International and local celebrities such as golfer Gary Player, supermodel Cindy Crawford, acclaimed actor Sir Anthony Hopkins, actress Lerato Moloi, and singer James Morrison all love Rooibos. Even President Jacob Zuma is a fan!

Rooibos is internationally renowned for its versatility and numerous health benefits, but did you know that the herb which grows exclusively in a small area in the Cape has a major celebrity following? International and local celebs such as golfer Gary Player, supermodel Cindy Crawford, acclaimed actor Sir Anthony Hopkins, actress Lerato Moloi, singer James Morrison, and Duran Duran front man Simon Le Bon all love Rooibos and its unique properties. Even President Jacob Zuma is a fan – when asked what would be the first thing he did in office, he simply replied “Drink a cup of Rooibos tea with honey and lemon!”
Rooibos has also found its way into books with Precious Ramotswe, the lead character in Alexander McCall Smith’s best-selling series The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency, saying “This is a tea for people who really appreciate tea. Ordinary tea is for anyone”. In the books Ramotswe always serves Rooibos tea to her clients and guests. A television mini-series, now available on our screens, has been adapted from the books, which is set to make Rooibos even more famous.
The Rooibos brand has a strong following even in countries as far away as Canada where a local band, The Stills, have titled one of their songs “Rooibos”, after the lead singer’s fondness for the tea.
Some Hollywood A-listers that recognize the varied uses and benefits of Rooibos are Catherine Zeta Jones and Angelina Jolie. At the wedding of Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas, they served Rooibos flavoured ice-cream. Angelina Jolie’s perfect pout is lathered with a lip balm that boasts Rooibos and a variety of other unusual ingredients.
Oprah Winfrey is another Rooibos fan. In a recent interview with celebrity doctor, Mehmet Oz, she said “I love Rooibos tea because it’s decaffeinated.”
The South African Rooibos Council says “We are very proud of this trend-setting treasure of ours.” Rooibos seems to be gaining in popularity daily. In South Africa alone, there are well over 20 million cups of Rooibos tea drunk every year. Rooibos even has a loyal following on Facebook with over 4000 fans and group members.


Rooibos has tremendous health-boosting properties – particularly for the liver, which takes a beating over the festive season. Scientists found that the antioxidants in Rooibos help to protect liver cells against free radicals and help damaged liver tissue to regenerate.

New Year’s Eve is upon us and that means it’s time pop the corks and raise a glass to 2016. But if you are one of the many who overindulge on the big night, it may hearten you to know that recovering from a hangover is easy when you understand the basics.

It’s actually the dehydrating effect of alcohol that is the major cause of a hangover, so a tried and tested way to prevent that morning attack of dry-mouth and headache is to rehydrate your body with liquids. But rather than reaching for ordinary tap-water, why not enjoy a cup of Rooibos tea instead? Besides being a refreshing and delicious water substitute, Rooibos also has tremendous health-boosting properties – particularly for the liver, which takes a beating over the festive season.

Scientists have found that the antioxidants in Rooibos help to protect liver cells against free radicals and also help damaged liver tissue to regenerate. They therefore recommend long-term use of Rooibos to prevent liver problems, but also to treat liver diseases.

Our overindulgence over the festive season prompts many a New Year’s resolution to look after our bodies’ better, increase our exercise levels and eat a healthier diet. We suggest that this New Year, when South African pride is running high on the eve of the Soccer World Cup, that you pledge to drink six cups of Rooibos tea a day for maximum benefit. Rooibos forms the perfect base for a healthy diet and lifestyle and offers many additional benefits, such as anti-ageing, cancer prevention, reducing anxiety, and more.



With the onset of another harsh South African summer, excessive exposure to sun should be avoided at all costs. But if you do have a lapse and end up with nasty sunburn, you may be surprised to know that one of the best sunburn remedies is South Africa’s own Rooibos!

With the onset of another harsh South African summer, excessive exposure to sun should be avoided at all costs. But if you do have a lapse and end up with nasty sunburn, you may be surprised to know that one of the best sunburn remedies is South Africa’s own Rooibos!

Rooibos not only promotes healthy, smooth skin, but may especially be useful when applied to skin irritations like itchy skin, eczema, sunburns, and acne. What’s more, Rooibos is rich in antioxidants shown to fight inflammation. So the next time you find yourself red and inflamed from too much exposure to the sun, add Rooibos tea to cool bath water and let its healing go to work. You can also look out for the variety of Rooibos skin products for adults and babies at your retailer that are natural, effective and beneficial for a range of cosmetic needs.

In addition, cool Rooibos tea or used tea bags can also soothe the skin and slow down signs of ageing. Research indicates Rooibos has the potential to prevent and treat skin cancer*. Separate studies proved the ability of Rooibos to reduce the skin’s sensitivity to the sun (UV radiation)**.

*The ability of Rooibos to act as “chemopreventors” in skin cancer was highlighted in an article published in 2005, as the result of the work of a South African research team. They showed that topical (external) application of the tea fractions significantly suppressed tumour growth in mice with skin cancer, when using processed and unprocessed Rooibos. Reference for supporting scientific article: Cancer Letters, 224, 193 – 202 (2005).

