The history of Rooibos tea, pronounced ‘roy-bos’ and also known as Red-bush is a rich and expansive one. It’s rooted in and with the Khoisan people, a group of indigenous Bushmen, over three centuries ago! The Khoisan harvested the Aspalathus Linearis plant and used its leaves as herbal remedies to treat a wide variety of ailments. The drink made by the Bushmen was also widely popular because of its delightful taste. As the population of the tribes began to dwindle, so did the knowledge of the tree but a certain botanist who goes by the name- Carl Humberg rediscovered the leaves in 1772 and ensured that the interest in the tea be revived and its knowledge be shared. A century later, in 1904, a Russian immigrant who had tea manufacturing connections, Benjamin Ginsberg, began to promote the beverage as a herbal alternative to traditional tea and he called it ‘Mountain tea’. Ginsberg is now called the Father of commercial Rooibos. As the tea began to grow in popularity, the problem of the scarcity of the plant seeds became evident. The scarcity meant that the demand was higher and this pushed up the prices making it hard to access. It was only after a South African mother, Annique Theron wrote a book on its benefits and uses that prompted several studies on the plant and subsequently an explosion in popularity.
In 2021, the popularity and demand for Rooibos continues to spike as more and more people lean towards consuming organic goods and become more mindful of the nourishment they give their bodies. The tea’s reputation as a healthful, caffeine-free beverage means it’s enjoyed by many on a regular basis. Today it can be found on supermarket shelves, businesses such as ours, as well as in all kinds of interesting flavours. What an incredible history!
So what’s so special about this drink anyway?
Improves bone health- As is the case with many tisanes, Rooibos tea is packed with essential minerals such as calcium, manganese, and fluoride which help build strong bones. These minerals prompt increased activity in osteoblast cells, which are primarily responsible for building bone strength and mass. As an added outcome, the beverage helps prevent diseases like arthritis and osteoporosis. So remember, if you want big, strong bones…you know what to do.
- Aids in digestion and weight loss- It’s no secret that digestive problems are a nuisance and very uncomfortable. If you are someone who struggles with them regularly you know how much of an impact they can have on your daily routines. Rooibos tea contains several nutrients that are antispasmodic, which help prevent stomach aches. The tannins present in it also reduce the symptoms of diarrhoea. In fact, besides having a positive overall impact on digestion, the drink also helps support immune function and fends off bacteria and pathogens. It’s filled with nutrients and minerals which are highly beneficial.
Oh and just so you know, a cup of Rooibos contains VERY few calories so you can consume the tasty drink without any hesitation. Much like Green tea, it actually aids weight loss!
Promotes heart health- Rooibos is also an excellent drink for your heart health, in that it helps keep the blood circulating smoothly. It contains chrysoeriol flavonoid, a compound which lowers blood pressure and increases circulation. The tea has a two-pronged action on the heart- the relaxing nature of the tea opens up blood vessels while the antioxidants present in it work to lower cholesterol and plaque build-up.
Good for the skin- If you need any more convincing, Rooibos tea does wonders for your skin. Its hydroxyl-acid content is essential in skin treatments. Interestingly, this compound is not available usually, in food, which makes Rooibos tea very unique. Aside from reducing wrinkles, the drink also helps in reducing redness, and results in an even-toned skin. Moreover, it contains zinc, which is used to treat skin conditions like acne and eczema. A cup of Rooibos a day, keeps you youthful and glowing.
And that’s not all! The health benefits of Rooibos are incredible but another reason for the growing popularity of the tea is its delicious taste. It possesses a sweet, nutty flavour much like hibiscus tea. Along with that, it has hints of caramel, vanilla, and a smoky essence. Overall, it’s light and not at all overpowering and has a sweet flavour profile. Brew it as a hot tea, make it as an iced drink and see this powerful drink and all that it brings for yourself!