Rooibos Tea In Pregnancy: Safety, Benefits And Risks

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Rooibos tea may have several benefits for expecting women. However, if you want to consider rooibos tea for pregnancy, knowing its safety for you and your baby is imperative. Indigenous to the mountains of South Africa, rooibos tea is a shrubby legume that has captured the hearts of many tea enthusiasts with its fruity, sweet taste. Not only does this caffeine-free and low-tannin tea quench your thirst, but it can also provide several antioxidants. Studies suggest that the antioxidants in rooibos may guard against free radical damage and promote health (1). Keep reading as we share rooibos tea’s safety, benefits, and possible side effects for expecting women.

In This Article

Is It Safe To Consume Rooibos Tea During Pregnancy?

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Rooibos tea is generally considered safe for consumption, as it is a rich source of antioxidants and does not contain caffeine (2). However, its safety and efficacy for pregnant women are not fully known (3).Hence, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare provider before consuming any new food or beverage during pregnancy and the perinatal period to avert the risks of any unforeseen complications.

Willow Wisteria, a mother of seven children, shares her pregnancy experience with rooibos Tea. She explains, “In doing all my research and having all five of my kids, I wanted to find a drink to replace coffee, the one I could enjoy and that was safe. What I do is I steep a cup of rooibos, and blend it with an equal amount of milk. I sweeten it to my preference and add a dash of cinnamon for that extra touch of flavor. Then I either whisk it in a saucepan and make it kind of frothy on top like a latte, and it is the most delicious drink I’ve ever had, even when I’m not pregnant (i).”

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Traditionally, rooibos tea is used as a digestive aid to treat or manage indigestion or heartburn (3).

What Is The Nutrient Profile Of Rooibos Tea?

Rooibos tea is commonly known for its rich, earthy flavor and red color. However, it is available in two forms — red and green rooibos tea. The red-leaved variety is the most common and can be found in both plain and flavored/blended versions. The green rooibos variety, on the other hand, is unfermented or unoxidized and is also available in flavored and blended forms.
The nutritional value of both types of rooibos tea can vary due to the fermentation process. Additionally, the method of preparation (brew or concoction) and the amount of tea used can also affect the nutritional value of a cup of rooibos tea (4). According to food-related literature, a cup of brewed rooibos tea (1 teaspoon rooibos tea/cup) can generally contain some protein, minerals, such as copper, fluoride, and manganese, and several potent antioxidants, such as aspalathin and nothofagin (5).

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Unlike regular tea, rooibos doesn’t interfere with iron absorption, as it has only trace amounts of tanninsiXNaturally occurring compounds found in plants, including fruits, vegetables, and grains (1).

What Are The Benefits Of Rooibos Tea During Pregnancy?

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Rooibos tea contains several bioactive compounds and antioxidants, such as flavonoids and polyphenols, that may help promote overall health. Regular intake of rooibos tea in moderation might help (6) (7) (8):

  • Strengthen the immune system and combat free radical damage
  • Reduce inflammation, lowering the risk of related health issues, such as pre-eclampsia
  • Lower blood sugar levels, which could be beneficial for women at risk of gestational diabetes
  • Improve blood circulation and help manage blood pressure levels
  • Prevent blood clots and lower the risk of complications such as deep vein thrombosis
  • Prevent diabetes-induced cardiovascular complications and limit the progression of metabolic disorders
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Rooibos tea may help improve the strength of your hair, keep your skin healthy, and might provide relief from certain allergies (8).

What Are The Risks Or Side Effects Of Rooibos When Pregnant?

Clinical studies examining rooibos’s safety and efficacy in humans are sparse. Still, the herb is generally considered safe and is not known to cause any side effects, drug interactions, or contraindications (3). However, a survey on herb-drug interactions found that rooibos extracts may interact with certain medications, including thiazolidinedioneiXMedicine that helps increase insulin sensitivity (TZDs), sulfonylureasiXA class of drugs that help increase insulin production , and the dyslipidemiaiXA condition characterized by abnormal levels of cholesterol in the blood drug atorvastatin (9). Also, a few case reports highlighted that excess intake of rooibos for a long time is known to cause liver toxicity, elevated liver enzymes, and low platelet count (10).

How Much Rooibos Tea Can You Consume During Pregnancy?

There’s no information on the amount of rooibos tea pregnant women can safely consume in a day without any adverse effect to the fetus and maternal health. But since it is a herbal tea, limiting your intake to one to two cups is generally advisable (11). Nevertheless, speak to your healthcare provider to know how much rooibos tea you can safely consume daily during pregnancy.

Rooibos Tea Recipes To Try During Pregnancy

Rooibos tea is available in loose-leaf and powder forms. It can be used in various ways to add a unique flavor and health benefits to your dishes. Here are some creative ways to incorporate this beneficial herbal tea into your daily routine.

1. Rooibos latte

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A quick-to-prepare blend of rooibos tea and milk that is delicious, refreshing, and energizing.

You will need:

  • 1 cup of boiled water
  • ½ cup oat milk
  • ½ -1 cup of maple syrup, honey, or a sweetener of choice
  • ¼ tsp alcohol-free vanilla extract
  • 1 tea bag of rooibos tea

How to prepare:

  1. Place the rooibos tea bag in a cup and pour the boiled water over it. Let the tea bag steep for four to five minutes.
  2. While the tea is steeping, froth oat milk using a milk frother or heat it on the stove and whisk manually.
  3. Once the tea has finished steeping, remove the tea bag from the cup and add sweetener and vanilla extract.
  4.  Pour the frothed milk into the cup and stir. Sip and enjoy this rejuvenating beverage!

2. Raspberry and rooibos iced tea

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A refreshing drink that combines raspberries’ health benefits with rooibos tea’s earthy flavor for an instant energy boost.
You will need:

  • 3 rooibos tea bags
  • 3 cups boiled water
  • 1½ cups raspberries
  • 2-3tbsp sugar
  • 5-6tbsp lemon juice
  • 1tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
  • Few mint leaves (crushed)
  • Ice cubes, fresh raspberries (sliced), and lemon wedges, for serving

How to prepare:

  1. Place the tea bags in a pot and pour the boiled water over them. Let the tea bags steep for about five minutes.
  2. After five minutes, remove the tea bags and add some cold water to the pot. Allow the tea to cool completely.
  3. Cook a cup of raspberries with sugar and vanilla extract for two to three minutes while stirring frequently.
  4. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve using a spoon to press down on the fruit pulp.
  5. Add the raspberry mixture, lemon juice, and crushed mint leaves to the cooled rooibos tea and stir.
  6. Garnish with sliced raspberries, lemon wedges, and crushed mint leaves. Serve and enjoy.

3. Rooibos smoothie

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Mix rooibos, fresh fruits in season, and yogurt to make a simple yet satisfying snack to satiate your sweet craving.
You will need:

  • 1tsp pure rooibos tea
  • ¼ cup boiled water
  • ½ cup low-fat milk (or unsweetened, plain yogurt)
  • 1 fresh or frozen banana (peeled and chopped)
  • ½ fresh or frozen mango (peeled and chopped)

How to prepare:

  1. Steep the rooibos tea in boiled water for ten minutes and strain it.
  2. Blend strained rooibos tea, mango, banana, sweetener, and yogurt into a smooth liquid using an electric blender.
  3. Pour the smoothie into a glass and enjoy.

What To Ask Your Doctor About Rooibos Tea During Pregnancy?

When discussing the consumption of rooibos tea with your doctor during pregnancy, you may want to ask about any potential risks or side effects associated with drinking the tea, as well as any recommended dosage or frequency of consumption. In addition, it would help to inform your doctor of any other medications or supplements you are currently taking to ensure no interactions. Additionally, if you have any pre-existing health conditions, you must bring that to your doctor’s attention so that they can advise you accordingly.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Who should not drink rooibos tea?

Rooibos tea is generally considered safe to consume for most people. However, individuals taking certain medications, such as blood thinners, should consult their healthcare provider before drinking rooibos tea. Additionally, people with a history of allergies or sensitivities to plants in the Aspalathus linearis should avoid drinking rooibos tea.

