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How Rooibos tea can affect fertility and pregnancy + Benefits and risks

Rooibos tea fertility

Rooibos tea (Aspalathus linearis) has antioxidant properties that may improve sperm quality and can also help to increase osteoblast activity during pregnancy.

The rising Infertility as a major challenge for couples worldwide has led to the adoption of medicinal plants for the treatment of infertility in males and females, as they offer a more affordable and accessible therapeutic alternative.

Medicinal plant like Aspalathus linearis has been pointed out in several scientific research as an herbal plant that is loaded with polyphenols, and antioxidants like aspalathin that can protect us from cellular damage caused by free radicals [1, 2, 3, 4].

What is Rooibos tea?

Rooibos tea is an herbal tea made from the leaves of the red bush plant scientifically called Aspalathus linearis. It is native to South Africa has a naturally sweet, slightly nutty flavor, and is caffeine-free. Rooibos tea is also rich in antioxidants and other beneficial compounds [5].

How to make rooibos tea

  1. Bring water to a boil.
  2. Add 1-2 teaspoons of loose rooibos tea to a teapot or infuser.
  3. Pour the boiling water over the tea leaves and let steep for 5-10 minutes, or to your desired strength.
  4. Strain the tea leaves and enjoy. You can drink rooibos tea hot or cold, and it can also be enjoyed with milk and sugar.

Tips for making the perfect cup of rooibos tea:

  • Use fresh, cold water.
  • Don’t over-steep the tea leaves, or it will become bitter.
  • If you’re using a teapot, preheat it before adding the tea leaves.
  • You can add other herbs and spices to your rooibos tea, such as ginger, mint, or cinnamon.
  • Rooibos tea can be enjoyed on its own, or it can be paired with food. It’s a particularly good complement to sweet treats.

Rooibos tea fertility implications

Rooibos tea or extract can enhance sperm velocity, protect the acrosome structure, and tend to preserve the membrane integrity during sperm storage according to studies [6, 7, 8, 9]. This has fertility implications for both animals and humans.

In animals, rooibos extract could be used to improve the quality of semen used for artificial insemination. This could lead to increased pregnancy rates and reduced calf mortality.

In humans, rooibos extract could be used to improve sperm quality in men with fertility problems. This could help them to conceive naturally or through assisted reproductive technologies.

However, more research is needed to confirm the effects of rooibos extract on human sperm quality and fertility. The results of this study are promising and suggest that rooibos extract could be a valuable tool for improving fertility in both animals and humans.

Another In vitro study has equally confirmed that this tea may improve sperm parameters [10]. While another suggests it may prove the chance of pregnancy in women with PCOS.

However, it didn’t reveal its impact if consumed for a long time. Also, there are claims that Intake of large amounts of rooibos tea may also harm liver and kidney function. These precautions should taken while consuming this tea, more importantly, speak with health care professionals they can guide you on the dose.

Notwithstanding, there are fertility benefits of consuming this tea moderately with their respective scientific evidence detailed here.

Benefits of rooibos tea for fertility

Some studies have suggested that rooibos tea may be beneficial for fertility [11, 12]. For example, one in vitro study found that rooibos tea may help to improve sperm quality in men.

The result of this study suggests that unfermented rooibos aqueous extract may have the potential as a therapeutic agent for male infertility.

It was also noted that unfermented rooibos aqueous extract had no deleterious impact on sperm function in either the normal or abnormal samples. However, at a concentration of 1.5 μg/ml, the extract significantly increased capacitation and acrosome reaction in the abnormal sample group.

Capacitation and acrosome reaction are essential steps in sperm maturation and fertilization [13].

An in vivo study on male rat models that were fed rooibos tea for 52 days, recorded a significantly improved sperm concentration, viability, and motility attributed to the antioxidant content of the tea [14].

However, prolonged exposure to rooibos tea may also result in subtle structural changes in the male reproductive system and may induce acrosome reactions, which can impair fertility.

