Also called red or redbush tea, rooibos tea has been traditionally used as a beverage and a medicinal remedy to help treat infantile colic, anxiety, insomnia and certain skin conditions. Rooibos tea originated from South Africa, and became a popular herbal treatment in other parts of the world in the 1960s. Unfortunately, the amount of rooibos tea that's safe to take during pregnancy is unknown, so consult your doctor before consuming the tea for medicinal purposes.
Rooibos tea appears to contain large amounts of polyphenols and other antioxidants that appear to protect your body's cells from oxidative stress from free radicals, according to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Rooibos also seems to offer anti-inflammatory, immune-system modulation, anti-diabetic, anti-tumor and antimutagenic effects. The caffeine-free tea's strong antioxidant actions may protect against radiation damage and could have cancer-preventive actions, notes the University of Michigan Health System. Rooibos tea's ability to modulate your immune system could have some benefits for people with HIV, allergies and infections as well.
As an herbal remedy, rooibos tea may help treat indigestion, infantile colic and insomnia, as well as skin problems like warts eczema and minor wounds, says the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, adding that it may also help in preventing liver damage and cancer. The tea may help treat allergies, and may have anti-aging effects as well, notes the University of Michigan Health System. Other potential medicinal uses for rooibos tea include treating acne, asthma, hypertension and problems with blood-sugar control, states the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. No widely-accepted scientific evidence supports the use of rooibos tea for any medicinal purpose, including pregnancy support, however.
Because rooibos tea is a commonly consumed beverage in many parts of the world, it's generally considered safe even during pregnancy, says the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. The maximum amount of rooibos that you can consume safely while you're pregnant or breastfeeding is unknown, however. Keep in mind that no human medical studies have established the herbal remedy's safety during pregnancy or lactation, warns the University of Michigan Health System. Therefore, you shouldn't take rooibos tea during pregnancy or while breastfeeding before first talking with your physician.
The typical recommended dosage of rooibos tea for medicinal purposes is 1 to 4 teaspoons of rooibos steeped in 1 cup of boiling water for 10 minutes, taken three times daily, says the University of Michigan Health System. Ask your doctor about the dosage that's right for you before you take the tea while you're pregnant or during the postpartum period.
Roobios tea has few known side effects, drug interactions or other health risks, says the University of Michigan Health System. Even for pregnant women, rooibos tea appears to be safe for consumption. In one case report, a person suffered liver toxicity after taking rooibos tea, according to a 2010 issue of the "European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology."