Rooibos Tea Benefits and Side Effects

By Adriane Marie •  Updated: 01/01/23 •  10 min read

What are rooibos tea benefits and side effects? Is rooibos tea safe during pregnancy? Vegan? Gluten free? Acidic or alkaline? Low fodmap? Good for you? Healthy? Sustainable? Here are rooibos tea pros and cons: all the info on rooibos tea that every ethical consumer wants to know…

rooibos tea benefits and side effects

Food is something we consume every day and if you’re like me, you do all the research you can to make sure you don’t hurt yourself, the planet, animals or others when shopping. As an ethical consumer myself, I am giving you all the info I’ve found on rooibos tea benefits and side effects.

You are going to learn all about rooibos tea benefits and side effects. This will include rooibos tea benefits for your health and potential risks, rooibos tea water footprint and rooibos tea carbon footprint, rooibos tea sustainability, if rooibos tea is vegan or impact animals in other ways, and much more. 

After learning if rooibos tea is good or bad for you, the environment, animals and human rights, you will be able to make the best choices you can the next time you buy food.

This post is all about rooibos tea benefits and side effects that every ethical consumer should know.

Rooibos Tea Benefits And Side Effects


Rooibos tea benefits for health may include:

Rooibos tea is…


Water footprint: likely low, as the rooibos plant, Aspalathus linearis, is a shrub plant native to South Africa.

Carbon footprint: unknown

Destruction: potentially threatening to its symbiotic relationship with local micro-organisms, rooibos tea’s growing popularity and cultivation expansion threatens other local species of plants near its native region where it can only be grown in Western Cape, South Africa

Rooibos tea is…


Kills: none, rooibos tea production does not require any animals to be killed

Harms: none, rooibos tea production does not require any animals to be used

Indirectly kills or harms: none, no animals are indirectly killed or harmed from rooibos tea production as long as toxic chemicals have not been used, be sure to buy Non-GMO/organic, as pesticides harm and kill wildlife and ecosystems by contaminating soil, water, air and plants that animals eat

Rooibos tea is…


Health and safety: varies, overall, agriculture continues to be one of the most dangerous industries, farmworkers may be subject to dehydration, heat stroke, unprotected exposure to harmful, toxic chemicals and pesticides, unsafe machinery and clean drinking water may not always accessible

Living conditions: varies, laborers are often exploited, they may face tough working conditions including long hours in the sun and heat performing physically exhausting tasks, labor laws and rights may or may not be in place, even if worker protection exists, employer violations may go unreported, refugees and migrant workers are especially vulnerable to abuse and mistreatment, fearing consequences of job loss or deportation

Wages: varies, generally farmworkers earn meager wages, there are many cases of underpaid agricultural workers, wage theft and no overtime payment or benefits

Rooibos tea…

Where does most rooibos tea come from?

The world’s top rooibos tea exporting country is Kenya, followed by China, Germany, Sri Lanka, India, Japan, UK, Uganda, USA and Poland.

Rooibos tea has been consumed in southern Africa for centuries.

Is rooibos tea nutritious?

Rooibos tea is high in antioxidants like aspalathin and quercetin, contains copper and fluoride, is low in tannins, does not contain oxalic acid is caffeine-free.

Is rooibos tea safe during pregnancy?

Yes, rooibos tea is safe during pregnancy. It is herbal, caffeine free and poses no health risks to mother or baby.

Other names for rooibos tea are red tea and red bush tea.

Is rooibos tea alkaline or acidic?

Is rooibos tea alkaline or acidic?

Rooibos tea is alkaline.

What is the pH level of rooibos tea?

Rooibos tea has a 9.0 pH level once digested. Herbal teas are alkaline.

When you eat food, it breaks down to an ash residue that can be neutral, acidic or alkaline. Minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, zinc, silver, copper and iron produce an alkaline ash; whereas sulfur, phosphorus, chlorine and iodine, which are in meat, coffee, dairy and alcohol, leave an acid ash.

Going alkaline easier than ever with this: Acidic and Alkaline Foods List

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Is rooibos tea gluten free?

Is rooibos tea gluten free?

Yes, rooibos tea is naturally gluten free. Rooibos tea does not contain gluten.

While celiac disease may not be as rampant as many marketing trends lead us to believe, you may have a gluten sensitivity…

Celiac and gluten sensitivity symptoms are similar and may include:

There are hundreds of potential symptoms, many of which are also symptoms of other conditions.

Going gluten-free easier than ever with this: Gluten and Gluten Free Foods List

Is rooibos tea a common food allergen?

Is rooibos tea a common food allergen?

No, rooibos tea is not a common food allergen. Some people may experience allergic reactions to rooibos tea but it is relatively rare by comparison.