2. Does rooibos tea help with morning sickness?

Rooibos tea contains bioactive compounds, such as flavonoids, which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Some experts believe that these properties may help alleviate pregnancy-related issues, such as morning sickness and nausea. However, more clinical studies are needed to confirm rooibos tea’s role in treating or managing these health issues.

3. Does rooibos tea increase estrogen?

An animal study shows that rooibos tea contains several compounds that exhibit estrogenic properties. However, the levels of phytoestrogens in rooibos tea are generally considered low. Thus, more studies are needed to validate the results of the finding and fully understand the effect of rooibos tea on estrogen levels (12).

Rooibos tea is a safe and healthy alternative to caffeinated beverages. Consuming rooibos tea in moderation could help pregnant women limit their caffeine intake during the maternity period. Besides, it can provide bioactive compounds, which may help alleviate pregnancy-related issues such as nausea and morning sickness. Expecting women can use rooibos to prepare delectable drinks and dishes to reap this herbal tea’s benefits(13). However, consulting a healthcare provider is essential to ensure the safe use of rooibos tea in pregnancy. Speaking to an expert can also help determine a safe amount one can consume daily without any concerns.

Infographic: Rooibos Tea Recipes To Try During Pregnancy

Rooibos tea is a delicious and versatile beverage that can be enjoyed hot or cold in various preparations. Our infographic below shares some of the most popular and creative ways to safely add this tea to your pregnancy diet. From classic hot rooibos tea to iced rooibos tea cocktails and rooibos tea-infused desserts, these recipes give you several options to enjoy rooibos tea’s sweet-nutty taste.

creative ways to include rooibos tea in pregnancy diet (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Get high-quality PDF version by clicking below.

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Key Pointers

  • Rooibos tea is considered safe for pregnancy, as it is caffeine-free and contains no known harmful substances.
  • It is rich in antioxidants, which may help to protect the mother and the developing baby from the harmful effects of free radicals.
  • Rooibos tea may help alleviate common pregnancy symptoms such as nausea, headaches, and insomnia.
  • Consult a healthcare professional before using rooibos tea during pregnancy.


Watch this video to gain inforation the safety and efficacy of consuming Rooibos tea during pregnancy and how much of it should be consumed

Personal Experience: Source

References

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
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  2. What Should You Drink During Pregnancy?
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  3. Rooibos.
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  4. Fact Sheet on Rooibos Tea.
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  5. In-Sun Hong et al.; (2014); Anti-Oxidative Effects of Rooibos Tea (Aspalathus linearis) on Immobilization-Induced Oxidative Stress in Rat Brain.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3897768/
  6. Aspalathin: a rare dietary dihydrochalcone from Aspalathus linearis (rooibos tea).
    https://search.nal.usda.gov/discovery/search?query=lds35,contains,7561446-01nal_inst,AND&tab=LibraryCatalog&search_scope=MyInstitution&vid=01NAL_INST:MAIN&mode=advanced&offset=0
  7. Haruna Baba et al.; (2009); Studies of anti-inflammatory effects of Rooibos tea in rats.
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19419525/
  8. The Hidden Health Benefits of Tea.
    https://www.pennmedicine.org/updates/blogs/health-and-wellness/2019/december/health-benefits-of-tea
  9. Oelfah Patel et al.; (2016); Inhibitory Interactions of Aspalathus linearis (Rooibos) Extracts and Compounds
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27845750/
  10. Rooibos Tea.
    https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/integrative-medicine/herbs/rooibos-tea#msk_consumer
  11. Herbal teas during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
    https://www.pregnancybirthbaby.org.au/herbal-teas-during-pregnancy-and-breastfeeding
  12. T.K.Monsees and C.S. Opuwari; (2017); Effect of rooibos (Aspalathus linearis) on the female rat reproductive tract and liver and kidney functions in vivo.
    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0254629916305257
  13. Berna Terzioglu Bebitoglu; (2020); Frequently Used Herbal Teas During Pregnancy – Short Update.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7384490/
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