Why Rooibos during COVID-19

Well known for its abundant health benefits, the question certainly arises whether Rooibos plays a significant supportive role during this COVID-19 pandemic. Increasing research support evidence that rooibos is more than just a tea. It, in fact, delivers a significant and valuable health contribution.

Some key areas where Rooibos has and continues to contribute towards fighting COVID-19 are:

  • Hydration
  • Fighting inflammation
  • Boosting the immune system
  • Reducing oxidative stress
  • Improving heart health

We know that the basics of good nutrition and hydration are essential to good health which makes the consumption of Rooibos more important than ever and certainly a good habit to foster whether we are experiencing a pandemic or not as we mostly tend to be under-hydrated. Worth a mention are the following summarised extracts from recent studies done on the supportive role Rooibos can and has played during this pandemic.

The recent pandemic of COVID-19 has led to severe morbidity and mortality. Acute respiratory disorders induced by SARS-CoV-2 suggest that excessive inflammation and oxidative stress are likely contributors to the COVID-19 disease. Rooibos, a well-known herbal tea, consumed for centuries, has displayed potent anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antidiabetic, anti-cancer and cardiometabolic support.

Studies have also reported positive findings showing that drinking 6 cups of rooibos tea daily improves health significantly, including reduced risk of cardiac death, coronary artery disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes mellitus and total mortality. The same results have also shown that brewing a cup of rooibos for 10 min or longer increases its beneficial effect. Another trial showed that freshly prepared Rooibos tea (made with 10g tea in 400ml boiled water for 10min using a tea filter) significantly inhibited angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) activity, 30 and 60 minutes after ingestion, indicating possible cardiovascular effects via the inhibition of ACE activity.

A wealth of research has studied the effects of Rooibos tea and its associated flavonoids, with a special focus on its antioxidant activity and the impact it has on oxidative stress. Rooibos tea has a divergent polyphenol profile and is a rare dietary source of aspalathin and nothofagin which possess potent antioxidant actions which bind with free radicals to lower oxidative stress, a very real and increased result of COVID-19.

Epidemiological evidence strongly suggests that populations consuming high amounts of polyphenols are less likely to suffer from chronic metabolic disorders such as diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular complications suggesting that polyphenols play a multifaceted role in the COVID-19 pandemic.

The use of botanicals as economically viable intervention strategies is gaining attention in underdeveloped countries, where the fight against poverty combined with the uncertain management of COVID-19 is considered a major hurdle in combatting the rampant spread of the virus. Rooibos herbal tea brewed from Aspalathus linearis, a fynbos plant part of the Cape Floristic Region (South Africa), is a popular, traditional tisane that has been consumed since the late 1700 s. It is customarily used for medicinal purposes and contains a unique blend of bio-active phytochemicals reported to have potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antimutagenic activities in vitro and in vivo.

In conclusion, the use of rooibos during this pandemic by those with and without comorbidities, as part of their daily health regime, could be highly beneficial.

More information can be found in the articles listed below: