Rooibos Tea – the new wonder drink?

Rooibos (pronounced roy-bos) or Redbush tea is fast growing in reputation as the new wonder tea. But what is the fascination with this drink? Are its reputed health benefits fact or fiction?

The rooibos tea plant comes from South Africa and has been used as a treatment for colic in babies, allergies and skin problems for many generations.  It is naturally caffeine free, low in tannins and contains a high level of antioxidants and other health promoting compounds such as flavanols.

More and more research is being carried out into the health benefits of this tea and although there are still only a few human studies, animal studies suggest that it may help prevent cancer, strengthen the immune system and help slow down the effects of ageing. One study showed that people who drank high levels of Rooibos tea had lower levels of low density or ‘bad’ cholesterol and triglycerides and a higher level of high density or ‘good’ cholesterol in their blood. The researchers suggested that drinking Rooibos tea could therefore help prevent strokes and heart attacks.

Although no studies have been carried out into the effect of rooibos on bladder problems, many women with an irritable or over-active bladder say that their bladders respond well to Rooibos tea. Women with painful bladder syndrome (the new name for interstitial cystitis) also say that it can help to soothe their bladder. Rooibos is safe for anyone to drink and there are no reported side effects. It comes in a variety of flavours including vanilla, caramel, earl grey and chai and you can enjoy it with or without milk. It can take a little time to get used to the taste but most of my patients who try it soon become very enthusiastic about it.

Many of my patients also report that they are able to hold onto their urine longer when they change from coffee or tea to Rooibos. Many also say that they don’t have to get up in the night to go to the loo as much.

More research needs to be carried out into the effect Rooibos tea has on the bladder but many of my patients don’t need that to convince them of its benefits. So, why not try it as part of your Bladder Drill?

By Alison Bourne MA (Cantab) BSc MCSP ACPWH

9 thoughts on “Rooibos Tea – the new wonder drink?

  1. Well, that’s exactly what happens!
    Rooibos tea is EXCELLENT in treating overactive bladder (OAB), I’m such a “patient” suffering from it for more than 20 years, having bad sleep quality from the “arousals” triggered by the OAB even if the person is unaware of being awakened by it. As we know, everybody normal individual experience unconscious arousals during night, the question is how often.
    By drinking rooibos tea in the afternoon, the bad feeling of continuous bladder irritation is being reduced by 50%, however not the frequency. Sleep quality improves by half of the maximal improvement extent, probably due to reduced arousals rate.
    I think the effect is due to the activation of K+ channels of smooth muscle, which has been demonstrated for gut but not for bladder:
    It would be very nice if urologists would perform such a study to link Rooibos to bladder, as OAB patients experience such a worse life quality as diabetics do and nobody found out the cause of this frequent hindering disease, let alone an efficient long-term treatment.

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  3. It’s strange, but yesterday I started from nowhere an attack of severe cystitis. I know tea and particularly coffee made it worse but just happened to make a Rooibos. It seemed to calm it. Today I’ve had three and, whilst the symptoms havent completely gone away, it seems far better. I thought it was maybe coincidence, but decided to google it to see if anyone else had found a link when I saw his blog!

  4. Hello. just had to leave a message to say that, i have had a painful bladder (I.C) for over 10 years. I recently tried rooibos tea (red bush) after i read about someone else using it for bladder trouble and i have to say that it definitely seems to be helping to soothe my bladder. i have tried other herbal teas but they seemed to just make it worse especially chamomile. rooibos tea is very pleasant tasting and i’d recommend it to anyone.

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