Rooibos literally means Red Bush in Afrikaans. It grows only in South Africa and comes from the Aspalathus Linearis plant rather than the Camelia Sinensis; it has needle like leaves. Rooibos tea has a delicate and soft taste and makes a wonderful, rich, red infusion.
Rooibos tea is a fermented tea but is naturally without caffeine. The harvesting takes place in the summer months and most of the tea is picked by hand. The tea is then bruised and cut using tobacco cutting machines and at this stage Rooibos is still green. Fermentation is essential in order to enhance the flavour of the tea, which is piled into mounds and then spread out to dry in the sun. At this stage, the tea becomes an attractive red rust colour. In the final process, Rooibos is sterilised by steam, dried in commercial dryers, then sifted and graded and can be blended with flowers, fruit and spices to add flavours.
Rooibos tea contains no colours, additives or preservatives, making it a natural beverage. Caffeine freeit is rich in Vitamin C, mineral salts and proteins. Rooibos also contains anti-oxidants which can help slow the ageing process and boost the immune system.
Rooibos tea contains no oxalic acid and, according to studies conducted in South Africa and Japan, it has been shown to aid health problems such as insomnia, irritability, headaches, nervous tension and hypertension. In South Africa, Rooibos tea has been used to treat allergies such as hay fever, asthma and eczema. It is also used to treat skin irritations by brewing and then placing directly on to the infected areas. In South Africa also, many pregnant women and nursing mothers drink Rooibos because of its lack of caffeine. Rooibos tea is a great thirst quencher and is an excellent drink for active people, including children.
“Each cup of tea represents an imaginary voyage.”