Drugs A - Z
Generic Name: Red tea
CategoryHerbs & Supplements
Aspalathin, Aspalathus acuminatus, Aspalathus contaminata, Borbornia pinfolia, chrysoeryol, Fabaceae/Leguminosae (family), hyperoside, isoorientin, isoquercitrin, isovitexin, Kaffree tea, long life tea, luteolin, orientin, Psoralea linearis, quercetin, red bush tea, redbush tea, red tea, rutin, vitexin.
An increasingly popular beverage, rooibos tea originates from the leaves and stems of the indigenous South African plant Aspalathus linearis. It has gained much attention for clinical purposes in the case of nervous tension, allergies (dermatitis), and various indigestive problems. Rooibos tea contains a large amount of flavonoids and acts as a potent antioxidant. In Africa, it has been used to treat malignancies and inflammatory disorders.
Rooibos (pronounced ROY-boss) is not a natural source of caffeine and is low in tannins. Rooibos tea may be preferred by people who can not tolerate either the caffeine effects or astringency of Camellia sinensis teas.
EvidenceDISCLAIMER: These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
TraditionWARNING: DISCLAIMER: The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.
Allergic dermatitis, allergies, antioxidant, asthma, cancer, colic, diaper rash, digestive problems, eczema, headache, hepatoprotection (in liver disease), HIV/AIDS, hypertension (high blood pressure), infections, insomnia, kidney stones, nervousness, vascular disorders (blood vessel disorders, prevention in diabetics).
Adults (18 years and older):
There is no proven safe or effective dose of rooibos. Traditionally, 1 teabag or teaspoon to 8 ounces of hot water has been used.
Children (younger than 18 years):
There is no proven safe or effective dose of rooibos in children.
SafetyDISCLAIMER: Many complementary techniques are practiced by healthcare professionals with formal training, in accordance with the standards of national organizations. However, this is not universally the case, and adverse effects are possible. Due to limited research, in some cases only limited safety information is available.
Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to Aspalathus linearis, its constituents or related members of the Fabaceae/Leguminosae family. Other members of this family include peas, soybeans, clover, and peanuts.
Side Effects and Warnings
Little evidence is available to describe the adverse effects of rooibos. Rooibos is likely safe when ingested as a tisane (herbal infusion) in food amounts. However, use cautiously in patients taking drugs or herbs metabolized by cytochrome P450 enzymes, as there is unclear evidence whether or not rooibos affects these enzymes.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Interactions with Drugs
There is mixed evidence on whether or not rooibos affects P450 metabolism. In theory, rooibos may interfere with the way the body processes certain drugs using the liver's "cytochrome P450" enzyme system. As a result, the levels of these drugs may be increased in the blood, and may cause increased effects or potentially serious adverse reactions. Patients taking any medications should check the package insert and speak with a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist, about possible interactions.
Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements
There is mixed evidence on whether or not rooibos affects P450 metabolism. In theory, rooibos may interfere with the way the body processes certain herbs or supplements using the liver's "cytochrome P450" enzyme system. As a result, the levels of other herbs or supplements may be too high in the blood. It may also alter the effects other herbs or supplements possibly have on the P450 system, such as bloodroot, cat's claw, or chamomile. Patients taking any medications should check the package insert and speak with a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist, about possible interactions.
This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature, and was peer-reviewed and edited by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com): Nicole Giese, MS (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Elizabeth Poole, PharmD (Drug Information Center, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Pharmacy); Brian Szczechowski, PharmD (Massachusetts College of Pharmacy); Shaina Tanguay-Colucci, BS (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Catherine Ulbricht, PharmD (Massachusetts General Hospital); Wendy Weissner, BA (Natural Standard Research Collaboration).
BibliographyDISCLAIMER: Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.
Bramati L, Aquilano F, Pietta P. Unfermented rooibos tea: quantitative characterization of flavonoids by HPLC-UV and determination of the total antioxidant activity. J Agric Food Chem 2003;51(25):7472-7474.
Bramati L, Minoggio M, Gardana C, et al. Quantitative characterization of flavonoid compounds in Rooibos tea (Aspalathus linearis) by LC-UV/DAD. J Agric Food Chem 2002;50(20):5513-5519.
Edenharder R, Sager JW, Glatt H, et al. Protection by beverages, fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flavonoids against genotoxicity of 2-acetylaminofluorene and 2-amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo[4,5-b]pyridine (PhIP) in metabolically competent V79 cells. Mutat Res 2002;521(1-2):57-72.
Joubert E, Winterton P, Britz TJ, et al. Antioxidant and pro-oxidant activities of aqueous extracts and crude polyphenolic fractions of rooibos (Aspalathus linearis). J Agric Food Chem 2005;53(26):10260-10267.
Kucharska J, Ulicna O, Gvozdjakova A, et al. Regeneration of coenzyme Q9 redox state and inhibition of oxidative stress by Rooibos tea (Aspalathus linearis) administration in carbon tetrachloride liver damage. Physiol Res 2004;53(5):515-521.
Kunishiro K, Tai A, Yamamoto I. Effects of rooibos tea extract on antigen-specific antibody production and cytokine generation in vitro and in vivo. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem 2001;65(10):2137-2145.
Lee EJ, Jang HD. Antioxidant activity and protective effect on DNA strand scission of Rooibos tea (Aspalathus linearis). Biofactors 2004;21(1-4):285-292.
Marnewick J, Joubert E, Joseph S, et al. Inhibition of tumour promotion in mouse skin by extracts of rooibos (Aspalathus linearis) and honeybush (Cyclopia intermedia), unique South African herbal teas. Cancer Lett 2005;224(2):193-202.
Marnewick JL, Batenburg W, Swart P, et al. Ex vivo modulation of chemical-induced mutagenesis by subcellular liver fractions of rats treated with rooibos (Aspalathus linearis) tea, honeybush (Cyclopia intermedia) tea, as well as green and black (Camellia sinensis) teas. Mutat Res 2004;558(1-2):145-154.
Marnewick JL, Gelderblom WC, Joubert E. An investigation on the antimutagenic properties of South African herbal teas. Mutat Res 2000;471(1-2):157-166.
Marnewick JL, Joubert E, Swart P, et al. Modulation of hepatic drug metabolizing enzymes and oxidative status by rooibos (Aspalathus linearis) and Honeybush (Cyclopia intermedia), green and black (Camellia sinensis) teas in rats. J Agric Food Chem 2003;51(27):8113-8119.
Na HK, Mossanda KS, Lee JY, et al. Inhibition of phorbol ester-induced COX-2 expression by some edible African plants. Biofactors 2004;21(1-4):149-153.
Standley L, Winterton P, Marnewick JL, et al. Influence of processing stages on antimutagenic and antioxidant potentials of rooibos tea. J Agric Food Chem 2001;49(1):114-117.
Ulicna O, Greksak M, Vancova O, et al. Hepatoprotective effect of rooibos tea (Aspalathus linearis) on CCl4-induced liver damage in rats. Physiol Res 2003;52(4):461-466.
Ulicna O, Vancova O, Bozek P, et al. Rooibos tea (Aspalathus linearis) partially prevents oxidative stress in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. Physiol Res 2005;
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.