**Shindo, Y., Kato, K., 1991. Effect of rooibos tea on some dermatological diseases. In: Proceedings of the International Symposium on Tea Science. The Organizing Committee of ISTS, Shizuoka, Japan, p. 385-389.



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.



South African mothers have been using Rooibos to help soothe their babies’ colic and stomach cramps for generations. Now, international research shows that Rooibos can assist people of all ages in the treatment of gastrointestinal problems like diarrhoea and abdominal spasms.

Diarrhoea can have a number of causes such as indigestion, adverse reactions to certain medications, eating spoiled or spicy food and allergic reactions to certain food types. Research findings have revealed that because Rooibos is packed with flavonoids, which have antispasmodic properties, it can have a calming effect on the digestive system – relieving diarrhoea and soothing associated abdominal cramping. In addition, because Rooibos is caffeine-free, it can be useful as a gastro-protector as caffeine is known to stimulate gastrointestinal juices.

One of the most commonly experienced side-effects of diarrhoea is dehydration and it is advised that diarrhoea sufferers drink sufficient amounts of water and fluids. By drinking 6 cups of Rooibos tea a day to supplement their fluid intake, people can also benefit from its health properties.



Rooibos tea, with its calming properties, is one of South Africa’s favourite bedtime drinks to promote a good night’s sleep.

Getting six to eight hours of sleep each night is essential for the body and mind to function at their optimum. This is because during sleep, the body repairs itself and replenishes its energy supplies that have been depleted during waking hours. Without sufficient rest, people often find that they become irritable and have mood swings. They also become forgetful and their ability to think clearly becomes impaired. In short, sleep is needed for survival. Rooibos tea, with its calming properties, is one of South Africa’s favourite bedtime drinks to promote a good night’s sleep.

The evidence that Rooibos reduces nervous tension and promotes sound sleep is largely anecdotal, based on generations of use, but this effect has been acknowledged by scientists.

Because Rooibos is naturally caffeine free, it is also ideal for children and babies – recommended by generations of South African mothers to aid healthy sleep patterns in the entire family.



Rooibos tea has formed part of the diet of South African children for generations, and with good reason. Given its unique ability to cure and soothe, coupled with its lack of caffeine, this remarkable tea has been used by moms to help relieve a range of little ones’ ailments such as insomnia, food allergies, stomach cramps and eczema.

These days, parents are becoming increasingly concerned about the possible effects that colourants, preservatives and other additives found in a number of beverages could have on their kids, such as behavioural changes and allergic reactions. Rooibos tea, which can be served hot or as a refreshing iced tea, is an ideal beverage choice for children as it is 100% natural and nutritious and is free of colourants, caffeine, sugars and preservatives.

Japanese research and anecdotal evidence has shown that Rooibos tea can help to alleviate allergies and may even relieve asthma. In addition, because it is rich in antioxidants that fight destructive free radicals, Rooibos tea can help to strengthen the immune system which means fewer runny noses and colds. These antioxidants can also help to protect the liver, which allows the body to eliminate toxins.

Sleep is vital for children since it is during this time that growth hormones are released. Whilst your child is asleep, his or her body is busy repairing itself and replenishing the energy supplies that have been depleted during waking hours. To ensure that your child has a restful night’s sleep cup of Rooibos tea at night can help to round off the day on a good note as the calmative properties in Rooibos are known to soothe and ease nervous tension thereby promoting a good night’s sleep.


More evidence that Rooibos protects the heart

With World Heart Day being celebrated on 29 September 2015, new research findings of a natural, affordable and uniquely South African product that promotes heart health is good news.

A recent study in Spain found that Rooibos helps to reduce cholesterol and other fats and fatty acids in the blood of mice with abnormally high blood fat levels that were fed an unhealthy high-fat, high-cholesterol, western-style diet for 14 weeks.

The findings of a team of researchers, representing several Spanish biomedical research centres and universities, were published in the journal Phytomedicine (15 March 2011, Vol 18, No 5, pp 414 – 424).

The results show that Rooibos can prevent the development of serious health conditions by preventing the liver from storing excessive fat, without increasing the accumulation of fat under the skin and around major organs. Rooibos not only reduced the number and size of the fat cells, but also completely prevents the development of fatty liver disease – a condition where fat accumulates in the cells of the liver. Rooibos probably achieves these health benefits by increasing the body’s metabolic rate.

The researchers also looked at the make-up of the polyphenols in Rooibos and concluded that the complex mix of antioxidants in Rooibos are jointly responsible for its beneficial effects, and that it is therefore better to drink Rooibos tea, rather than isolated compounds from Rooibos.

