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Allergic Reactions to African Rooibos Tea

author image Diane Marks
Diane Marks started her writing career in 2010 and has been in health care administration for more than 30 years. She holds a registered nurse license from Citizens General Hospital School of Nursing, a Bachelor of Arts in health care education from California University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Science in health administration from the University of Pittsburgh.
Allergic Reactions to African Rooibos Tea
A cup of rooibus tea with dry tea leaves on a table. Photo Credit GreenArtPhotography/iStock/Getty Images

Allergic reactions to African rooibos tea, also called red bush tea, are uncommon. If you develop common allergy symptoms after consuming African rooibos tea, stop drinking the beverage and call your doctor. Red bush tea is currently being investigated as an anti-cancer drug and the prevention of brain damage from growing old, according to Drugs.com. Allergic reaction symptoms may range from minor to severe, depending on the severity of the reaction. If you prepare African rooibos tea with other ingredients, such as milk, you may have an allergy to another ingredient.


An allergic reaction occurs when your immune system malfunctions and reacts to a substance as if it were going to harm the body, when in fact the substance is harmless. Although there are no reports of an allergic reaction to red bush tea, according to Drugs.com, you can develop an allergy to any substance that enters your body. If your immune system malfunctions and attacks the proteins in the tea with immunoglobulin E antibodies, you will experience an allergic reaction, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

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When your body releases IgE antibodies, cells in your body release histamine, a chemical that causes inflammation in soft tissues. Common symptoms of an allergic reaction include itching, nasal congestion, rashes, hives, watery eyes, diarrhea, chest discomfort, cramps, trouble breathing, flushing of the face, the feeling of impending doom, dizziness, lightheadedness, trouble swallowing, heart palpitations, wheezing, weakness and swelling in the face, tongue or eyes, according to MedlinePlus. If you develop a severe allergic reaction your body may enter a state of shock, called anaphylaxis.


Most food-related allergies have no cure and are treated by implementing preventative measures. If diagnosed with an allergic reaction to African rooibos tea, you will need to avoid drinking the beverage. Even consuming a small amount can trigger allergic reactions. If you accidentally ingest red bush tea and develop minor allergy symptoms, an oral antihistamine may help alleviate common symptoms. Severe allergic reactions may require emergency medical attention.


Milk and honey are commonly added to red bush tea, which could be the cause of your allergic reaction. Milk is considered a highly allergic food that could lead to serious reactions. Honey is made from bees by collecting pollen, which may trigger an allergic reaction if you suffer from hay fever. Your doctor will provide you with a clinical diagnosis of your condition and most effective treatment options.

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