A group of the eight major allergenic foods, AKA the Big-8, include:

Severe food allergies can be life threatening. Following ingestion of a food allergen, a person with food allergies can experience a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. 

Persons may still be allergic to and have serious reactions to foods other than the eight foods identified by the law.

Be aware of common dietary restrictions and food allergens with this: The Big 8 Most Common Food Allergens List

Water footprint of rooibos tea?

Rooibos tea likely has a low water footprint. The rooibos plant, Aspalathus linearis, is a shrub plant native to South Africa.

Water footprint of rooibos tea?

How much water does it take to produce an apple? A serving of rice? A steak dinner?

We need to be aware of “water footprints”. That is, the amount of fresh water utilized in the production or supply of goods we consume. As it turns out it takes significantly more water to yield foods that come from animals than foods that come from plants. Imagine how much water a cow needs to consume to generate a piece of beef. Not only how much water a single cow drinks, rather all the water that went into producing the crops that the cow ate.

Find out how much water your food consumes with this: Water Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List

Carbon footprint of rooibos tea?

Carbon footprint of rooibos tea?

Rooibos tea likely has a relatively low carbon footprint compared to other foods.

Food not only has a water footprint but also a carbon footprint, known as CO2e, which stands for carbon dioxide equivalent. Since carbon measurements are a bit more difficult to comprehend, it is common to equate CO2e to the distance which a car drives in miles or kilometers.

When calculating carbon emissions, some factors may include…

But that’s not all!

It’s best to keep the following in mind when grocery shopping:

Find out how much carbon your food emits with this: Carbon Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List

Is rooibos tea sustainable?

Is rooibos tea sustainable?

Rooibos tea is potentially threatening to its symbiotic relationship with local micro-organisms. Rooibos tea’s growing popularity and cultivation expansion threatens other local species of plants near its native region where it can only be grown in Western Cape, South Africa.

Consuming animal products and byproducts is not environmentally friendly and is one of the worst things for the Earth. Not only is meat production wasteful, it causes enormous amounts of pollution. The industry is one of the biggest causes of climate change.

Read more about ‘What Makes Food Sustainable Or Unsustainable?’

Is rooibos tea vegan?

Is rooibos tea vegan?

Yes, rooibos tea is vegan. Rooibos tea is an herbal tea made from leaves and not an animal product or byproduct, therefore making it a vegan food. 

Animals of factory farms and the livestock industry are suffering. They live in horrific conditions that often include confinement, physical abuse and unnatural environments…so much so that they need to receive antibiotics to keep from getting ill or spreading disease. They’re also injected with growth hormones to become fatter faster and live short lives, being slaughtered as soon as they finish growing and are killed prematurely, well before their natural lifespan.

Because we cannot see for ourselves how these animals live and what they endure does not mean it isn’t happening. The meat, poultry and dairy industries do everything they can to distance us from knowing how our food comes to be in order to keep us in the dark about what we support each time we buy animal derived products and byproducts.

Go vegan for animals!

It’s the best way to help animals and it’s not as difficult as you may think. Speak for animals with your actions, for they cannot speak at all.

Going vegan is easier than ever, at a glance with this: Vegan and Non-Vegan Foods List

Does rooibos tea have human rights issues?

benefits of buying fair trade, labor rights, human rights and workers rights issues

At this time there are no major concerns associated with rooibos tea production but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening! It’s important to stay aware of human rights concerns and worker exploitation that may be associated with specific brands.

Did you know the single largest employer in the world is agriculture? The labor involved behind each and every product cannot go unrecognized. 

Some known problems include workplace health and safety, child labor, gender inequality, inadequate pay, wage theft and exploitation. Workers can even experience harassment, humiliation and violence and unfair employers often fail to provide laborers with access to shade, drinking water, restrooms and breaks. Consequently, laborers can face nausea, dizziness, heat exhaustion, dehydration and heat stroke -the leading cause of farmworker death! 

Such mistreatment is like modern day slavery. Workers are often afraid to report issues because they fear it will result in losing their jobs or deportation. 

Fair trade organizations fight to ensure better social, environmental and economic standards. 

We can improve people’s lives with foods we eat every day simply by buying products that are certified fair trade. 

Be sure to read up on this list of ‘Foods You Should Always Buy Fair Trade

This post was all about rooibos tea benefits and side effects.


rooibos tea beverage with moringa – FoodData Central

(Aspalathus linearis) in South Africa – Publication : USDA ARS

Adriane Marie

Hi, I'm Adriane, creator of HEALabel! I organize info for you to comprehensively see how purchases impact health, environment, animals and laborers. Stay aware because you care! Subscribe below to get my weekly newsletter with tips, new info and other ethical consumer insight.

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