Week 7 – Rooibos

Rooibos Aspalathus linearis

It is also called Red Bush Tea or Red Tea.

Despite the popularity of the tea, earlier, there was some confusion over its name. However, this has been settled now and it has been agreed that henceforth the plant would be generally known as Aspalathus linearis. Occasionally, the rooibos plant is also called Borbonia pinifolia Marloth or Aspalathus contaminate.

  • Rooibos tea is not a true tea since it doesn’t use leaves from the Camellia consensus plant and comes from the South African shrub Aspalathus linearis.
    • Today the red bush tea or rooibos is the most well-liked hot brew in South Africa.
    • Rooibos is an indigenous shrub, which grows exclusively on the slopes of the Cedarberg Mountains in the Western Cape province of South Africa and has been used by traditional healers of the area for centuries. This is a traditional medicine for two indigenous groups that are native to South Africa–the Bushmen and the Hottentots.
      • 300 years ago European explorers discovered the “Red Tea”. Then, in the early 1900’s, the healing powers of South Africa’s ‘Miracle Tea’ became apparent, and acclaimed as a treasured elixir for the mind, body and spirit
      • Rooibos is Afrikaans for “red bush” and is pronounced as “RoyBoss”
      • Rooibos, also known as “Red Bush” tea, is an herbal tea native to South Africa. Unlike most teas (such as black, green and oolong), which come from camellia plants, rooibos comes from the Aspalathus linearis plant. Its leaves are green, but when oxidized the leaves turn red, giving the tea a distinctive appearance. The main use of this herb is brewed tea, which has a variety of health benefits.
      • Rooibos is a member of the legume family of plants. It is a shrub that belongs to the Fabaceae family.

Harvesting

The Aspalathus linearis plant is harvested in late summer or during autumn.

Storing

After harvesting, the long stalks of the plant are chopped into smaller parts. The cut stems along with the leaves are then moisturized, crushed and then left to ferment for some time. After the fermentation, the substance is left out in the sun to be dehydrated. The end product is the red bush tea that is prepared like the common or ordinary tea.

Parts used: The leaves and twigs are used, after being cut and bruised to allow enzymatic oxidation and then dried.

Medicinal uses

Rooibos is a mildly astringent herb (because of the tannins) with restorative properties and it is antispasmodic. It contains polyphenols, shown to have anticarcinogenic, anti-allergic and anti-inflammatory and antiviral qualities.

It is an extremely nutritious herb, containing a wide variety of vitamins and minerals to keep the body healthy. Rooibos contains Vitamin C; Alphahydroxy Acid; calcium, manganese and fluoride for strong teeth and bones; iron, which prevents anemia; zinc, copper, potassium, magnesium and more than 37 natural or common antioxidants.

v  Tooth decay (due to high fluoride content)

v  Insomnia

  • The beverage prepared with the herb helps in stimulating sleep. Research has shown that rooibos induces sleep by influencing the metabolism (the process by which ingested food is transformed into energy) of acetylcholine (a substance known to be a transmitter of nerve impulses) in the brain and thwarting the discharge of neurons responsible for wakefulness. In some other way, rooibos provokes sleepiness by obstructing the reactions of the hormones that lead to pain and irritation or inflammation. * However, here is a word of caution. The tea prepared with rooibos should be used for this purpose only after consultation and consent of the physician.

v  Cramps

v  Heartburn

v  Beneficial in the treatment of high blood pressure

v  Nervous tension, mild depression, anxiety

v  Diabetes mellitus

  • Rooibos can help to control blood sugar levels

v  Atherosclerosis

v  Cataracts

v  Liver diseases

v  Syphilis

  • The plant is widely recommended as a supplementary medication while treating syphilis as it inhibits common inflammation (swelling and irritation) and reduces pain. However, the herb does not cure the disease.

v  Constipation, diarrhea (because of the tannins), digestive distress and cramping

v  Asthma

v  Ulcers

v  Aging (because of the antioxidants)

v  Helps build strong bones

v  High cholesterol (helping to prevent heart disease)

v  Vomiting

v  Rooibos is also effectual in treating mental disorders related to old age.

