As the days are getting colder it is becoming more essential to find ways to fight off the cold. 

For over a century, antioxidant-rich Rooibos tea has been used to help ease and provide protection against colds and flu. Its ability to support the immune system in fighting viruses, enhances the body’s natural defence system making it a must-have pantry staple. 

Adele du Toit, spokesperson for the SA Rooibos Council (SARC) says if you are looking for a natural way to beat colds and flu then Rooibos should be your go-to.


“It is packed with polyphenols, which are micronutrients with antioxidant activity. Polyphenols act as scavengers of free radicals throughout the body, which are detrimental by-products of cell metabolism that can cause inflammation. Aspalatin – a unique antioxidant found only in Rooibos tea, will help to boost immunity, whilst protecting the body against other illnesses, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes,” she says.

Here is how you can use Rooibos to help you fight coughs and sniffles this winter season:

1. One of the most important healing functions of Rooibos tea is that it keeps the body hydrated, unlike Ceylon tea, coffee and energy drinks, which could deplete the body of fluids. These drinks all contain caffeine which is a diuretic. 

When you are ill, you tend to lose a lot of fluids from sweating (if you have a fever) and a raised metabolism as your body increases its internal level of activity to battle the infection. Since Rooibos tea is 100% caffeine-free, it will keep you sufficiently hydrated. Drink up to six cups of Rooibos tea a day for maximum benefits.


2. Sore throats and other aches and pains that are characteristic of colds and flu, could also benefit from Rooibos tea. Drinking the tea will keep your throat moist and help to reduce irritation. 

3. Rooibos also has a calming effect on the body, which could help to alleviate tension and thus promote better sleep, which is essential for getting over a cold.

Here are some delicious recipes for drinks that will help boost your immune system. 

Spicy Rooibos


  • A cup of strong Rooibos
  • 1 tsp of lemon
  • 1 tsp of honey
  • ½ tsp of preferably fresh ginger (try a full tsp if it’s not too strong for you)
  • A pinch of cayenne pepper 
Picture: Supplied


Pour boiling water into a cup or mug, add one Rooibos teabag and let it steep for at least 5 to 6 minutes. Add a teaspoon of lemon, honey, ginger and a pinch of cayenne pepper.

*If you prefer something cold, make your own herbal ice lollies or ice chips using the same Rooibos tea combination as above.

Rooibos Hot Toddy 


  • Juice of 1 orange
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • litre of Rooibos tea, brewed using 6 bags
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and chopped finely
  • Honey to taste 

Combine all of the ingredients then serve immediately while still hot.

Picture: Supplied

Rooibos, strawberry and orange smoothie 

  • Ingredients for one serving:
  • 1 – 2 Rooibos tea bags
  • 125 ml boiling water
  • 225 g frozen strawberries
  • ½ a peeled and chopped orange
  • 125 g silken tofu
  • 1 tbsp vanilla protein powder
  • 1 tsp liquid honey, optional
Picture: Supplied


Put the Rooibos bags in a teapot or heatproof jug and pour over the water. Steep for 8 to 10 minutes, then remove the bag. Leave to cool.

Put the tea, berries, tofu and protein powder into a blender and process until smooth. Sweeten to taste with honey and pour into glasses. Serve immediately.

Green Rooibos smoothie

Ingredients for 1 serving

  • 1 small apple, cored
  • 5 cm piece cucumber
  • 1 stalk celery, including leaves
  • 1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, including stems
  • 1 cup baby greens (your choice of spinach, chard, kale)
  • 1/8 slice of lemon (including rind)
  • 10 ml lemon juice
  • 1 kiwi peeled
  • 1/4 cup raw almonds
  • 1 Tbsp chia or sunflower seeds (optional)
  • 1 cup brewed Green Rooibos tea, chilled
  • 6-8 ice cubes 
Picture: Supplied


Combine all ingredients except ice cubes in a high-powered blender.

Blend on high until smooth.

Add ice cubes one at a time until fully crushed and mixed.

Serve immediately.