different plant (Gannabos) can help fight cancer and inflammation, but will definitely go back to rooibos in future.

Dr Tandeka Magcwebeba is currently a postdoctoral fellow in SU’s Department of Biochemistry. She recently spoke about her research at SU’s annual New Voices in Science colloquium held at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advance Study (STIAS).

​Photo: Tandeka with one of the apparatuses she used as part of her research.

​Photographer: Justin Alberts