v  Rooibos may help relieve insomnia

v  HIV

  • A couple of studies conducted by Japanese scientists have found that rooibos is active against or combats the human immunodeficiency virus. The polysaccharide (a complex carbohydrate) amalgams present in rooibos thwarts the HIV from sticking to its intended or target cells in the body.

v  Rooibos is given to babies with colic, he herb is anti-spasmodic: it relieves cramps and stomach aches

  • Many mothers use this property of the tea to ease colic and stomach discomfort in their infants by mixing the tea with milk and bottle-feeding it to their children. The soothing properties of the tea may also pass along through breast milk.

v  Allergies and hay fever

  • Research has shown that it is possible that rooibos impedes the release of histamine, an organic derivative of ammonia discharged by immune cells producing allergic reactions. In fact, the release of histamine is said to be liable for nasal congestion as well as stomach disorders during allergic effects and anxiety. Hence, this property of rooibos makes the herb immensely beneficial for everyone suffering from food allergies and respiratory allergies.

v  Calms skin allergies and other skin complaints such as eczema

  • Brew the tea and apply it to the area with a cotton ball
  • Rooibos tea contains a variety of antioxidants and flavonoids, including alpha hydroxy acid, which help control free radicals in your body. Free radicals can lead to premature aging of the skin, so this tea can help keep your skin looking young. This benefit applies to drinking the tea, but you can also apply the tea directly to the skin; many people claim that when used this way, the tea helps prevent and treat acne, sunburn and eczema.
  • It has a soothing and healing effect on the skin.

* Rooibos is very low in oxalic acid, a compound that can cause problems for people with kidney stones, so those who suffer from this problem can drink it safely.

* The beverage does not have any unwanted effect on the body or mind.

* Rooibos tea is naturally caffeine free, which means that you can drink a cup before bed without worrying that it will keep you awake. Since it lacks caffeine, people with heart conditions and expectant mothers can safely drink this tea.

CAUTION

Like black tea, rooibos also slows down the absorption of iron from the consumed food. However, rooibos is less effective than the black tea in soaking up iron from the ingested food. Hence, people suffering from deficiency of iron and related diseases should try to avoid drinking the rooibos as well as black tea. Drinking any of the two beverages may be detrimental for their health as they are likely to further bring down the iron content in their system.

Rooibos Tea

* Contains no caffeine

* Is low in tannin (the tannins in black tea are responsible for the bitter flavour): the tannin content in the red bush tea is approximately five per cent.

*** The tea prepared with rooibos contains no stimulants and is known to be safe, mild and uncontaminated.

Normally, the dehydrated leaves and the fine stems are used as tea.

The beverage is also highly refreshing.

The tea is very mild and can be taken every day, or whenever you feel the need for an extra nutrition boost.

If you drink one to three cups a day, it can help increase your overall state of health. A spot of tea? image by Gretchen from Fotolia.com

Sandalwood & Rooibos Bath Soap

150g Pure clear unfragranced glycerine soap

5 Drops Sandalwood Fragrance

Rooibos leaves

* Gently melt the soap either in microwave or on stove top.

* Add Fragrance and sprinkle a few leaves into the melted soap.

* Give the soap a few swirls.

* Pour into soap mould. Allow to cool and demould.

* The leaves work as a great exfoliator and add colour and texture.

* Use a piece of corrugated cardboard to decorate the soap and tie it with a raffia bow.

Sources:

What is herbal medicine?

http://www.umm. edu/altmed/ articles/ herbal-medicine- 000351.htm

http://en.wikipedia .org/wiki/ Herbalism

Guide To Green Tea

How to Understand the Medicinal Uses of Rooibos Tea

By Katherine Huether, eHow Contributor

How to Understand the Medicinal Uses of Rooibos Tea | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/how_2094552_understand-medicinal-uses-rooibos-tea.html#ixzz0zIcdV4D1

Rooibos Benefits & Uses

By StephenR, eHow Contributor

updated: July 19, 2010

Rooibos Benefits & Uses | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/list_6750513_rooibos-benefits-uses.html#ixzz0zId2hdrE

http://www.herbs2000.com/herbs/herbs_rooibos.htm

http://www.ageless.co.za/herb-rooibos.htm

http://www.phytochemicals.info/plants/rooibos.php

http://www.theherbspiral.com/supps/herbpages/Rooibos.htm

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