Rooibos tea – South Africa’s hidden gem
The area of the Western Cape in South Africa, where I live, is famous for wine, but hidden away in the Cederberg mountains grows another magical and increasingly popular beverage – rooibos tea. To celebrate this year’s international tea day I thought I would introduce you to this fascinating (and tasty) tea.
Rooibos is only grown in one place in the world – the Cederberg region of beautiful South Africa. The rooibos plant is actually a type of Fynbos and the reason it only grows in the Cederberg is because it has developed a symbiotic relationship with local microorganisms in the region. The fine needle-like leaves are used to make the herbal tea that is called rooibos or bush tea, but you might know it as red bush tea.
Originally the Khoisan, the indigenous people of the region, harvested the leaves from the rooibos plant for centuries. The leaves were used as herbal remedies for many ailments, and loved for their delicious taste. It gradually began to become introduced to the world through a botanist named Carl Humberg, who had observed the Khoisan’s tradition and started to drink the herbal infusion himself. In 1968, Annique Theron published a book on rooibos tea’s amazing health benefits. After the book’s release, hundreds of studies found more and more about the antioxidants and other health advantages of rooibos tea. With this new medical understanding of rooibos, the tea’s popularity exploded. Its medicinal attributes have been confirmed by the US Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C., which has affirmed that red rooibos tea is capable of reducing cancer, heart diseases, premature aging, and other serious conditions.
Red rooibos tea is one of the best health drinks or beverages for those who care about their fitness. Rooibos contains polyphenols that have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antimutagenic qualities. They act as scavengers of free radicals throughout the body, which are detrimental byproducts of cell metabolism that can cause cancer and heart diseases, it also has marvelous success in boosting the immune system.
Rooibos tea is completely caffeine-free, so it can be a great help for those who suffer from insomnia and still want to enjoy a cup of tea before bed. In fact a cup of rooibos tea just before going to bed can actually help you sleep better. By removing caffeine from your diet, you can also improve your stress levels, mood, and heart health. Being dependent on caffeine is the most common addiction throughout the world, but people don’t realise the dangers that it can pose. Rooibos tea gives you the energy and health benefits, without this dangerously addictive substance.
Rooibos tea is known to relieve stress, nervous tension, and hypertensive conditions. Hypertension is more commonly known as high blood pressure and rooibos tea acts as a bronchodilator. It not only relieves respiratory conditions but also reduces blood pressure, which can lead to dangerous cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and atherosclerosis.
So as you can see this magical little plant can benefit your health in a host of ways. And you don’t just have to have a boring old cup of tea either. Click here to try this yummy and refreshing rooibos ice-tea cocktail.