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Red Bush Tea - caffeine free and low in tannins

Red Bush Tea is made from a century's old and much respected South African herb. It does not undergo any chemical process to remove the caffeine & is also low in tannins, which means better absorption of nutrients, especially iron.

Red Bush Tea

Red Bush Tea is made from a century's old and much respected South African herb, Aspalathus linearis. It grows only in the stunning Cederberg Mountains in the Western Cape and is best known for its fine needle-like leaves, from which the tea is made.

Redbush started its life as a wild plant and it is quite amazing that it was ever discovered and made into the exquisite tea that we know today. It is one of the few plants that has made the transition from the wild to a commercially cultivated crop; you can still see wild Redbush tea bushes growing at the side of the road.

Little is known about the early history of Redbush Tea, only that it has been used for many centuries by the indigenous Khoisan tribes, primarily it is believed, as a herbal medicine. They used a process thought to have been copied from Malay slaves, but they were the first to harvest the wild plants, chopping them with axes, bruising them with hammers and leaving them to ferment in heaps before drying them in the sun.

The tea is produced in the same way today, although much of the process is now mechanised. The tea is still dried under the African sun in vast yards, before being sucked into special vacuums for further purification. The tea is then sorted and graded according to length, colour and flavour. This guarantees you uniform standards of high quality and the superior taste of Redbush Tea.

Redbush began its more modern day history in 1968, when Annatjie Theron accidentally used some left over Redbush tea to mix her baby's bottle. It appeared to cure the 14-month old girl of her chronic restlessness, vomiting and stomach cramps. When no one would listen to her, Annatjie advertised through a local paper and found enough mothers with similar problems, that they provided the first testing ground for her claims. Soon a national South African newspaper published the results on the front page. Many years later Redbush tea has been subjected to scientific research, academically supporting her findings.

Naturally caffeine free and low in tannins

Redbush is naturally infused with health giving properties - it contains NO additives, colourings, artificial preservatives or calories. Redbush is also naturally caffeine free, i.e. it does not undergo any chemical process to remove the caffeine and it is also extremely low in tannin, on average less than half that of regular black teas (Camellia sinensis).

Tannin is a substance, which can affect your ability to absorb and store essential iron, which may be of particular importance to growing children or if you are suffering with anaemia, are pregnant or on a calorie controlled diet. It also means that it lacks that bitter aftertaste present in many black teas, so you do not need to add a sweetener.

Caffeine can be harmful to your health, as it affects the central nervous system and can lead to irritability, headaches, disturbed sleep patterns and increased blood pressure. In some instances caffeine can also cause gastric disturbances such as nausea and vomiting. Unlike many other herbal teas, Redbush is not a blend of herbs and dried fruits; it does not need any such additions to achieve its rich mahogany colour and enticing nutty aroma.

Apartheid, and the many trade restrictions this brought, kept Redbush tea from much of the outside world, but it is now rapidly growing in popularity. In South Africa, Redbush or literally in Afrikaans - rooibos tea, is something of a national drink. You will find it in every restaurant and coffee shop. On average, South Africans drink about 5 cups a day and it has about a 40% share of their hot drinks market. It is enjoyed everywhere by adults and children alike, not only as a refreshing beverage, but also as a tasty addition to many dishes.

In an age of increasingly health conscious consumers, Redbush is nature's perfect fit for today's lifestyle. A hot soothing cup of Redbush is completely pure and natural. 'Take it as Red' or mix it with your favourite wines, juices or cordials, add it to your favourite recipe - any way you like - enjoy it!

At Ideal Health we stock Redbush tea in a number of different ways - either in the Vital range - in tea bags or loose leaf, as well as the Vita Fit Organic and Nonorganic Loose Leaf - in 200g bags.

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The Naturopathic Team
Ideal Health

Disclaimer: The health information presented here has been written for the New Zealand health consumer. It is of a general nature and is only intended to provide a summary of the subjects covered and is intended to be used for educational and general information purposes only. It is not intended as medical advice or as a means to diagnose, treat, cure or prescribe for any particular condition or disease. You assume all responsibility for the treatment which may be undertaken as a result of the information on this site, or treatment recommended by any other party. While all care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, no responsibility or liability is accepted, and no person should act in reliance on any statement contained in the information provided. All health ailments should be treated by a qualified health professional.


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