Aspalathus linearis

Herbs gallery - Rooibos

Common names

  • Red Bush Tea
  • Rooibos

Red bush or rooibos is a plant that has little therapeutic value. Rooibos tea is not only appreciated by people for its excellent flavour, but also because the beverage does not have any unwanted effect on the body or mind. Normally, the dehydrated leaves and the fine stems are used as tea. Despite the popularity of the tea, earlier, there was some confusion over its name.

However, this has been settled now and it has been agreed that henceforth the plant would be generally known as Aspalathus linearis. Occasionally, the rooibos plant is also called Borbonia pinifolia Marloth or Aspalathus contaminate.

Aspalathus linearis or Borbonia pinifolia Marloth or Aspalathus contaminate is a shrub that belongs to the Fabaceae family and is said to have its home in the South African mountainous terrains. Currently, the shrub is found in other parts of the world too where it is cultivated for its flavor.

In fact, the plant Aspalathus linearis is now widely cultivated, especially in the Cedarberg Mountains close to the Clanwilliam district of South Africa. Normally, the plant grows to a height of approximately six feet and has spiny leaves that transforms to brick red color when they are damaged or crushed.

The Aspalathus linearis plant is harvested in late summer or during autumn. After harvesting, the long stalks of the plant are chopped into smaller parts. The cut stems along with the leaves are then moisturized, crushed and then left to ferment for some time.

After the fermentation, the substance is left out in the sun to be dehydrated. The end product is the red bush tea that is prepared like the common or ordinary tea. In fact, today the red bush tea or rooibos is the most well-liked hot brew in South Africa.

The red bush tea may be drunk straightforwardly by adding sugar and milk as according to the aficionado's personal liking. However, the taste for the red bush tea essentially needs to be acquired or developed by the consumer.

The red bush tea or rooibos is liked all across South Africa as well as in some other parts of the world owing to its superb flavour and also because of the fact that it has insignificant tannin content. The beverage is also highly refreshing. The tannin content in the red bush tea is approximately five per cent and, unlike the common tea and coffee, it is complete free from the presence of caffeine.

In addition to these advantages, the red bush tea also encloses significant amount of vitamin C. The content of vitamin C has been found to be approximately 0.0016 per cent. The red bush tea or rooibos is most acceptable to people who wish to have a refreshing hot drink that is free from tannin as well as caffeine.

It is interesting to note that the rooibos tea encloses more than 37 natural or common antioxidants, several minerals, vitamin C and alpha-hydroxy acid (a natural acid in which a hydroxyl acid is connected to a carbon atom). Unlike other beverages like tea and coffee, rooibos tea does not possess caffeine and contains very less proportion of tannin.

Parts used



Rooibos is valued for its multi-purpose remedial effects. It is an anti-viral, anti-allergy and anti-anxiety mediator. The plant is widely recommended as a supplementary medication while treating syphilis as it inhibits common inflammation (swelling and irritation) and reduces pain. However, the herb does not cure the disease. Rooibos is also effectual in treating mental disorders related to old age.

In addition, preparations from the rooibos are frequently used as a alternate for milk for children who are inclined to suffer from stomach aches or colic. The herb is also said to have an anti-spasmodic action as it relieves cramps.

Researches have shown that rooibos is also beneficial in reducing the hazards of heart disease and other conditions related to aging. Proof regarding the last two functions of the herb is increasing with each research or study on the herb.

As mentioned above, rooibos has several remedial benefits. The therapeutic benefits of the herb for precise health conditions are listed below.

Researches have shown that it is possible that rooibos impedes the release of histamine, an organic derivative of ammonia discharged by immune cells producing allergic reactions. In fact, the release of histamine is said to be liable for nasal congestion as well as stomach disorders during allergic effects and anxiety.

Hence, this property of rooibos makes the herb immensely beneficial for everyone suffering from food allergies and respiratory allergies. The herb is also useful for smaller children, as the tea prepared with rooibos is known to be safe, mild and uncontaminated.

A couple of studies conducted by Japanese scientists have found that rooibos is active against or combats the human immunodeficiency virus. The polysaccharide (a complex carbohydrate) amalgams present in rooibos thwarts the HIV from sticking to its intended or target cells in the body.

In addition, the polysaccharides are more active and useful in dilutions that are totally uncontaminated or free from all toxicity to the vigorous human tissues.

