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Culture and Wellbeing
Tea is second to water as the most favourite drink in the world. India produces 30% of tea in the world market and next is China, around 22%. Australia produces 0.1% and consumes 0.4%. Most teas sold in Australia are blended to suit consumers' taste. African tea has enjoyed a wide popularity in Europe and America, but it is less known in Australia.
We no longer sell organic tea from the Cape Town of South Africa, but we would still like to keep you informed of the health benefits of the indigenous tea, and how to make a special drink from the African tea, which you can substitute with other tea.
Rooibos and honeybush tea are full-flavour and aromatic.
To brew a perfect cup, warm the cup or pot with boiling water, add tea and then boiling water, preferably distilled, and let the tea steep for 3-5 minutes to bring out the full flavour.
Water temperature can affect the flavour and sweetness of unfermented green tea. The higher the water temperature, the more bitter and astringent the taste becomes. Ideally, let the boiling water rest for a minute or two before pouring into the green tea.
Plastic or aluminium can affect the taste of tea. Pot and cup made from china, porcelain and glass are best for brewing.
Tea bag is convenient but loose tea leaves blossom better when they move through the water.
To make a special drink, brew your tea as usual and add your favourite ingredients, such as:
- vanilla or vanilla-infused sugar,
- milk with or without sugar,
- a slice of lemon,
- dried orange peel,
- a sprig of mint — very refreshing as iced tea, or
- a few drops of fruit juice to make a fruity iced tea — kids' favourite drink and a sure winner in summer! Very healthy too, as the fruity tea has less sugar than fruit juice.
Rooibos means red bush. The Rooibos tea plant (Aspalathus Linearis) is a unique wispy bush found only in Cedarberg, a small part of South Africa's South Western Cape region. The tea has been enjoyed for centuries as both a beverage and health tonic by the indigenous people. In 1904, Benjamin Ginsberg discovered Rooibos' potential, and started to market the tea. In 1930, Dr P Le Fras Nortier prompted mass cultivation with the assistance of the South African Agriculture Ministry. In 1968, Annatjie Theron discovered that a Rooibos tea infusion, when administered to her baby, cured the infant of chronic restlessness, vomiting and stomach cramps, and further promoted Rooibos tea as a healthy drink.
Today, Rooibos tea is considered as an anti-ageing beverage by the Japanese. Researches by Orange Free State University in South Africa and Japanese scientists have shown that Rooibos tea has numerous medicinal benefits confirming the tea's reputation as a miraculous drink for good health.
Rooibos tea is caffeine free and low in tannin. Its tannin acid is only 10% of normal tea's tannin content and therefore suitable to be taken anytime, day or night. Our tea is totally natural, free of any extraneous substances such as colourants or preservatives.
Rooibos tea contains many essential minerals and trace elements such as iron, potassium, copper, zinc, calcium, magnesium, manganese, fluoride, sodium and ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) that contribute to good health. It does not contain oxalates hence does not block iron absorption.
Normal metabolism of oxygen results in formation of free radicals superoxide and peroxide (active oxygen species) which if non-excessive are beneficial to our body. However, excessive amount of free radicals becomes detrimental to health. The toxicity of such free radicals lies in their ability to attack substances in our living cells and tissues resulting in DNA mutation and production of indigestible and damaged substances such as lipoperoxides and oxidative proteins. Free radicals is the principal cause of premature aging and major diseases such as atherosclerosis, brain infarction, cardiovascular diseases, liver diseases, mellitus diabetes, Parkinson disease, Alzheimer's disease, cataract, inflammatory diseases (like arthritis), stress ulcer etc. Harmful free radicals are also produced from radiation, smoking, alcohol consumption, pesticides and pollutants in air, water and food. Fortunately, we could counter the harmful effects of free radicals through anti-oxidant enzymes produced by our body and anti-oxidant nutrients consumed. Anti-oxidants protect our body against the damaging effects of free radicals by "mopping up" active oxygen species and retarding lipid peroxidation. However, our natural production of anti-oxidants declines or weakens as a result of aging, pollution, stress and excessive physical activities.
