Jun 182013
 

rooibos

As an alternative to green tea try rooibos!- In a former life I owned and operated a small tea house. I sold all types of loose tea and infusions (infusions are ‘tea’ which come from plants other than the camellia sinensis). I learned much about tea during my time in the business and some of that knowledge applies to my battle against multiple sclerosis.

Whether you have MS or not, providing your body with an ample supply of antioxidants is crucial for good health. Green tea is an excellent source of antioxidants and has been touted for its’ health benefits.¬† I drink green tea on occasion, but only on occasion. The reason is that I react to caffeine almost immediately and I find that after even a small cup causes me to urinate several times. In addition, I find when I over consume green tea (which for me means having a cup daily) I get constipated (I know, TMI!).

The constipation could be due to the caffeine or possibly my immediate reaction to it. I know many who don’t suffer my problems with green tea and like MS, I could again just be one of the ‘lucky’ ones. However, I do have an alternative and it shares many of the health benefits of green tea and has the added benefit of being naturally caffeine free. Rooibos (‘ROY-BUS’ is how I pronounce it, though that may be incorrect) is an infusion derived from the Aspalathus Linearis plant native to South Africa. The needles of the plant, similar to pine needles, turn red when fermented and can be steeped just like tea leaves to make a wonderful beverage.

Rooibos is naturally loaded with antioxidants and is naturally caffeine free. Depleted antioxidant levels have been linked to MS patients and in a 2005 study done by ME Van Meeteren et al, they found:

Over the years, evidence has built up on the impaired antioxidant status of MS patients and the

potential beneficial role of dietary antioxidant supplementation in reducing the severity and duration of attacks.

Specifically with regards to rooibos and antioxidants, a 2009 Juntendo University study found:

that Rooibos tea may reduce DNA damage from oxidation stress by its anti-oxidative activity in vivo. As Rooibos tea is free from caffeine, routine intake may be safe and useful in reducing oxidation stress for all ages.

The last study mentioned makes note of the caffeine free nature of rooibos. I try to avoid caffeine, not necessarily due to my MS, but because of how I react to it.

If you are like me and are trying to reduce or eliminate your caffeine intake, you may want to give rooibos a try. You may think to yourself, “but I buy caffeine free green tea, so why switch?” The reason is that the camellia sinensis or ‘tea plant’ is naturally caffeinated. The only way to remove the caffeine is through a chemical leaching process which may leave unwanted chemical residue and further processes the plant. Rooibos does not require any additional processing.

Rooibos has been touted for numerous other health benefits like:

  • reducing cholesterol levels
  • topical rooibos ointment showed a 75% – 91% reduction in skin tumours created by Ultra-Violet light
  • anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties
  • help prevent heart attacks

If you are looking at adding a tasty beverage to add to your routine, consider trying rooibos tea. I’ve noticed that most grocery stores carry bagged rooibos tea now, however, I would strongly recommend purchasing the infusion in a loose form.

More studies on rooibos

Regeneration of CoQ9 Redox State and Inhibition of Oxidative Stress by Rooibos Tea

Continuous administration of polyphenols from aqueous rooibos

Effects of rooibos Aspalathus linearis on oxidative stress

The effect of rooibos tea on the type 1 allergic reaction

 

Until next time,

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Sean
I am a 40 year old husband and father who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2007. MS doesn't own me, I own it. I have run three half marathons and four ultra-marathons since my diagnosis and completed the Leduc to Camrose MS Bike tour five times. I've also run the first day of the Bike Tour twice ( The Really Long Run to End MS) . I can be reached anytime via email at sean"AT"ownmultiplesclerosis"DOT"com. Be well.

  One Response to “As an alternative to green tea try rooibos!”

  1. Hello, i’m Sofia from Portugal.

    Recently i read about a US Agriculture Department research that concluded that Oregano when compared to apples, oranges, blueberries, peppermint, rosemary, thyme and many other aromatic herbs, proved to be the most powerful antioxidant. They didn’t mentioned Roobois in the research, which i suppose is much better than Oregano, but it doesn’t hurt to know. Here in Portugal we use a lot of Oregano in salads and in snails (you probably find it disgusting).

    Best regards
    Sofia Duarte

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