This study confirms the findings of a 2009 South African study in humans, led by Professor Jeanine Marnewick, a specialist researcher at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. She was able to show a very favourable effect in adults, at risk of heart disease, who drank six cups of Rooibos every day for six weeks. Rooibos not only protected against oxidative lipid damage, but also favourably improved the lipid profile of the participants by reducing the total blood cholesterol levels by 10%, with a significant reduction in the “bad” LDL cholesterol levels. Her study also collected safety data for Rooibos and confirmed that it is safe to drink, with no negative effects on liver or kidney functions, and no effect on iron levels in the blood.

According to the World Health Organisation, cardiovascular diseases are the world’s largest killers, claiming 17.1 million lives a year. Risk factors for heart disease and stroke include raised blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels, smoking, inadequate intake of fruit and vegetables, overweight, obesity and physical inactivity.

Local study examines rooibos anti-ageing potential

The pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries have long sought to restore and reverse the effects of ageing, now local scientists are investigating whether rooibos may hold some answers.

The contention that this indigenous plant could beneficial in countering the effects of time is not that far-fetched. The most accepted theory of ageing is the free-radical hypothesis. Rooibos is rich in antioxidants, which bind with free-radicals and prevent them from damaging cells.

Numerous local and international studies have proved that the antioxidants in rooibos slow down and prevent various forms of cancer, reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke and provide a plethora of other health benefits. There is, however, little published research on its precise molecular and cellular involvement against ageing.

Professor Maryna van de Venter of the Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology and her colleague, Dr Trevor Koekemoer, at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University are seeking to rectify this.

Prof Van de Venter explains that one of the characteristics associated with ageing is the progressive redistribution of body fat. This results in a decrease in the subcutaneous fat (the layer just under the skin) and an expansion in abdominal fat.

Subcutaneous fat loss leads to cosmetic changes such as wrinkles, sunken eyes and skin folds. The accumulation of body fat is potentially more harmful. Visceral fat is associated with increased risk of many age-related diseases, including insulin resistance, diabetes and heart disease.

“In layman’s terms there’s less fat in the places where it should be and more in the places it shouldn’t, with substantial clinical consequences,” she explains.

Preadipocytes, the cells from which fat cells develop, may be the reason this happens. These represent between 15% and 50% of the cells in adipose (fat) tissue and consequently are likely to have a significant influence on its growth and function.

Recent studies have shown that over time preadipocytes lose their ability to multiply and develop into mature fat cells. Although scientists are not yet sure why this happens, they believe inflammation of the fatty tissue, oxidative stress and the introduction of factors which prevent the cells from dividing may contribute.

Prof Van de Venter’s research will investigate the potential influence that the antioxidants contained in rooibos may have on these molecular mechanisms thought to cause preadipocyte dysfunction. Preventing this may slow or even reverse age-related adipose redistribution and associated cosmetic changes and health risks.

The findings will contribute to our understanding of the health benefits of rooibos and provide much-needed scientific evidence to substantiate its anti-ageing properties, beyond what is already known about its antioxidant capacity.


Enjoy Rooibos – red or green – as both offer health benefits

Green Rooibos tea has higher levels of antioxidants than traditional Rooibos, but recent studies are proving that both kinds of Rooibos protect against a range of diseases, and that drinking green Rooibos is not necessarily better.

Prof Jeanine Marnewick has been involved in Rooibos research for more than 15 years

Prof Jeanine Marnewick has been involved in Rooibos research for more than 15 years.

“People should drink the kind of Rooibos they enjoy most, since we now know that Rooibos with a higher-antioxidant content does not always provide the best benefits,” recommends Professor Jeanine Marnewick, manager of the Oxidative Stress Research Centre in the Faculty of Health and Wellness Sciences at Cape Peninsula University of Technology.

Professor Marnewick, who has been actively involved in Rooibos research over the last 15 years, explains that it is not only the level of antioxidants, but also the specific combinations of bio-active compounds in Rooibos that are important. “The health benefits from drinking Rooibos tea will also be different for every person – depending on your overall health status,” she adds.

Scientists are still busy unravelling the complex pathways whereby the active compounds in Rooibos can play a role in disease prevention, but several studies done on skin, liver, heart and oesophagus models, researchers have shown that traditional rooibos offers similar (and sometimes even better) health properties compared to green Rooibos.

Researchers at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology found that both traditional and green Rooibos were able to protect and aid recovery of hearts tissue in rats following damage of the heart .

A recent study at South Africa’s Medical Research Council showed that green and traditional Rooibos could play a significant role in preventing or slowing done cancer of the oesophagus .

A collaborative study in Europe showed that both green and fermented Rooibos significantly increases the antioxidant capacity in human blood, thereby boosting the body’s natural defences.

In an earlier study on skin cancer in mice researchers at South Africa’s Medical Research Council Found that traditional rooibos was even more effective than green rooibos at inhibiting cancer.

Much like making wine, making a good quality Rooibos tea is both a science and an art. The characteristic colour and flavour of Rooibos tea develops when enzymes that occur naturally in the plant turns the shredded green tea leaves reddish brown. This happens on the tea court while the moist tea is slowly dried in the sun. When making green Rooibos, this step is skipped and the tea is dried as soon as possible in order to inactivate the enzymes in the plant and retain the green colour in the dried leaves.