Rooibos tea helps keep your heart healthy

Rooibos tea in a white cup, a symbol of heart healthy and honey on the background

Drinking one shot of red espresso® Rooibos tea per day may help to keep the heart healthy by preventing oxidative damage to the lipids (fat molecules) in your blood, enhancing glutathione (antioxidant of the body) levels and by improving the blood lipid profile. It also reduces total blood cholesterol levels, especially the level of “bad” LDL cholesterol (Phytomedicine, 2011).

The first human clinical intervention trial with adults at risk of developing heart disease started in June 2007 at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), South Africa. The study was led by Dr Jeanine Marnewick, with collaborators at CPUT, University of Cape Town, University of Stellenbosch, North-West University and the Medical Research Council.

Marnewick’s study focused on the potential of Rooibos to protect against oxidative stress and inflammation associated with the development of heart disease. Oxidative stress is defined as an imbalance between oxidants and antioxidants, in favour of oxidants. An excess of these oxidants can damage important cellular components such as lipids, proteins and DNA, resulting in the development of several important degenerative diseases.

Men and women, aged 30 to 60, were included in the study. Each participant had one or more risk factor for heart disease. Examples of the risk factors are raised serum cholesterol levels, pre-hypertension, overweight/obesity, inactive lifestyle or a family history of coronary heart disease. The food and drink intake, as well as blood test results, of the participants were closely monitored over a period of 14 weeks. During a key part of the study the participants consumed six cups of Rooibos per day, followed by a period where they drank mainly water and no beverages with significant flavonoid content in order to compare the two different intervention periods.

The results of the trial were announced at a Rooibos science cafe in Cape Town during November 2008. Dr Marnewick found conclusive evidence that Rooibos significantly reduced several of the pertinent risk factors for cardiac disease. The results were submitted for publication in the scientific literature during 2009.

According to an article recently published by the South African Rooibos Council, further research studies have been conducted since then and in 2020, Adele du Toit, spokesperson for the SA Rooibos Council (SARC) cited a number of these studies which underscore Rooibos tea’s therapeutic potential. The following is a summary of the article:

“More than two decades of research has been conducted by some of the world’s top scientists to better understand how Rooibos can curb heart disease. The beneficial effects of Rooibos are largely attributed to its complex mix of antioxidant compounds. Currently, 59 of these have been identified of which Aspalathin is one of the most abundant antioxidants. Aspalathin is also unique to Rooibos.

“It’s also Rooibos’ ability to counter inflammation in the body that makes it so potent. Inflammation promotes the growth of cholesterol-rich plaque in one’s arteries, which in turn triggers blood clots – a leading cause of heart attacks and strokes,” she explains.

Based on studies in both humans and rats, Rooibos can protect the heart in the following ways:

  • Antioxidants protect against cell damage, thereby reducing inflammation.
  • Lowers pro-inflammatory responses and stimulates anti-inflammatory responses.
  • Lowers total blood cholesterol levels by 10% with a significant reduction in “bad” LDL- cholesterol levels, while increasing “good” HDL-cholesterol.
  • Supresses the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE), which is responsible for increased blood pressure.
  • Reduces cortisol production and counteracts chronic stress and anxiety. Stress, anxiety and depression contribute to heart disease and heighten the risk of it
  • Decreases blood glucose levels and increases glucose uptake into heart muscle cells.

Because of its finer cut and espresso method of preparation, scientific tests have proven that red espresso® Rooibos has 10 times more antioxidants than traditionally-brewed Rooibos tea. This means that, in addition to its taste, the health benefits of rooibos are concentrated tenfoldin red espresso® - making it the healthiest, most powerful Rooibos tea available.

Disclaimer: The information on this blog is for educational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.

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Kirsty Reid

Kirsty, Monique’s sister, joined red espresso® in 2008 after years of graphic design and art direction on glossy magazines. In addition to being an incredible design talent who has had a fundamental impact on our brand’s look and feel, she has also championed our e-Commerce and Customer Service departments alongside Monique. This has made her a very familiar face to our many customers who have come to know and enjoy their time with her over the years! Kirsty also teaches yoga and volunteers part-time at the Ashia Cheetah Sanctuary in Paarl.