It’s funny how tea is a popular beverage the world over yet we all drink it in very different ways. In the UK people drink black tea with milk and sugar whilst in America and Japan it would seem green tea on its own is the tea of choice. The South Africans, however, have a taste for Rooibos (aka Red Bush) with milk and sugar.
I started drinking Red Bush a couple of months ago as there’s so many different types of tea to buy I wanted to be a little more adventurous. When I saw it in the supermarket I thought I’d give it a try.
What is Red Bush?
First of all, white/green/oolong/black tea is all made from the leaves from the camellia sinensis plant. The end product simply depends on how long the leaves have been fermented.
Red Bush (pronounced roy-boss) on the other hand is a completely different plant grown in the Western Cape Province. The leaves are actually green but turn red when oxidized.
What Does it Taste Like?
When I first opened the box I was hit by its distinctive smell. I couldn’t decide if I liked it or not, it just smelt… different. Once I tasted it I liked it instantly but it did take several cups for me to get used to the smell. You can also buy Red Bush with added caramel, I can understand why as it does naturally have a subtle caramel taste.
Although the Africans drink it with milk and sugar most other people drink it with just water.
Now I have to admit I actually prefer it to green tea, it’s a lot more flavoursome.
Health Benefits of Rooibos
The health benefits of Red Bush are very similar to tea made from camellia sinensis leaves.
- Contains similar amounts of polyphenols and has been shown to be anti-carcinogenic, anti-mutagenic, anti-inflammatory and anti-viral activity.
- Naturally caffeine-free so is ideal for people who want to cut back on caffeine or want to drink it before going to bed. Actually it’s recommended you drink it before going to bed as it can help with insomnia. It’s also very low in tannins.
- Contains calcium, manganese and fluoride to help build strong teeth and bones.
- Can be given to infants suffering from colic, sleeping problems or stomach cramps. Simply add some milk to the tea.
- Contains alpha hydroxy acid and zinc which is great for the skin. You can even apply it directly to the skin to help with acne, eczema and sunburn etc.
- People with kidney stones can drink it because there’s no oxalic acid.
- Full of vitamins and minerals such as zinc, copper, calcium, manganese, magnesium, potassium.
I live in the UK so I simply buy whatever Red Bush happens to be in the supermarket, however according to one of my readers, Micah, Davidson’s Organic Rooibos Tea on Amazon.com tastes great!