Interestingly, the tea prepared from rooibos is well-liked and accepted by all, including herbalist, common consumers as well as medical practitioners, in South Africa during bed time. This is possibly owing to the fact that the beverage prepared with the herb helps in stimulating sleep.

Researches have shown that rooibos induces sleep straightforwardly by influencing the metabolism (the process by which ingested food is transformed into energy) of acetylcholine (a substance known to be a transmitter of nerve impulses) in the brain and thwarting the disproportionate discharge of neurons responsible for wakefulness.

In some other way, rooibos provokes sleepiness by obstructing the reactions of the hormones that lead to pain and irritation or inflammation. It has been observed that rooibos is useful in curing insomnia, which is caused by drugs for Alzheimer's disease. However, here is a word of caution. The tea prepared with rooibos should be used for this purpose only after consultation and consent of the physician.

Side effects and cautions

Rooibos is available in the market in tea form and has similarities with the black tea. Akin to black tea, rooibos too slows down the absorption of iron from the consumed food. However, rooibos is less effective than the black tea in soaking up iron from the ingested food.

Hence, people suffering from deficiency of iron and related diseases should try to avoid drinking the rooibos as well as black tea. Drinking any of the two beverages may be detrimental for their health as they are likely to further bring down the iron content in their system.


From DD - Mar-03-2021
I drank two cups of rooibos iced tea and shortly started feeling strange, elevated heart rate, light headedness. A few hours later I developed a rash on my back (I suffer from eczema) and my throat felt constricted the same way as when I eat peanuts. From my research I've since learned rooibos is in the legume family (like peanuts) so I caution anyone who has peanut allergies to drink this tea.
From Angela - Mar-31-2019
Regular rooibos is a fermented tea. As such, everything that's fermented contains an amino acid called tyramine. Most people have no problem with tyramine, but for some it causes heart palpitations and can give digestive issues.
So, whilst rooibos is a great tea, if you struggle with tyramine and you can find it in all aged cheeses, soy sauce, yeast extracts, fermented drinks like wine and beer, and in various quantities in food as it goes off, then steer clear of rooibos. You can drink it green and you should be fine.
From BB1 - Jan-21-2018
I love this tea but, I notice an increase in heart palpitations when I consume it. I suffered from SVT's when I was younger but treated it with an ablation. Now as an adult, I get PVC's. I definitely get them sometimes from the tea. I am not exactly sure of what is going, perhaps that drop in blood pressure that everyone claims it can do.
I love the taste of it and I hope I can figure out if it is actually the tea or something else. But from the sounds of everyone else's comments, it most likely the tea. I think it is just not for those with sensitive cardiac systems.
From Mike C. - Jun-26-2015
I recently dropped off coffee and switched to rooibos tea. I had been experiencing heartburn, hypertensive tightness in the chest and gastric sensitivity and discomfort and decided to eliminate things from my diet one at a time.
The coffee was the first to go, replaced by chai rooibos. The first couple of days seemed to produce a bit of heartburn after drinking more than one cup but that went away. Now I notice the gastric issues are nearly gone, the heartburn has stopped and the chest tension is dramatically reduced.
I am not sure if it is the removal of so much coffee or the replacement with rooibos tea. I am hoping that the reduction of stress and cortisol that was caused by the coffee might help me loose a few pounds too. Let's hope so.
From Bobby - Feb-06-2015
I recently purchased an organic brand of rooibos tea by the name of "Numi". There are no other additives or ingredients. Now, I had been drinking it for over a week and noticed some slight side effects that I didn't take much notice of. I noticed my heart rate had increased, but nothing too severe.
I just know that I didn't feel 100%. Now, after a week of drinking this, my heart rate was jacked! My blood pressure went through the roof! For 4 days my heart palpitations continued and I couldn't catch my breath. I thought for sure I was going to stroke out.
My heart felt like it was working way way too hard. I never thought that it could be the tea, but after wondering what I had recently changed in my diet, I finally pin pointed the culprit. It was the rooibos. It's been three days now that I have been off of this stuff and my blood pressure has almost stabilized and the palpitations are gone. I feel much better.
Now, I don't know what causes this in some people, but from what I read here it's been quite common. I don't know if it's an allergy or what. If you're going to try this tea, be very, very careful, it could possibly be detrimental to your health.
