Forget caffeinated drinks, this healthy alternative will improve your child's concentration during exams


October through to the November is one hectic time for matric students and their parents, the pressure to perform typically leading to late nights and exhausted minds. 

And with all that focus on functioning at peak, the temptation to turn to caffeine and energy drinks to stay afloat just makes sense. 

But, advises Adele du Toit of the SA Rooibos Council, parents should encourage their kids to choose a healthier alternative. 

“Unlike coffee, which could give you the jitters followed by a crash, rooibos tea is a cleaner-burning and longer-lasting fuel for the body since it doesn’t contain any caffeine or tannin. An added bonus is that it also relieves tension and headaches,” she explains.

Why it works

Levels of cortisol – commonly known as the stress hormone – skyrockets during the lead up to exams, and at the same time, a process known as oxidative stress increases the production of free radicals, making it hard for young minds to take in information. 

Rooibos contains high levels of antioxidants, such as the polyphenolic compounds (largely found in fruits and vegetables). These protect the brain cells responsible for concentration and focus and decrease the harmful impact of oxidative stress.  

Also see: Exam stress tips for your kids 

And since rooibos contains no caffeine, students will be able to maintain proper sleeping patterns.  

“Rooibos tea has no side-effects and contains some of the strongest and most unique antioxidants in the plant kingdom," she concludes. 

Here are some fun recipe ideas for adding this beneficial drink to your diet:

Basic rooibos iced tea

  • Prepare one litre of rooibos tea using four to six teabags
  • Sweeten the tea with honey to taste 
  • Leave tea in the fridge to cool overnight
Once the mix has been refrigerated, you can then add mint, lemon, orange, granadilla, mango, apple or preservative-free fruit juice. The tea can kept in the fridge for up to two weeks without expiring. 

Rooibos and berry iced tea

You'll need:

  • 8 rooibos tea bags or flavoured rooibos of your choice
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 6 thin slices ginger
  • 4 cups (1 litre) boiling water
  • 4 cups (1 litre) 100% berry juice, chilled
  • Lemon juice to taste


  • Place tea bags, spices and ginger in a large glass jug and pour over boiling water
  • Stir well and allow to cool for about two hours
  • Remove tea bags, ginger and spices
  • Add berry juice to the tea and season with lemon juice to taste
  • Refrigerate overnight

Enjoy with ice and mint leaves or fruit and lemon. 

Rooibos ice-lollies

  • Pour some rooibos iced tea into popsicle containers or ice-cube trays and freeze.

These icy treats make for great snacks while studying.

Read more: 

What's your teen's go-to tips when preparing for exams? Tell us in the comments. 

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