Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Rooibos: The Anti-Aging Tea

I stumbled upon this tea about 8 years ago. At the time rooibos was just being introduced into popular culture in the States but I was assured that it contained, “Like a hundred times more antioxidants than green tea!” according to the sweet little hippie girl at the tea shop. So I gave it a try and have been drinking it regularly ever since. Native to a very specific area in South Africa--Cederburg, South Africa in the Western Cape Province to be exact, rooibos tea is loved for it’s incredible healing properties as well as the taste.

Much research has gone into this tea over the last 10 years; as a result, studies have found that it contains a number of vitamins and minerals: calcium, fluoride, manganese, iron, potassium, magnesium, zinc and vitamin D just to name a few. However the thing that truly caught my eye are the anti-aging properties of this exotic red tea. This little wonder tea strengthens our body’s resistance to free-radicals in our system. If you aren’t aware of that bad word (don’t say it too loud), free-radicals are the annoying by-product of normal cell function. It is this by-product that causes our bodies to age quickly. Rooibos fights wrinkles because it contains a neutralizing enzyme called Superoxide Dismutase (SOD), an anti-aging substance mandatory in the production of healthy skin cells. As if that weren’t enough, rooibos also contains a potent antioxidant, Asphaltin flavonoid, that also fights signs of aging. Similar to the antioxidants found in green tea, rooibos tea has a few more advantages: greater amounts of SOD (like a hundred times more), it is caffeine free, and contains zero tannins, which are typical to green tea.

Rich in Zinc, rooibos regulates the body’s immune system and is also beneficial in healing skin irritations of all types, including eczema, acne, and sunburn. A powerful anti-carcinogenic that reduces the occurrence of cancers, rooibos also fights depression and asthma. It is anti-spasmodic, meaning it helps to relieve stomach cramps, tension, and aid in digestion. If I were to put two and two together, I would hypothesize that rooibos would be excellent at preventing colon cancer as well. Drinking rooibos tea before bed is also useful in reliving muscle so that you may sleep better.

All that from a modest broom-like plant commonly used by the indigenous people of South Africa for drinking and cooking. Rooibos tea is available in most health food stores and teashops. Also Yogi Tea makes a delicious Sweet Peach rooibos that can be found nearly anywhere.

Not only is rooibos good for a warm relaxing cup of tea but it also has incredible topical skin benefits. Below you will find two very simple, yet effective recipes, to try at home. Acne and wrinkles be gone!

Illuminating Face Mask/ Exfoliating Scrub
1 Tablespoon rooibos tea, room temperature
¼ cup dry oatmeal (instant)
1 Teaspoon organic apple cider vinegar

Mix into a paste and apply to face, avoiding the delicate eye area. Leave on for 6 minutes. Apply small portions of warm water on your face, working the mask into an exfoliating scrub. Excess may be refrigerated for up to one week in an airtight jar. Follow with the Rooibos Toner/Astringent.

Rooibos Toner/Astringent
2 cups brewed and cooled rooibos tea
¼ cup Witch Hazel

Combine ingredients and store in a bottle or jar with a tight lid and refrigerate. To be applied generously with cotton balls following the Rooibos Vibrant Face mask. May be refrigerated for several weeks. The cold tea may also be used as a face toner throughout the day by storing it in a spray bottle to use as needed. Come summer in NYC--you will be so glad to have this one in your tote bag!

You know that tight face feeling you get after applying a mask, scrub, or toner? Well you won’t have it with this not even after all three steps. My face feels natural and my complexion looks amazing. This is one to do in the morning because you’re going to want to get out and let everyone see how fantastic you look! Enjoy!



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