There has been a lot of hype lately about Rooibus or Red Tea but, what exactly is it? Rooibus tea comes from the South African Red Bush which grows in the Cedarberg Mountains neat Cape Town, South African. Like your favourite black and green teas, red tea is loaded with antioxidants with the added benefit of being naturally decaffeinated. So if you want a nice relaxing cup of tea without the caffeine jitters, red tea is the one for you.
All teas, whether black, green or white, come from the same plant, the Camelia sinensis. Rooibus or Red Tea comes from the Aspaiathus linearis and is, technically not a true tea but a tisane.
AN ANCIENT BREW
Red tea has been around for centuries and is well known to the South African Bushmen. It was discovered by the Europeans in 1772 by a botanist named Carl Peter Thunberg. Dutch settlers cultivated it as a substitute for black tea which, at the time, was very expensive. An attempt was made in the 1930s to introduce red tea to the world but was not successful. It was rediscovered in the 1960’s by Annetjie Theron. She was a desperate housewife who found that red tea was the only thing that helped with her baby’s colic. She went on to discover many skin care products featuring rooibos tea. These gained international recognition in 1984 when Japan started promoting theme as anti-aging products.
RED TEA IN NORTH AMERICA
Rooibus tea was slow to catch on in North America. It wasn’t until tea expert Katy Tubb discovered this tea’s exceptional flavour and encouraged her employer, the Tetley Tea Company, to promote this product that it became popular here.
There are many health claims made by red tea drinkers. While they have not been scientifically proven, it is claimed to help allergies, sleep disorders, headaches and digestive problems. Researchers have been able to establish that it does promote the production of antibodies and delays the recurrence of the herpes simplex virus. In 2005 a study found that rooibos tea protected against the growth of lesions associated with skin cancer. In 2008 a study found that red tea provided protection against oxidative stress and inflammation associated with the development of heart disease.
If you want a healthy new taste sensation, try some Rooibos or Red Tea.