Intake of large amounts of rooibos tea may also harm liver and kidney function [15].

Another study found that rooibos tea may help to increase the chances of conception in women with PCOS [16]. Rooibos tea is effective for menopausal symptoms due to its phytoestrogenic properties, which are similar to human estrogen.

Contrary to some studies, rooibos and its constituent quercetin have the potential to suppress ovarian function and the response of ovarian cells to FSH in porcine ovarian granulosa cells [17]. This could have implications for women who are trying to conceive or who have conditions such as PCOS.

Implications of taking rooibos tea in pregnancy

Rooibos tea pregnancy

Is rooibos tea safe for pregnant women? Yes, moderate intake of not more than 2-3 cups of this tea daily won’t be harmful. However, the safety of taking rooibos tea during pregnancy has not been fully studied.

It’s considered a caffeine-free herbal tea that is generally considered safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women. Its rich antioxidant nature makes it beneficial in reducing stress and promoting relaxation.

Since there is limited research on how much rooibos tea is safe to drink during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Therefore, it is best to talk to your doctor before drinking more than 2-3 cups per day.

PICKS: Can You Get Pregnant Without a Period? Facts to know

Benefits of rooibos tea in pregnancy

How does this tea benefit, pregnant women? Rooibos tea is a good source of antioxidants, which are important for pregnant women. Antioxidants can help to protect the developing baby from damage. Rooibos tea may also help to boost the immune system and improve circulation.

Here are some of the specific benefits of rooibos tea in pregnancy:

  • Promotes bone health
  • Relieves morning sickness
  • Boosts the immune system
  • Improves circulation
  • Promotes healthy skin
  • Relieves stress

Promotes bone health

During pregnancy, your body needs more calcium and other nutrients to support the growth and development of your baby. This can put a strain on your bones, and some women experience bone loss during pregnancy.

Rooibos tea is a good source of calcium and other minerals that are important for bone health. It also contains compounds that may help to increase osteoblast activity, which is the process of forming new bone [18].

A study on pregnant rats found that those who drank rooibos tea had better bone density and structure than those who did not [19, 20, 21].


Relieves morning sickness

Rooibos tea is a natural remedy for morning sickness. It contains antioxidants that help to calm the stomach and reduce nausea.

Boosts the immune system

Rooibos tea is a good source of vitamin C and other antioxidants, which help to boost the immune system. This is important for pregnant women, who are more susceptible to infection [22].

Improves circulation

Rooibos tea contains quercetin, a compound that helps to improve circulation. This is important for pregnant women, as it helps to ensure that the developing baby is getting enough oxygen and nutrients.

Promotes healthy skin

Rooibos tea is a good source of antioxidants and other compounds that are beneficial for skin health. It can help to reduce inflammation and eczema.

Relieves stress

Rooibos tea is a calming and relaxing tea that can help to reduce stress. This is important for pregnant women, as stress can have negative effects on the pregnancy.

Risks of rooibos tea in pregnancy

Rooibos tea is generally considered to be safe for pregnant women to drink. However, there are a few potential risks to be aware of:

May cause Iron deficiency

Rooibos tea contains a small amount of tannins, which can interfere with the absorption of iron if it’s excessive. Pregnant women who are at risk of iron deficiency should avoid drinking rooibos tea with meals. In some cases may interact with certain medications [23].

Allergic reactions

Some people may be allergic to rooibos tea. If you experience any allergic symptoms, such as hives, swelling, or difficulty breathing, after drinking rooibos tea, stop drinking it and see your doctor.

How much rooibos tea is safe to drink during pregnancy?

Most experts recommend not more than 3-4 cups of rooibos tea per day. Know that there is no scientific evidence to support the answer, as the amount of rooibos tea that is safe to drink during pregnancy may vary depending on the individual.

If you have any concerns about drinking rooibos tea during pregnancy, talk to your doctor.

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