From Adeline Thomas - Oct-28-2014
I wondered why I had three major nosebleeds in the last week. I usually drink a bit of rooibos tea, alternating it with other teas...but being on vacation away from home I took with me a box of rooibos tea and drank two to three cups a day...!!! The last nosebleed was so bad that my sisters and I thought that I would end up in hospital.
I also had been taken baby aspirin at night and those particular night that I had the nosebleed I also had a glass of wine. The combination of the three, less iron in my blood...etc. Thank you for sharing this info. Now I can see once again that any abuse of anything can cause problems, even such a tea with all its good stuff in it...!
From Lorraine - Aug-01-2014
To all those who have complaints about rooibos tea. If you are substituting rooibos for caffeinated drinks like coffee or black tea, I suggest you look up caffeine withdrawal symptoms. You may well find that some of the complaints like headache and nausea are caffeine withdrawal symptoms.
Stomach cramps may be due to constipation because caffeine stimulates bowel movement and withdrawal of caffeine can cause constipation. Quitting caffeine can cause increase in heart rate and for some an increase in blood pressure.
So if you have recently changed from caffeine to rooibos don't be too hasty in blaming rooibos for your symptoms. It maybe just caffeine withdrawal symptoms and they will pass.
From Peter - May-11-2014
I started drinking red bush tea recently but started to get stomach aches and lots of excess bowel wind. I stopped taking it for about a week and the problems with aches and wind disappeared.
I have just started taking the red bush tea again and the problems have returned. As far as I'm concerned not enough is known about side effects or the true side effects are not being considered or published.
From Soft - May-09-2014
I have been drinking rooibos since I was a child and I have never had any problems with it. A few days ago I bought Laager green rooibos with citrus and ginger and drank only 2 cups! And I have been sick all week! It feels as though I have tonsils and my body has been so weak. I'm never drinking it again.
From Sada - Apr-06-2013
I have been drinking min. 1 litre of rooibos daily for 6 yrs, I recently changed my usual brand to an organic brand. I started having some upper abdomen, back tightness and pain. I increasingly felt sick and started having heart flutters with a salty taste in mouth....by the 3rd week I was feeling week, sick with more frequent palpitations. I never had this issues with the former non organic brand.
From Gary New York - Feb-04-2013
I am the first to be sensitive to anything when it comes to health, blood pressure, etc. And I can I honestly say that rooibos tea lowers my anxiety and blood pressure. A friend of my drinks it all day and has cholesterol in the 70's. That said, everyone is different, so you won't know until you try. The risk? Zero. Just stop taking it if it bothers you.
From Penny - Jan-27-2013
The rooibos was absolutely amazing in helping me sleep - after years of disrupted sleep I slept straight through and was dreaming again. Unfortunately, I also started having hot flushes, which stopped as soon as I stopped drinking the tea. I am now warily trying an organic rooibos to see if that helps.
From Rjohn - Nov-22-2012
I enjoyed the rooibos tea, but over the few weeks it made my gums and teeth increasingly sensitive. I am also taking MMS, but nothing else reacts with it. The article states that hormones can be inhibited, which can explain intense effects. Caffeine will spike one's cortisol levels inhibiting sleep in one person, while reducing stress in another, who may have taxed adrenals.
From Ess Cee - Sep-27-2011
A friend who visited South Africa's Western Cape brought me a package of organic, loose Red Rooibos tea by Carmien. I was happy to discover how delicious it is. With my sensitive system and blood sugar problems I had to stop drinking black tea, even decaffeinated.
Sadly I noticed I have the same blood sugar reaction to rooibos and there are no other teas or additives in it, no caffeine and supposedly no other simulating properties. After several attempts I now know I will have to give it up.
From Claire-South Africa - Aug-25-2011
Anybody that says that proper rooibos tea is bad for their health / raises their blood pressure is obviously not consuming the right stuff - Get the proper tea from South Africa....problem solved! It is brilliant for your health, so I am puzzled to hear some of these silly comments that say that their blood pressures are raised or they get upset tummies.
This tea alleviates stomach ailments, not promotes it...........I think some of you folks have this tea confused with something else.
From Pat Long - May-17-2011
I have drank rooibos tea for 10 yrs before having negative reactions, like upset stomach and recently dizziness, weakness and ill feeling. I have loved this tea and I'm very disappointed that I can't drink it anymore. I have had high blood pressure but never thought of it in connection to the tea.