Rooibos tea can strengthen our defence mechanism against free radicals, as it is extremely rich in anti-oxidants. It contains high levels of 37 known substances, including Flavanoids, which act to neutralise the toxic effects of free radicals. It also contains high levels of SOD or Superoxide Dismutase, a powerful anti-oxidant enzyme also produced by our body to curb the harmful effects of free radicals. SOD has been known for improving our immune system and preventing cancers.
Rooibos tea has been shown to have major benefits with regard to constipation, insomnia, restlessness, depression, allergic conditions, stomach cramps, colic and nappy rash and other skin problems. The tea is suitable for all ages and said to be ideal for small children. Rooibos tea is recommended for health, anti-ageing, skin care, and reducing tension and insomnia.
Green Rooibos tea is unfermented. Red and black teas are fermented tea. Fermentation is a process that leaves the tea to sweat in heaps after watering and airing. During this time, the tea obtains its typical reddish brown colour and develops its sweet flavour. After the sweating process, it is spread out in a drying yard to dry to a moisture content of 10%.
Green Rooibos tea is recommended for those suffering from stomach ulcer and kidney stones.
Honeybush tea is an indigenous herbal tea (Cyclopia Intermedia) growing in area ranging from the Southern and Eastern Cape to the Cedarberg. There are 23 species of honeybush and only Cyclopia Intermedia and Cyclopia Subternata are commercialized. According to Kies in 1951, the earliest mention of the Honeybush plant in botanical literature was in 1705. The leaves, stems and flowers of the Cyclopia species are used to manufacture a sweet herbal infusion. Most of the species have very limited distribution ranges and special habitat preferences. Some are restricted to mountain peaks, others to perennial streams or to marshy areas, shalebands and wet southern slopes. Presently there are no Honeybush plantings and the teas are harvested from natural populations only.
Honeybush is caffeine-free and contains very little tannin. It is therefore especially valuable to children and patients with digestive and heart problems where stimulants and tannins should be avoided.
Honeybush has a calming effect on the central nervous system and eases constipation. It has anti-fungal and anti-viral properties, as well as being anti-inflammatory. Honeybush, like Rooibos, is also rich in anti-oxidants. Honeybush can be used on the skin for rashes and irritations.
||Function in the body
2.5g for 200ml
2.5g for 200ml
||Essential for transportation of oxygen in red blood cells and combating fatigue
||Essential part of the body's metabolic processes
||Play a vital role in growth, resistance to disease, healing of wounds and health of skin and hair
||Essential for bone development and for other metabolic processes
||Another vital component of the body's metabolic processes
||Essential for strong bones and teeth
||Responsible for maintaining fluid and acid-base balance
||Important for a healthy nervous system and for other metabolic processes
||Essential for healthy bones and teeth
- The Honeybush Miracle Rnningleighann - 2 Dec 2007
- Rooibos tea helps garden News24.com - 4 Oct 2006
- Tibetans’ tea culture Navhind Times Lifeplus - 27 Jul 2006
- Tea cuts risk of bile stones. Health 24 - 11 Jul 2006
- Waste tea tarnish Sri Lanka's reputation Colombo Page - 4 Jun 2006
- FDA Rejects Health Claim for Green Tea Washington Post - 9 May 2006
- Using Chinese Green Tea For Health And Weight Loss Daily India - 9 May 2006
- Green Coffee Promotes Weight Loss? Discovery - 1 May 2006
- Turning over a new leaf. Guardian - 30 Apr 2006
- Are you ready for a green tea latte? Reuters - 28 Apr 2006
- At the plantation on an island near Charleston, you can steep yourself in everything from harvesting to sipping. The Charlotte Observer - 23 Apr 2006
- Tea is becoming the hottest drink in town. Coffee has flavors, but tea is more subtle. The Boston Globe - 23 Apr 2006
- No cup of cheer! ‘Poor Tea’ Versus ‘Good Tea’ Economics ... Tea wastes sold as primary tea ... The Statement - undated 2006
Copyright © 2005-2013, S.P. Kwan
If you have any queries, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or mail to us at PO Box 5142, Pinewood LPO, VIC 3149, Australia. Our head office is in Victoria, Australia.