Honeybush tea (Cyclopia spp.) has been drunk in South Africa for many years, as early as the 1700’s, as recorded by the early settlers. Country people and farmers mainly produced it on a small scale. They liked the sweet taste and aroma of the tea. Many people also believed that the tea had health-promoting properties. Only recently has an effort been made to research and commercialize honeybush tea. Coarse Honeybush tea packed into packets found its way into roadside farm stalls about 40 years ago. Since then the industry has grown slowly. Almost all of the Honeybush tea harvested up to last year was taken from plants growing wild on the mountain slopes. In the last 3 years effort has been made to cultivate plants from seed and this is now starting to take hold in the form of Honeybush plantations.
Unfortunately, compared to its “older commercial brother” the Rooibos, very little scientific work is available on Honeybush tea. Like Rooibos, it contains minerals in trace amounts and as such complements daily mineral intake. Honeybush tea is caffeine-free. The tannin level is also very low at 0.45 % whereas Ceylon tea contains 15 to 30 % tannin. Preliminary research indicates that it has similar health properties to Rooibos tea. It is high in antioxidants and could thus retard ageing and combat disease. It is also traditionally used in the treatment of digestive problems, for sleeplessness and is regarded as beneficial for breast-feeding women as it stimulates milk production.
Both teas are recommended for pregnant women, babies and children. Unlike black tea, honey bush is non-acidic and caffeine-free. Honeybush tea has a natural perfume like honey aroma and a delicate, slightly spicy herbal flavor.
Health Benefits of Honey Bush Tea:
ISOFLAVONES AND COUMESTANS
Honey bush tea shows estrogenic activity and are advantageous for:
Regulation of the menstrual cycle
Prevention of breast, prostrate and uterus cancer
Reducing risk of osteoporosis
These also show:
These are shown to have:
* 4-Coumaric acid
Weak anti-oxidant activity
Plays a role in cellular communication
Acts as an expectorant
Is hypoglycemic (decreases blood sugar levels)
These exhibit the following:
Vitamin type activity of Citrin
(a mixture eriodictyol and hesperidins)
Act as non-nutritional sweeteners