Quick Recipes and Easy

Blood Diamonds Aren’t the Only African Gem

Most people know of the wonderful antioxidant properties of green tea. As fantastic as green tea is, Rooibos, or African red tea, leaves its Asian cousin in the dust where nutritional value is concerned. For the record, black tea can’t match it for nutritional value either.

Rooibos is an Afrikaans word for red bush, and it is pronounced ROY-boss. Although the plant has been around for centuries, it’s relatively new to western culture. The indigenous people of the region were the first to make the plant into a tea. Centuries later, it was made well loved by a South African immigrant who found the flavor so enjoyable he chose to export it.

Rooibus is so nutrient dense you could nearly consider it a super food. The tea contains:

Copper IronPotassiumCalciumFluorideZincManganeseAlpha-hydroxy Magnesium

As if that weren’t enough, it has medicinal properties as well. Rooibus contains flavonoids which are powerful antioxidants that have more antioxidant activity than vitamin C. As a result, Rooibos slows the aging process and is credited with the following:

Acts as a digestive aid Helps manage allergiesSoothes skin irritations when applied to the affected areaReplenishes iron levelsKilojoule freeAids health problems like insomnia, irritability, headaches, nervous tension and hypertensionBoosts the immune systemHealthy skin minerals: zinc, sodium, zinc and alpha-hydroxy acidContains calcium, fluoride and manganese for strong bones and teeth The tea has a nutty and slightly sweet taste that mixes well with other flavors. It is as notable for what it doesn’t have as what it does. Unlike other teas, it contains no:

caffeineoxalic acidlittle to no tannins additivescoloringpreservativesBrewing the tea for longer than 10 minutes strengthens the antioxidant properties. Rooibos is safe and free of side effects.

© 2006, Clara Myers.

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