Seeing as we’re in March, for Rooibos `Tea’ lovers that means it's the prime time to bed the seeds for a delicious harvest that comes in eight-tea-n months. To my fascination, I’ve recently learnt there’s only one place in the entire world where Rooibos grows naturally and that’s on the Southern tip of Africa, North of Cape Town in the scenic Cederberg Mountains of South Africa- my hometown.
Is Rooibos Technically a Tea?
Notice I put the 'tea’ in apostrophes? That’s because technically Rooibos isn't a tea at all, it's a wild bush plant. It's got thin needle-like leaves with thin stems that when harvested is fermented, dried, then brewed into the reddish-brown “herbal infusion”, which has been dubbed as the “African red tea” or “Redbush tea”. Translated into Afrikaans, it means Rooi (red) bos (bush) tea and there you have it.
Did you know? Rooibos is grown in the cooler summer months of February to March and is harvested only once a year, yielding up to X3 crops.
So how does a wild bush plant turn into tea? Straight from harvesting the plant is bruised to release its amber colour, intense flavour, and characteristics we’ve come to love. Even the South African Olympic team who travelled to Tokyo in 2021 incorporated this elegant tea into their diets to naturally enhance their performance. This came after research revealed it increases their performance by up to 5% under certain conditions.
Are There Benefits to Drinking Rooibos?
We previously made a blog highlighting the benefits of drinking rooibos, but we've extended the list here.
- Fights heart diseases by protecting the heart,
- Fights diabetes and related illnesses,
- Fights stress by decreasing Cortisol (the hormone responsible for causing stress)
- It’s best had after a meal as it helps reduce your digestive system’s stress and assist with the breakdown process
- As we are supposed to have 5-7 servings of fruit and vegetables a day, the truth is most of us don’t. We have about 1.5 servings (I know I got shocked too but keep calm and read on). If you drink Rooibos tea, 1 cup substitutes all those much-needed antioxidants, so there’s hope. That’s very ‘heart-tea’ if you ask me.
- It’s great for your skin- not only does it contain anti-ageing properties for reducing wrinkles and fine lines, but also helps heal autoimmune skin diseases like psoriasis, sunburns and assists in the prevention of skin cancer.
- What about sinuses? This African Bush Tea works as a natural antihistamine, reducing the feeling of wheezing and coughing in asthmatic patients simply by drinking 2-3 cups a day,
- Rooibos tea is an excellent source of calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium, hydroxyl acid and vitamin C,
- Ladies this is for you, there’s a magic in Rooibos that helps reduce abdominal pain, especially during our monthly cycles,
- And lastly, seeing as it is not a traditional tea, it is the only tea that does not contain any caffeine! So, boost your electrolyte levels especially when you are feeling dehydrated.
Ways to Enjoy Rooibos
We know what it does, but how do we enjoy these benefits? Here are a few simple options:
- Add a slice of lemon.
- Add a teaspoon of raw honey.
- Enjoy it as a green tea- yes it comes in varieties. By not being oxidised, it contains higher levels of antioxidants and therefore maintains its green colour.
- It’s an all-year-round tea, so you can have it hot in winter or cold in summer. Enjoy this honey-earthy toned flavour as an iced tea with either frozen lemon, citrus or mint.
- Spice it up by boiling it with cinnamon. To a glass, add ice, pour in the freshly prepared tea, then add a few slices of strawberries or any fruit of your choice, garnish with some cinnamon powder on top and enjoy.
Rooibos is an underestimated tea, but not anymore. So, make your ‘tealess’ drink, sit in your favourite chair in the garden/ at the window with the best view and let the magic of Rooibos work for you.
Enjoy your tea-time,