Red Bush or Rooibos tea (pronounced roy-boss)
In the heart of South Africa, in the valleys and mountains of the Cedarberg region near Cape Town, fields of verdant green bushes, is a bright bush, which the locals refer to as “Rooibos” (Aspalathus linearis)..
Often called the new “wonder tea,” rooibos has many of the same health benefits of green and white teas while lacking the negative caffeine and tannins. Rooibos tea is considered more of an herbal drink or tisane than a “true” tea. Rooibos comes as a fermented red rooibos tea or an unfermented green rooibos tea.
Rooibos contains small amounts of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, chloride and potassium, as well as calcium, zinc and copper. These mineral contents contribute to the maintenance of healthy skin, teeth, bones and metabolic processes.
Rooibos contains high levels of antioxidants such as the phenolic compounds, including flavanols, flavones, flavanones, and dihydrochalcones[i]. Rooibos is a rare source of the dietary dihydrochalcones, aspalathin and nothofagin which are potent antioxidant compounds[ii].
Traditionally Rooibos is used medicinally for asthma, allergies, dermatological problems and inflammatory disorders. The health benefits are mostly related to the antioxidant capacity[iii].
One study showed 400ml of Rooibos significantly inhibited angiotensin-converting enzyme activity, demonstrating that Rooibos may beneficially affect the cardiovascular system[iv].
Possible immune modulation affects, as studies demonstrated its potential to restore IL-2 (a type of cytokine signalling molecule in the immune system that attracts white blood cells)ii.
So what’s not to love about Rooibos…nothing!
Its caffeine free, antioxidant rich with a great flavour. It comes plain or combined with other flavours, Morlife’s Goji antiox instant tea combines the superfruit Goji berries with rooibos in a flavour sensation; what better way to get your antioxidant boost.
Rooibos Goulash Soup
1/8 cup olive oil or Flaxseed oil
5 vegetable stock cubes, dissolved in 5 cups of hot Rooibos Tea (I like Morlife’s Rooibos tea)
3 onions, sliced
¼ cup rice flour
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 1/4 cups sour cream
2 kg stew meat, cut into bite size bits
3 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp sugar
¼ cup Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 Tsp paprika
1 Tbsp cumin
Coarsely ground black pepper and salt to taste
Sauté onions & garlic in heated oil in a large saucepan until tender.
Flavour cubes of meat lightly with salt & pepper and brown in oil.
Add paprika and cumin and stir fry for 1 minute.
Add tomato paste and rooibos stock.
Reduce heat and simmer until meat is tender.
Mix flour with a little water to form a paste. Add to the soup and heat.
Stir constantly until mixture boils & thickens slightly.
Add sour cream and sugar, flavour with salt & pepper, & heat.
Garnish with parsley & serve.
[i] Bramati L, Minoggio, M et al (2002) Quantitative Characterization of Flavonoid Compounds in Rooibos Tea (Aspalathus linearis) by LC−UV/DAD. J Agric Food Chem;50 (20); 5513–5519.
[ii] McKay D.L & Blumberg J.B (2007) A review of the bioactivity of South African herbal teas: rooibos (Aspalathus linearis) and honeybush (Cyclopia intermedia). Phytother Res;21(1):1-16.
[iii] Villaño D, Pecorari M, et al (2010) Unfermented and fermented rooibos teas (Aspalathus linearis) increase plasma total antioxidant capacity in healthy humans. Food Chem;123(3): 679–683.
[iv] Persson I.A-L, Persson K, et al (2010) Effects of green tea, black tea and Rooibos tea on angiotensin-converting enzyme and nitric oxide in healthy volunteers. Public Health Nutri; 13(5): 730–737.