What is Rooibos? Get to know this flavorful, beneficial herbal tea

What is Rooibos? Rooibos tea is a vibrantly colored, naturally caffeine-free herbal tea made from the South African Red Bush. Also referred to as 'red tea,' 'bush tea,' 'redbush tea,' or 'South African red tea,' Rooibos tea has a nutty, sweet taste and many health benefits.

Rooibos is referred to as a 'tea,' but, because it doesn't come from the same tea plant (Camellia sinensis) that gives us black, green, oolong, pu-erh, and white teas, tea aficionados would call Rooibos an herbal infusion or 'tisane,' rather than a tea.

The word 'Rooibos' is the Afrikaans word for 'red bush.' The Red Bush (Aspalanthus linearis), which grows only in the Cedarberg Mountain region in South Africa, is a member of the legume (pea) family. Its needle-like leaves are harvested to make Rooibos tea.

Red Rooibos Tea and Green Rooibos Tea

Rooibos herbal tea is available in two types - the traditional red Rooibos tea and Green Rooibos tea. The difference between the two varieties lies in the processing.

To make red Rooibos tea, the harvested Rooibos bush leaves are bruised and then left to oxidize for several hours (this is when Rooibos develops its deep amber color, sweet fragrance, and unique taste) before being spread in thin layers in the hot African sun and left to dry. Then, final sorting, grading, and packaging take place.

Rooibos Tea

For the greenish-hued, stronger-tasting Green Rooibos tea, the oxidization step is omitted. The more complex processing method for Green Rooibos means it can be more expensive and more difficult to find than traditional Rooibos.

Rooibos Health Benefits

Rooibos tea is growing in popularity, not only for its unique, enjoyable taste, but also as we learn more about the many health benefits of Rooibos tea.

Rooibos is naturally caffeine free, brimming in antioxidants, low in tannins, and high in vitamins and minerals. It is emerging as a remedy for anxiety, insomnia, and many other health concerns. Rooibos is even becoming known for its topical benefits.

And, because Rooibos tea is caffeine free and low in tannins, it has become a popular beverage with pregnant women and nursing mothers. Rooibos is also well known as a remedy for digestive troubles. In fact, many parents give Rooibos tea mixed with milk to their infants to soothe and relieve colic or stomach cramps.  

Rooibos tea has a lovely color and aroma, and its rich flavor is enjoyable iced or hot, on its own or with milk and sugar or lemon and honey (click here for simple recipes for hot or iced Rooibos). Rooibos tea is also available in so many delightful blends and flavors, you'll be expanding your answer to the question, "What is Rooibos?" quite quickly!

Why not try...

  • Why not try organic Rooibos tea or organic Green Rooibos tea? All the benefits of Rooibos tea, plus the additional comfort of knowing that, by choosing organic Rooibos, you've made a safe, healthy choice for yourself, and you're supporting our planet, as well!
  • Choosing fair trade Rooibos is another way you can do some good. Fair trade certified Rooibos ensures the growers and harvesters of your tea were protected - with a fair price and labor conditions, as well as a healthy working environment and social benefits.

Are there any risks in drinking Rooibos tea?

Although we still have much to learn about Rooibos tea, research into Rooibos side effects has yet to discover any significant risks associated with drinking Rooibos tea.

And, because it is caffeine free, Rooibos has none of the usual caffeine side effects (such as irritability, insomnia, and anxiety).

As with any tea, if you plan to add therapeutic levels to your diet, be sure to consult your healthcare provider first, to be sure it's a safe decision for you. This is particularly important if you are pregnant or nursing, are taking any prescription medications, have liver or kidney troubles, or are currently being treated for or have a history of cancer. Check with your healthcare provider, as well, before giving Rooibos tea to babies and children.

How do you pronounce 'Rooibos?'

Although you may be wondering, "What is Rooibos?", you may be hesitant to ask the question out loud, because you're also wondering how to pronounce 'Rooibos'! It's pronounced "ROY-boss."

More about Rooibos Tea Benefits

Rooibos Tea Health Benefits - Discover how this delicious, fragrant herbal tea can benefit your physical, emotional, and mental health.

Rooibos Tea Benefits & You - We'd love to hear about your experience with Rooibos tea! If you have some comments or advice about Rooibos tea for health and wellness, please share your story with our other readers here.

Rooibos Tea Recipes - Whether you love Rooibos tea hot, cold, or for its many topical benefits, you'll find a wonderful recipe on our 'Rooibos Tea Recipes' pages. 

Rooibos Tea for Detox - Is your body needing a detox? Learn more about some rejuvenating, cleansing herbal teas (including Rooibos) that are ideal detox teas. 

What is Rooibos? You've been hearing about Rooibos tea, but would like to know more before you try it (including how to pronounce 'Rooibos')! Get to know this herbal tisane on our 'What is Rooibos?' page.

Rooibos Tea or Red Tea - Are 'Rooibos tea' and 'Red tea' the same thing? Well, that depends...

SiteSell Hosting

What's Brewing at The Tea Talk

  1. Types of Tea

    The Camellia sinensis tea plant gives us the gift of different types of tea – all of our traditional teas (black, oolong, pu-erh, green, and white teas) come from this simple tea bush.

    Read More

  2. Camellia Sinensis

    The tea plant (Camellia sinensis), grown in exotic locales and brimming with wellness benefits, gives us the gift of tea and the entire traditional tea family.

    Read More

  3. Caffeine Facts

    If you’re a traditional tea lover, it’s essential to stay abreast of caffeine facts, like recommended maximum daily amounts and how to figure out how much caffeine you consume each day.

    Read More

A Note to Readers

Please know that The Tea Talk uses affiliate links in some of our posts. This means that clicking on or purchasing through a link may help us earn a small commission, which helps make this site possible. Thank you so much for your support! For more information, please see our Terms & Conditions