If anything I think it brought my blood pressure too low the past two times I drank it. For me it's toxic now. I was drinking the Numi Green Rooibos which I consider a good brand. I use to drink the Republic of Tea brand of rooibos.
From Erin - Mar-20-2011
Only drink rooibos tea made and packaged in South Africa, the rest have things added. I drink about 4 cups a day and it is the only tea I can drink that does not raise my blood pressure. I have a lot of food allergies and it also soothes my stomach.
I have tried other makes of this tea packaged in EU and I can taste the difference and it makes me ill, if you read the contents on the box you can check nothing has been added.
From Liz - Feb-06-2011
I really enjoy rooibos now. I have a heart defect and suffer from premature beats as well as suffering from migraines with aura. The rooibos has not increased either but I also drink an organic rooibos that is not mixed with any other herbs. I also do not mix it and do not add any sugars or sweeteners to it. This has become an excellent way to enjoy a hot cup of "tea" in the evenings.
I am caffeine sensitive so I cannot drink black tea in large amounts and definitely not after 5pm or I will never sleep. Rooibos has an excellent smooth flavor. I have been drinking it for awhile and have not had any negative side effects from it. It works for me and I love it.
From Tim - Jan-19-2011
I drink Rishi Organic Rooibos teas from Milwaukee nightly. I use it to help me sleep due to my anxiety and ADD issues. I'm notice that I no longer shake my leg at night and dream of whatever before bed. Causing me to not fall asleep very well. I am a healthy 30 year old man in the military and started drinking rooibos cause I stopped Adderral.
However, my wife gets an upset stomach when drinking it. Bottom line, the peppermint and regular rooibos is tasty and it helps me sleep well. Besides the fact that my wife gets an upset stomach and that I have deep dreams at night it works for me. I'm not sure on the blood pressure thing. I'll have to monitor it. Just give it a try.
From Roger, South Africa - Jan-16-2011
With due respect to negative comments regarding high blood pressure, palpitations, headaches etc. caused from rooibos.
Absolute nonsense - There is nothing in rooibos tea that could cause or elevate these conditions / symptoms. I suggest you check the brand, source, packers and growing region of the tea you are consuming. I suspect that preservatives, flavorants and contaminated packaging is the cause of adverse reactions ( Typical in USA / AU ).
The only source of genuine / natural rooibos tea is South Africa: Brands = Freshpak, Laager, Eleven O' Clock.
If your rooibos was not grown and packed in South Africa by one of the above Companies - don't consume it !!
( Lipton /5 Roses / Trinco brands are suspects ).
All bottled 'Rooibos Iced Teas' have zero health value, and are full of preservatives, colorants, sweeteners (Aspartame) etc.
Flavoured variants of Rooibos Teas are also 'Suspect' as they contain carcinogen chemical flavourants.
South Africans of all ages, race groups and states of health, consume over 30 million cups of rooibos tea everyday - without a single adverse / negative medical incident reported or recorded in over 100 years.
Avoid any rooibos that is 'Bulk Imported' and packaged outside of South Africa.
@Kistian St. Clare - If your cups are not stained from rooibos tea, then it's not genuine rooibos.
From G. Griffin Sage - 2010
I absolutely love rooibos! I just let the food settle a bit, drink some water, use it for sleep to calm myself during the day. To just feel good. I'm all over natural non supplemental forms of zinc, magnesium, potassium.
Much harder to come by than iron it seems which is everything especially processed foods and "vitamins." Everyone's body is different. Even that of identical twins. And every plant is different even if they are clones because the environment (or Gaia) guides their development.
From Meridee - 2010
After six months of drinking 3 cups a day I developed increasing ectopic palpitation beats almost every 4th beat. Since stopping the tea the ectopics have stopped. I am too relieved to be free of the beats I am too gutless to try the tea to check if this was the cause.
From Fooch - 2010
I have had 3 cups thus far. No headaches or other symptoms. Mine is an organic brand from Pikes Market in Seattle. I'm actually enjoying a cup right now.
From Linda - 2010
I can attest to the fact that the red rooibos tea mix I began drinking 5 days ago has raised my blood pressure significantly! I have had nothing different except this tea mix and BOOM! My blood pressure was way up. This definitely needs to be checked out! I'll be throwing away this incredibly expensive tea mix I purchased because of this. Beware of rooibos if you have hypertension!
From Betty G - 2010
I seem to feel a tightness in my chest after I have been drinking rooibos tea. It might be due to something else so I am going to go off it for a moment. I am being treated for high blood pressure, but there is no evidence that it was raised by rooibos tea.
From Brian Skory - 2010
