With all the attention that tea has been receiving lately, many people are trying Rooibos or Red Tea for the first time. This delicious tea deserves our attention, because of its wonderful flavor and many health benefits.
Rooibos tea is not really a tea at all, but rather an herbal tisane from the plant Aspalathus linearis. Aspalathus linearis is a small bush that grows only in South Africa. While the name Rooibos means "red bush", the leaves are green when picked and only become red when fermented. The resulting tea is remarkably red in color.
South Africans have been consuming Rooibos for medicinal and refreshment purposes for a long time, but it began to be cultivated specifically for tea after being discovered in 1904 by Benjamin Ginsberg. Ginsberg was a Russian immigrant who so enjoyed the tea that he began to cultivate and market it.
Because Rooibos is not a true tea, but a herb, it contains no caffeine and is low in tannin. Studies done in South Africa have documented health benefits, including:
Acts on the nervous system to ease irritability, headaches, nervous tension and insomnia. Relieves stomach cramps and colic in infants Used to treat hay fever, asthma and eczema Slows the aging process of skin when applied directly Improves the immune system function
Rooibos tea is prepared just like black tea, except the brewing time is longer. Bring water to a full boil, then brew for 6 - 8 minutes. In South Africa rooibos is served with milk and sugar, but elsewhere it is usually served plain.
Diane Watkins is an educator and cook. She writes about food and cooking at Easy Southern Cooking [http://easysoutherncooking.com]. To learn more about tea varieties and brewing visit Brewing Tea [http://tea.easysoutherncooking.com/brewing-hot-tea]. Brewing instructions and serving suggestions for Rooibos tea can be found at Rooibos Tea
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