Rooibos is a tea you may not be that familiar with. It comes from South Africa and no where else! It means “red bush”. It has been very popular in Southern Africa and is now finding more popularity in other countries. The leaves are usually oxidized which causes the reddish-brown color. If they are not oxidized, the rooibos comes out green, a more expensive and malty version.
South Africans use rooibos much like black tea and add milk and sugar for additional flavor. Lemon and honey are also used to add flavor. Many coffee shops prepare rooibos as “red espresso” just like a regular espresso. This has led to the introduction of red lattes, cappuccinos and iced tea. This tea usually has a unique sweet taste with hints of toffee, vanilla and cherry.
Rooibos is full of antioxidants, calcium, zinc and other nutrients. It is also low in caffeine and tannin levels. It has been used to assist with nervous tension, allergies and digestive problems. Two flavonoids found in rooibos have even been known to have cancer fighting qualities. Traditionally medicinal uses of this tea in South Africa include alleviating infantile colic, allergies, asthma and dermatological problems.
Because of its low caffeine levels, rooibos offers other soothing effects to its drinkers. Pregnant women and children would benefit from this. Consumed before sleep, this tea won’t keep you up all night, either. Allergy-fighting qualities can help soothe rashes or other reactions.
No matter how you name it, red tea is a delicious, naturally sweet choice. It has quickly expanded from a small herb from South Africa, to one of the most consumed and well-known herbs in the world!