Though its popularity amongst tea drinkers around the world is still growing, rooibos tea has been drunk for centuries by the people of its native home in South Africa. Initially harvested from the Aspalathus Linearis plant in the Cederberg region by the Khoisans, a group indigenous to that area, rooibos leaves were traditionally steeped into tea or used as remedies for various health ailments. The name rooibos comes from “Red Bush,” which describes the colour of the Aspalanthus linearis leaves once they have undergone oxidation and fermentation. In 1904, a Russian immigrant named Benjamin Ginsberg began selling rooibos leaves as “Mountain Tea” and marketed the drink as an herbal alternative to the black, green, white and oolong teas made from the Camiellia sinensis plant. While like these “true” teas rooibos leaves undergo the same processes of oxidation, because the leaves of the Aspalanthus linearis are naturally packed with more antioxidants than those of the Camiellia sinesis, more antioxidants are transferred into your tea when you steep rooibos. Furthermore, unlike black, green, white and oolong teas, rooibos is actually naturally decaffeinated, which makes it the perfect tea to relieve stress, calm, and sooth.
Fast forward to the 1970s when the health benefits of rooibos tea were first popularized with the publication of Annique Theron's book, “Allergies: An Amazing Discovery.” Documenting her investigation of the natural healing properties of rooibos leaves, Theron's book introduced the health benefits of rooibos to the world. Theron's work demonstrates that rooibos tea contains anti-spasmodic properties that help relax stomach cramps, loosen muscles and relieve tension. It has even been proven to cure colic in infants and is sometimes referred to as “the mother's miracle”. Because it contains minerals like manganese, fluoride and calcium, rooibos tea actually promotes bone and nail growth and helps keep teeth strong. The list of health benefits provided by drinking rooibos tea is exhaustive. Through continued scientific research, it seems to get longer everyday!
The popularity of rooibos also continues to grow as consumers become more health-conscious, and as tea drinkers become addicted to its sweet, nutty taste. While steeped alone it makes a smooth, full bodied tea, rooibos tea can also be blended with other ingredients. Tealee's Rooibos Spice mixes rooibos with ingredients like ginger, cinnamon, and cardamom to make a caffeine-free rooibos version of a chai tea. Or, you can test out the calming, relaxing properties of the rooibos leaf with Tealee's Good Night Lullaby Organic, which blends organic chamomile and organic licorice root for a soothing cup of tea perfect for steeping right before bed.
Try one of our rooibos blends for yourself and become a fan of this caffeine-free tisane!
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