South Africa's super tea

Traditional remedy ... rooibos tea is said to alleviate a range of ailments.
Traditional remedy ... rooibos tea is said to alleviate a range of ailments.

Already a hit with Hollywood stars, could redbush tea, also known as rooibos, steal the crown from white and green teas to become the next super-tea?

Rooibos, which literally translates to "red bush" in Afrikaans, is a plant grown in South Africa, and its leaves are used to make a herbal tea. Popular with South Africans for generations, the benefits of this natural reddish-brown-coloured herb are finally reaching further afield.

Celebrities such as Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas, who served up rooibos-flavoured ice cream at their wedding, are fans, along with Angelina Jolie, Sir Anthony Hopkins and Cindy Crawford.

Redbush tea contains minerals such as zinc, calcium, manganese and fluoride, which can improve lacklustre complexions and aid the development of strong teeth and bones.

Like green and white teas, it's a natural source of antioxidants, which help boost the body's natural defences.

As well as containing no colourants, additives or preservatives, redbush tea is naturally caffeine free and low in tannin, making it an ideal alternative for health-conscious bods - plus it won't discolour teeth like other teas and coffees.

It's hard to imagine this herb can do so much. Redbush tea leaves have been revered as a traditional herbal remedy with reputed health benefits and healing powers, particularly with dermatological problems such as eczema and acne, and can help alleviate allergies and asthma.

Soothe sore throats by adding honey to a cup of redbush tea, or clear blocked noses with redbush tea poured over ice and accompanied with mint leaves - which doubles up as an invigorating summer drink.

Duran Duran's Simon Le Bon reportedly has a cuppa each time before heading up on stage.

The taste is slightly more subtle - quite nutty and more earthy - than a normal English breakfast, which may take some time to get used to. But give it a chance, and you may find yourself hooked.


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