Caffeine in Rooibos Tea

Sipping a cup of tea is a relaxing way to unwind during the evening, but not if the hot drink's caffeine content disrupts your sleep. Reaching for a cup of rooibos, which has a sweet flavor somewhat reminiscent of tobacco, shouldn't disrupt your quality of sleep. Unlike many types of tea, rooibos doesn't contain any caffeine.

A tin of rooibos tea leaves in front of a cup of rooibos tea.
Credit: ChamilleWhite/iStock/Getty Images

A Caffeine-Free Drink

Although people typically refer to rooibos as tea, it's technically a tisane. Tisanes are dried plants -- rooibos is derived from a South African shrub -- that don't contain traditional tea leaves or, consequently, any caffeine. Many cultures have traditionally used tisanes for medicinal reasons, but tisanes such as rooibos are readily available in tea shops.

Skip the Caffeine Issues

Although drinking a cup of rooibos won't give you the short-term benefits of caffeine consumption, such as an alert feeling that can defeat drowsiness, you also won't have to deal with the disruptive side effects of this stimulant. Caffeinated products such as traditional tea can lead to anxiety or a restless feeling, and can make it difficult to fall sleep. Caffeine is also habit forming, which can create a dependency that is challenging to break.

Medical Benefits Unclear

Many people drink rooibos tea because it's rich in antioxidants, which protect your body's cells from damage. There are many other purported benefits of drinking rooibos, but none is supported by authoritative research. According to the University of Michigan Health System, however, people have traditionally used rooibos to help with digestion, believing that this tisane can lower the acid in your stomach and reduce heartburn. Other traditional benefits not supported by the modern-day medical community include relief for diarrhea and eczema.

Uses of Rooibos

To enjoy the taste of rooibos, simmer 1 to 4 teaspoons of the tisane in 1 cup of water. In the summer, place the mixture in the fridge for a refreshing, cool drink. Use the drink in a braising mixture for beef, or sprinkle the tisane into the dry mix for baked goods, such as cookies and muffins.

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