Rooibos Tea: Caffeine-Free With a Health Kick

Rooibos Tea: Caffeine-Free With a Health Kick – Brief Article

From the Himalayas to the Cliffs of Dover, people drink tea with faithful ritual. In Tibet they take it with butter, in England with cream. And now there’s good reason for Americans to take it seriously.

The tea plant, Camellia sinensis, comes in many forms–black, green, oolong. What makes Camellia so healthful is its polyphenols, antioxidants that protect against cell damage and help prevent diseases like age-related decline, cancer and heart disease. But herbal teas like chamomile don’t have the same benefits. That is, all except one. The South African “rooibos,” meaning red bush in Afrikaans, has the benefits of Camellia without the caffeine.

Daneel Ferreira, M.D., of the University of Mississippi, studied and compared rooibos with Camellia and found that both contain a similar amount of polyphenols. And a study at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom bears out the benefits. Researchers found that tea drinking is associated with higher bone-mineral density. Among the 1,256 women studied, tea drinkers were up to 20% less likely to suffer bone fractures. And at Case Western Reserve School of Medicine, tea polyphenols helped prevent the development of arthritis in lab mice.

With rooibos’ many benefits,Americans should consider incorporating England’s afternoon tea ritual–for both its soothing and healing potential.

COPYRIGHT 2001 Sussex Publishers, Inc.

COPYRIGHT 2001 Gale Group