Drinking tea is a wonderful natural remedy for asthma. Not only does tea usually have lots of health benefits, but drinking tea can also reduce stress, which is important for asthma patients.
Rooibos tea is a good choice for anyone suffering from asthma or allergies, because it acts as a bronchodilator and also has anti-inflammatory properties. A warm cup of rooibos tea will also soothe your throat and may help you sleep, too.
When I choose tea, I want it to taste good and be soothing, but also to help me breathe better (see my top teas for asthma here – they all fit the bill). If you’re looking for a tea to help soothe your symptoms, rooibos tea might be great for you, too.
What Is Rooibos Tea?
Rooibos tea is a red, African tea that is rising in popularity, in large part because of its many health benefits. It also has a pleasant, sweet taste and aroma and it is low in tannins, and so it’s no surprise that it is now consumed all over the world.
Rooibos tea is different from many other teas, in that it is made from a legume, not an herb or flower. It comes from the rooibos plant which is native to South Africa. The tea is made from the plant’s needle like leaves, which are crushed, fermented and dried.
Traditionally, rooibos tea has been used for colic, allergies, asthma and digestive issues. Modern research is showing a whole host of health benefits, including lowering blood pressure, aiding digestion, improving circulation, and slowing aging (source). And it’s no wonder it’s so healthy – rooibos tea may have up to 50% more antioxidants than green tea, and we’ve all read about how healthy green tea is (source).
4 Ways Rooibos Tea Helps Treat Asthma
Rooibos tea is beneficial for asthma patients because it can help open the airways and soothe the throat, as well as ease stress. According to studies like this one, rooibos tea has been found to provide relief for asthma, and anecdotally, I find it quite soothing.
1. Opens The Airways
As mentioned, rooibos tea is a proven bronchodilator (source). This means that it can relax and widen the airways. Since asthma is cause by restriction of the airways, then bronchodilators are critical for treating the condition. In fact, this is what our medicine does (and my usual word of caution – nothing can replace your medicine, and don’t stop or start taking anything without talking to your doctor first).
So if you can find a natural bronchodilator like rooibos, it’s at least worth a try if you have asthma. That’s been my philosophy. It’s why I like all these bronchodilating teas, and it’s what’s helped me to get to place where I feel like I have truly beaten asthma (see my whole journey here)
2. Reduces Inflammation
Many of the antioxidants found in rooibos tea are anti-inflammatory. You probably already know that controlling inflammation in the body is one of the keys to health and vitality. And because it’s inflammation of the airways that leads to asthma, people with asthma should also be trying to control inflammation. Adding something like rooibos tea to your diet can help with this.
3. Soothes Stress
Rooibos tea can also help asthma sufferers by helping to reduce stress and promote better sleep. Rooibos tea contains asapalathin and nothofagin, two antioxidants that help lower the level of cortisol, the stress hormone.
Anxiety itself can be a major cause and exacerbator of breathing distress, making asthma symptoms worse. It’s why one the main ways I fight asthma is by keeping my stress level under control. It’s also why I like to drink things like rooibos tea and chamomile tea, both of which can calm me down (learn more benefits of chamomile tea for asthma here).
4. Can Help Fight Colds & Flus
Finally, rooibos tea also has antiviral properties, which may help the immune system and help prevent colds and the flu. Stopping a cold won’t stop your asthma and allergies, but if you do have asthma or allergies, then I don’t have to tell you how miserable they can be. I’ll do anything I can (realistically and safely) to help prevent them.
Rooibos Tea and Allergies
Rooibos tea has also been found to provide relief for allergies (source). This is partly because it is rich in flavonoids. Flavonoids are small antioxidant molecules derived from plants. They often have anti-allergic properties, and there is some research to suggest they may be beneficial for asthma patients (source).
In fact, this study says that “Rooibos tea intake may be of value in prophylaxis of the diseases involving a severe defect in Th1 immune response such as cancer, allergy, AIDS, and other infections.”
As you probably know, asthma and allergies often go hand in hand. Thankfully, drinking rooibos tea may help with both.
Vitamins and Minerals in Rooibos Tea
As we’ve covered, rooibos tea is extremely healthy, with all kinds of wonderful healing properties. Let’s briefly look at what makes it so healthy.
Along with its antioxidants, rooibos tea also contains iron, potassium, calcium, copper, zinc, magnesium, fluoride, manganese and sodium (source). Of these, it is a better source of flouride and copper (source).
As discussed, rooibos tea contains well researched antispasmodic flavonoids such as quercetin and luteolin (source). Two of the main flavonoids in rooibos, called asapalathin and nothofagin, are even stronger antioxidants than other flavonoids (source).
While the rooibos plant may be high in vitamin C, rooibos tea does not have any vitamin C, so you will need to get this vitamin from other sources.
Like most teas, rooibos tea has no calories, no protein, no fat, no carbohydrates, no fiber and no sugar.
How To Enjoy Rooibos Tea
Most studies suggest that rooibos tea is safe to drink every day. However, you may still want to talk to your doctor about any changes in your diet.
Because it does not have caffeine, rooibos tea will not dehydrate you. In fact, drinking rooibos tea is a great way to stay hydrated. This study also suggests that because it is caffeine-free, rooibos tea may be safe for children.
It is often recommended to drink up to 6 cups of rooibos tea a day to reap all its health benefits. I personally like to drink multiple teas, so I don’t usually have more than one cup a day. Note that drinking large amounts of rooibos (namely, 10 cups per day for an extended period of time) may cause liver problems in some people (source).
Rooibos tea is nice hot or cold. You can sweeten it with honey, which has added benefits for asthma patients (see why here). Many people also like to add milk. This option available on Amazon has a nice additional vanilla flavor.
To make the tea, boil water to between 200-212 degrees, then let your tea steep for 5-10 minutes. If you are using loose tea, then start with one teaspoon per eight ounces of water – and if you find you’d like it stronger, feel free to add more.
Drinking a cup of rooibos tea won’t cure your asthma, of course, but it can sure help you feel a whole lot better. Adding tea to your routine is one of the simplest things you can do to help alleviate and prevent symptoms, and it’s good for your body and your mind, so give it a try!