Oddly, rooibos seems to spike my blood pressure as well. I've tried Yogi and Trader Joes. Granted, they are blended with several other spices which could be the culprit, so will have to try straight rooibos to be sure.
From Sal Vatore in Va Beach - 2010
I put 4 'perfect' tea spoons in 1 1/2 quarters of very hot water (Pyrex). I cover and let steep all day (does not get bitter or astringent). I pour in a funnel with a strainer inside into 3 used bottles of iced tea (Honest T, Lipton, etc). I squeeze in a couple drops of honey and put in my fridge. I drink two a day with no sleep/diuretic effects. I've been doing this for about a year.
From Esther - 2010
Seems to have same diuretic effect as black tea. I made the mistake of drinking two cups one evening, and spent the next two days running to the restroom!
From Maria - 2010
After not having migraines for over a year, and then drinking two cups of this tea in one day, I had a horrible migraine. Had another cup this afternoon and started to experience the migraine aura, so I quit. Don't know if there is a connection or not but I won't drink it again.
From Mary - 2010
When I first began drinking rooibos, I began to experience headaches after a week or so. I stopped drinking it for months and decided to try again. Same problem. Later on I discussed my experience with a friend from South Africa who is well acquainted with rooibos tea. she said to drink only organic rooibos. I took her advice and have been able to enjoy rooibos with no side effects!
From Anonymous - 2010
Not sure why this is not sold primarily as a sleep aid. For me it immediately slows my mind and to sleep I go. All night long.
From Andrea - 2010
I have just started drinking this, however, I have felt like a volcano ready to erupt today! I am medicated for high blood pressure and suspect that it has been severely elevated, headache, anxiety, palpitation and nosebleed today. Shame but be warned!
From Melissa - 2010
Please use rooibos with caution if you have a peanut or legume allergy. I had a severe reaction after drinking my third cup of the tea. Although it is delicious, it certainly should never be recommended for "everyone with food allergies".
From Mark Spain - 2010
I believe that I might have a common denominator with David Goodwin, in that I also suspect rooibos tea of raising my blood pressure. But I like the taste, and will probably give it one more chance before crossing it off my list forever.
Yesterday, after one tall glass of rooibos iced tea, my systolic was high enough to be mildly alarming, when it had been only 113 that morning. I believe it has this effect even more than regular iced tea, and regular iced tea has some caffeine in it.
The kind I have been buying is Celestial Seasonings Madagascar Vanilla African Rooibos, available, in Orlando, Florida, at Whole Foods. I use one bag per 8 oz. in making iced tea.
For anyone with similar issues, try Cafix for a great hot drink. No caffeine, and it seems to have no effect on my blood pressure.
From Aussie Merrin - 2010
I have consumed vast quantities of rooibos tea over the past 25 years having loved the taste since being introduced to it by South African friends. Rooibos is readily available here in Australia. Such a shame that it impedes absorption of iron.
From Ephraim - 2010
Rooibos is just excellent: no caffeine, very little tannin (I am told) but with lots of antioxidants and vitamins. Very soothing and good flavour; I don't use any other tea ever since 1996 I found it in South Africa. Even here in England, I have to hunt for it in supermarkets because most of the teas here are awful to my taste (except herbal teas)!
From Kistian St. Clare - 2010
Rooibos definitely makes me sleepy sometimes, but not always. I have completely given up tea and coffee and replaced them with rooibos and sometimes Caro (a German coffee substitute). Feel 100% better! No signs of high blood pressure that I can see from rooibos. I also notice rooibos doesn't seem to stain cups like tea does so I'm guessing it won't discolor teeth in the same way.
From David Goodwin - 2010
I am very suspicious that rooibos has been the cause of my raised blood pressure. I have been carefully monitoring my blood pressure over a long period and believe that I can see a direct relationship between the level of consumption of rooibos and my blood pressure.
From Tammy Wilson - 2010
I bought rooibos amanzi tea at the mall. I chose limoncello and I have to tell you....the stuff made me fall asleep. It worked so well I searched the internet and ended up here... so to all who can't get a good nights rest...sip on limoncello before bed. When it said calming it was not joking!
From Violetta T. - 2010
I bought rooibos tea in the organic department of Fred Meyers. Numi carries this tea in the organic version in tea bags. I use it to help my 8 month old sleep through the night. I mix his formula before bedtime with 4 ounces of water and 2 ounces of the tea. He drinks it all and sleeps through the night. I will recommend this tea to all my friends that have fussy babies!
From Doug H - 2010
Rooibos tea is an excellent iced tea with a little lemon-aid mixed in. Try it, you'll love it!
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