Rooibos (roy-boss), also known as ‘African red tea’ or ‘red bush tea’, is native to South Africa. Grown in the mountainous region of Cederberg, for centuries natives have used this plant for its taste and health benefits. Considered a ‘tisane’, as it does not derive from the traditional Camillia sinensis plant, Rooibos is naturally without caffeine and has a sweet, nutty flavor. Rooibos is commonly oxidized, giving it the signature red color of the leaves. However, leaves left unoxidized are known as ‘green Rooibos’ with a malty, grassy flavor different from traditional Rooibos. A cousin to Rooibos, Honeybush is also found in South Africa. Named for its honey smelling flowers, Honeybush has a similar but sweeter taste than Rooibos.
For centuries, the Khosian tribe or bushmen of South Africa harvested and used Rooibos as a remedy for many ailments. Their same methods of harvesting and processing the tea are used today with improved technology. In the 1700s, Dutch Settlers came to South Africa and botanist Carl Humberg rediscovered the Rooibos bush, sparking its popularity to settlers missing their tea from home. Then in the early 1900s, Russian tea merchant Benjamin Ginsberg, cultivated Rooibos and exported it to the masses. Later during World War II, importing teas from Asia became more difficult and Rooibos became a popular alternative, however the high cost of Rooibos seeds made it difficult to buy. Finally, in the late 1960s Annique Theron wrote of the health benefits associated with Rooibos and Honeybush expanded their popularity.
Many health benefits are attributed to Rooibos. After all, it was first drunk for a variety of aliments. Modern science has only started determining its direct affect on health. Headaches, insomnia, asthma, hypertension, and allergies all have been said to be soothed by drinking Rooibos. WebMD reports that they are high in antioxidants which is said to prevent cancer, boost immunity and slow aging process. In 2010, an article in the journal of Public Health Nutrition showed that Rooibos lowered blood pressure which decreases hypertension and lowers heart disease risk. Research has shown no side effects associated with Rooibos and is considered safe for children and pregnant women.
Find a variety of flavors of Rooibos and Honeybush online or in the lounge. Try a Rooibos latte style or try one of our CRAFTeas in the lounge like our Tiramisu Amaretto to satisfy your Rooibos craving!