Red Bush Tea
Scientific Name(S): Aspalathus linearis (Burm. f.) R. Dahlgr. This plant is also referred to as Borbonia pinifolia Marloth or Aspalathus contaminata (Thunb.) Druce. Family: Leguminosae
Common Name(S): Red bush tea, rooibos tea
Rooibos tea comes from the South African Red Bush. This tea has a unique, very enjoyable herbal flavor - very much unlike anything else you have tried.
Rooibos tea contains no caffeine and no added colors or preservatives, making it a natural beverage. Rooibos has been shown to aid in health problems such as insomnia, irritability, headaches, nervous tension, and hypertension.
Botany: Red bush grows as a low bush, attaining a height of 4 to 5 feet. It has long, needle-like leaves and small colorful flowers. The plant is native to South Africa and is cultivated extensively for its commercial value as a substitute for common tea. The leaves and twigs are collected, washed, bruised, fermented, dried, cut and packaged for use in preparing teas. During this procedure, the leaves change from green to brick red due to the release of a red pigment found in the leaves and stems.
History: "Bush teas" are common throughout Africa and are frequently used as substitutes for common tea. Red bush tea has been popular in South Africa for decades, and commercial preparations are sometimes found in Europe and the US. One reason for the popularity of this tea is its almost total lack of physiologically active compounds. Consequently, red bush tea is selected as a fragrant, nonstimulating beverage.
Uses of Red Bush Tea
Although no significantly active compounds exist in the leaves, red bush tea has a high vitamin C content. It is being investigated as an anti-cancer drug and as a prevention for brain damage caused by aging.
Rooibos has been shown to aid in health problems such as insomnia, irritability, headaches, nervous tension, and hypertension.
Red Bush is low in oxalic acid.
Side Effects of Red Bush Tea
No reports have been identified regarding toxicity with red bush tea. There is one report of salmonella contamination from rooibos tea, possibly from lizard origin.
Toxicology: No reports have been identified regarding toxicity with this plant or its teas. A single article reports salmonella contamination from rooibos tea, possibly from lizard origin.
Summary: Red bush tea is a native African beverage that is also sold in Europe and the United States. It was found to have both protective and suppressive effects in animal studies. The mechanism may be due to the plant's ability to scavenge free radicals. More research is needed to further prove red bush tea's antimutagenic and CNSprotective effects. The plant appears to have a low toxicity profile, and the tea is a good option for those who wish to drink a mild, nonstimulating or sedating tea.
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