Rooibos herbal tea has long been used as an alternative medicine. Today, the tea can be found in grocery shops and speciality cafes, and it even comes in an assortment of flavours from almond to mango. Part of its popularity is due to the fact that it is a gentle herb with few known side effects.
Aspalathus Linaris, more commonly known as Rooibos (roy-boss), comes from the majestic mountains of South Africa. The vivid green bush is grown to a height of 6 feet before the long stems are eventually removed, chopped finely, bruised and fermented. The herb is then left to dehydrate in the hot African sun, transforming to a deep mahogany colour, at which time it's ready to be brewed as a powerful holistic tea.
European explorers and botanists during the 17th and 18th centuries noted many medicinal plants used in the Cedarberg region of South Africa, particularly the "red bush" (rooibos). The Africans had been using the powerful tea for years, but it wasn't until 1904 when a Russian settler by the name of Benjamin Ginsberg introduced the tea to Western nations.
Today, people interested in a healthy lifestyle look to the rooibos tea for its 37 natural antioxidants, flavonoids and minerals, including an abundant amount of vitamin C. It also contains alpha-hydroxy acid, which provides nutrition to stimulate hair growth and skin cell renewal. In addition, it is a natural anti-allergy and antiviral alternative medicine known to safely treat the following ailments: inflammation, minor aches and cramps, stomach pains and some food and respiratory allergies (it impedes the release of histamine).
The American Botanical Council in 2003 stated that rooibos is the only natural resource that contains so many variety of antioxidants, including Nothofagin, which has proven to protect against heart disease, cancer and stroke.
The only precaution is similar to that of drinking black tea---rooibos has a low level of tannin, which is known to slow down the absorption of iron in consumed foods. This side effect is notable for people with iron deficiencies; they should check with a doctor before adding the tea to their daily diets.
Amongst the many benefits of this powerful herbal tea is that it is caffeine-free, so it is safe for young children, the elderly and those with caffeine sensitivities.
Rooibos tea is easy to make. Add 1 to 4 tsp to 1 cup of water. Steep the tea for no longer than 10 minutes. Milk and sugar can be added; however, the tea offers such a wonderfully light and natural sweetness that sugar can be omitted.