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Rooibos tea?

Rats given Rooibos tea, along with a colitis inducer, had higher serum levels of superoxide dismutase, and lower urine levels of 8-hydroxy-2'deoxyguanosine than the rats without it.

Superoxide dismutase converts the O2- anion resulting from oxidative metabolism into O2 or H2O2.

8-hydroxy-2'deoxyguanosine is a product of DNA oxidation.

This would suggest that consumption of the tea reduces oxidative stress. Thoughts?

asked Feb 2, 2015 by lvysaur

2 Answers

EDIT: I didn't realize rooibos tea was a different plant than normal tea. My bad. This might be a relevant read.

There's a ton of stuff on the various beneficial effects of tea polyphenols. Some highlights:

Black tea consumption improved flow-mediated dilation (a measure of endothelial function) in human subjects while an equivalent dose of caffeine didn't.

Regular consumption of either black or green tea drastically inhibited UVB-induced skin carcinogenesis in rats. Decaf teas were almost as effective.

". . . black tea polyphenols . . . significantly inhibited rat ovarian and human placental aromatase activities."

Seems like a pretty good drink.

answered Feb 2, 2015 by Kasra

Both Rooibos and c. sinensis ("tea plant") are very high in fluoride.

They do both have some significant positive effects (lots of studies backing them up) which might outweigh the fluoride risk.

Yerba Mate (the unsmoked varieties!) and white tea (the young leafs with a lot less fluoride) seem to be some of the safer teas out there.

I'm not aware of any type of rooibos tea that only uses young leafs, so unless you're growing your own I personally wouldn't drink it on a daily basis.

answered Feb 2, 2015 by skally
edited Feb 2, 2015 by skally

High quality tea generally only has young leaves whatever the type (white, green, black, etc). But that's probably like 0.1% of tea production.

Yes, but with high quality white tea you're guaranteed to only get the unopened buds ("silver needle white tea")

It might be possible to get a green or black tea in a similar quality, but like you said those are a very small percentage of the total tea production and generally even more expensive than the silver needle white teas.

In my experience even lower grade white tea usually still has a better quality and younger leafs (the leaf shoot + the 2 leafs below it seems to be common) than the average green or black tea.

Bai Mudan white tea is a very good option for about half the price of silver needle.

You're right.

Spring teas are usually young leaves too. Darjeeling (1st flush) and japanese teas (shincha) are the most common.

But how would you know the leaves are young? For white tea, it seems like those silver needles would be fresher, but even then how can you be sure? I guess its a good sign if the seller emphasises that its air dried quickly to avoid fermentation. Other sellers like to sell leaves having dried in the sunlight for a long time. But that's it really, you have to trust them a lot on their own words... An alternative would be to buy from elsewhere than industrial areas. But it's seems challenging to find tea not from China or Japan.

I'm not sure about Yerba Mate. It's is extremely popular in South America, I would imagine it is industrially produced. So why wouldn't be contaminated like the average tea (from China)?

Rooibos is from South Africa. And can be purchased unfermented (green colour version). Maybe that's better than the average "organic" tea from China?

EDIT: Never mind. If you Google Rooibos and Fluoride, it seems there are some controversies...

The tea plant and rooibos both store fluoride from the soil in their leafs. Even if grown organic and no fluoride-based pesticides are used, they will still have a relatively large amount of it because of the naturally occurring fluoride in the soil and water.

Yerba Mate doesn't accumulate fluoride in the way that the tea plant and rooibos do. It will have a much lower fluoride content.
There might of course be other contaminants if it's industrially grown like you mentioned.
One big problem with yerba mate is that it's often smoked. Those smoke dried varieties have been linked to several cancers because of the carcinogens that the smoke produces.

I use the organic yerba mate from "kraus" which is unsmoked.
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I've spotted a total of 2-3 recent studies that have some fluoride measurements (one of which also had aluminium measurements). Rooibos didn't seem to be high, although one has to take into account that there are several varieties, the fresher green leave version probably has less fluoride.

Yerba mate seemed among the safer teas. However, still some fluoride. It's not 10 or 100 times less, more like a few times less. It seemed like for a high fluoride black tea you get 1mg of fluoride if you drank many cups a day.

I've ordered some quality air dried yerba mate. I'm curious about the taste anyway.