About Rooibos Tea. Unveiling Rooibos’ Reddish Success
Discover why rooibos is considered a truly wonder beverage when it comes to health related issues plus many other interesting facts about rooibos tea.
Rooibos, also known as “red bush” and scientifically as Aspalathus Linearis is a broom-like plant growing in South Africa and a member of the legume family. Its specific Latin name “linearis” comes from the special, linear structure of the rooibos plant and also from its needle-like leaves.
This particular plant is used to produce a tasty tisane which has different names depending on the area. It is called bush tea in Southern Africa, redbush tea in the United Kingdom, South African red tea in the United States or simply rooibos which is used more as a catch-all term.
The rooibos plant is actually rare because it is grown only in a small area in the region of the Western Cape province of South Africa.
In order to produce the tasteful rooibos beverage, the leaves are oxidized. This oxidation process gives the drink its unique brown-reddish color and enhances its aroma. Rooibos features a very sweet and slightly nutty flavor.
Rooibos tea also features an unoxidized “green” variety. The production process of this variety is much more demanding which makes the “green” rooibos tea much more expensive than the oxidized version. The flavor of the “green” rooibos is slightly grassy and malty highly different from its reddish counterpart.
Unveiling Rooibos Reddish Secrets
Rooibos is unique because it’s made of a different plant than other, more common tisanes, a plant that is actually quite rare and recently discovered by Westerners. Rooibos tea is precious because of its fruity aroma and became more and more appreciated in Europe.
Rooibos is like wine. It ages well. It and can be stored for long periods of time without any deterioration whatsoever in quality, aroma and taste. In fact, the older it is the better it gets.
Rooibos has no calories. That is a very good piece of information for those of you who want to maintain a healthy diet or want to lose some weight. You can stop counting the calories when it comes to rooibos because it has none. This is a fact for only plain rooibos tea because calories are added once other ingredients such as sweeteners are also added to the beverage.
Rooibos is the red coffee of Africa, without the caffeine. Though rooibos doesn’t contain at all caffeine, several coffee shops in South Africa have recently begun to sell what they called “red espresso”, which is concentrated rooibos served and presented in the style of ordinary espresso. This tasty experiment has given way to rooibos-based variations of coffee drinks such as red lattes and red cappuccinos. Iced tea made from rooibos has recently been introduced in South Africa, Australia, and in the United States.
Back in history, rooibos plant was known only to a native tribe of South African Bushmen called the Khoisans. They used it really frequently as herbal remedy and enjoyed its delicious taste. When the tribe left that area, it dispersed and eventually disappeared, thus letting the knowledge about rooibos to fall into oblivion.
Rooibos remained hidden from European eyes until 1772 when a Swedish botanist named Carl Thunberg discovered the plant, brought it back with him in Europe and tried to make the beverage popular. Still the old continent didn’t know much about rooibos, the red tea being mainly consumed in South Africa. It was really late in 1904 when a Russian immigrant named Benjamin Ginsberg felt and understood the marketing potential of this beverage and began to popularize it under the name of Rooibos “Mountain Tea”. Starting from that year, rooibos grew silently and step by step in popularity.
“Each cup of tea represents an imaginary voyage.” (Catherine Douzel)
It was really late though when rooibos started to taste success. It was through a book named “Allergies: An Amazing Discovery” published in 1970 that rooibos became recognized and started being appreciated worldwide. The author was a South African mother named Annique Theron who used rooibos tea to calm her babies’ colic pain. Glad to have discovered a remedy, she started digging for more rooibos information and decided to share it to the world through her book.
Much more closer to our time, in 1994, the name of “rooibos” was registered as a trademark by the American company Burke International. They actually established a monopoly in America on the name of the African plant and beverage. In 2005, the American Herbal Products Association and a number of other import companies finally succeeded in defeating the trademark issue through petitions and lawsuits. Burke International had no choice than to release the name to the public use.
Health Benefits of Rooibos
Rooibos tea features so many minerals that it can almost be considered a nutritional supplement. It contains iron, potassium, calcium, zinc, magnesium and many others.
Recently, in 2011, researchers put to the test the effects of rooibos on various biological markers that are known to indicate the risk of cardiovascular problems. The result was that rooibos actually lowered those risk factors. So it’s safe to say that drinking rooibos tea may be a natural way to prevent developing any heart related problems.
Various other studies made on rooibos have also shown that this beverage can be an important aid with many health problems.
Rooibos is a beverage used for relaxation. It is known that it eases irritability, nervous tension headaches and insomnia.
Rooibos can also act as an anti-spasmodic agent. Here’s a good piece of news for mothers because it relieves stomach cramps and colic in infants.
Rooibos can become a natural treatment for hay fever, eczema and even asthma.
Rooibos can also be used as an anti-aging cream. If placed directly on the skin, it can actually slow the aging process.
These recent discoveries concerning the prevention of heart diseases and the highly mineralized composition of rooibos made the beverage very popular in the last few years. Its popularity is also due to its wonderful color and amazing taste.
Rooibos is indeed a wonder beverage. Have you already tasted it or used it as a natural aid for any of those diseases? If yes, did it help you the way you expected it to do?
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