A while ago I realized about how much we love Rooibos in our shop.  And we sell a lot of it. I recently spoke by phone with a woman who is as passionate as we are about the redbush – in fact, Rooibos is her entire business. Her husband is a Rooibos farmer in South Africa and she sells the tea in more forms than anyone I know of and can go on endlessly about its attributes and benefits.

In our shop, we hear story after story from customers who have benefited from drinking Rooibos. Some customers have reported their arthritis has improved after drinking Rooibos and others have said it has helped with their headaches.  We’ve even heard of improvement in blood-insulin levels.  The South African Rooibos Council website reports research being conducted on Rooibos in a number of health areas, including its ability to boost the immune system, fight cancer, and even aid in weight loss. The Rooibos Council’s site suggests six cups of Rooibos a day as optimum.

(From the Rooibos Council):

  • Rooibos contains a complex and abundant blend of antioxidants.
  • Rooibos is the only known source of a specifically beneficial and rare antioxidant called aspalathin.
  • Unfermented (green) Rooibos has higher levels of antioxidants than traditional, fermented Rooibos.
Rooibos tea in a tea canister

We also sell other blends of herbs in our shop, including a few that include hibiscus. According to some of our customers, one particular blend, which is a combination of hibiscus and a berry native to China and Russia, has had an amazing effect on their blood pressure.

Just a few days ago, a regular customer in her 30s who buys and drinks the blend told us her story.  When she first came into the shop, she was on medication for her blood pressure, which had been recorded at levels of 200 systolic because of a hereditary high blood-pressure problem.  After eight months of drinking the hibiscus blend, she said her blood pressure dropped to 120/80.  She asked her doctor to be taken off the medication and, although at first unwilling, her doctor agreed after a period of time when the tea plus her exercising reduced her blood pressure.  Now, her blood pressure is consistently at 110/70.  I’m sure others who work in retail tea businesses could add many stories of their own.

The FDA has been careful to inform businesses in the tea industry that we cannot tout the health benefits of teas or herbals. In a previous post, several of us discussed our frustration when customers look for something a doctor on television recommended for a specific medical problem, without first checking with their own doctors regarding interactions with other medications. However, when customers are excited about positive changes in their health after getting into teas and herbals and want to share their stories with you, it is a great experience to feel like we are selling helpful, rather than harmful products, as are so many foods and beverages in the marketplace.

I think my husband and I are one of the best advertisements for the benefits of drinking teas and herbals. We are Baby Boomers working 65-80 hours a week for the last four years, on our feet from morning until night, with a diet that isn’t the best because of time constraints for shopping and cooking.  In all that time, my husband has had only one sick day (for back strain) and I have had only two.

This article has been reformatted and updated from the original June 2012 publication.

Photo “rooibos tea” is copyright under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License to the photographer “joeannenah” and is being posted unaltered (source)