Product: Rooibos Tea
Latin Name: Aspalathus linearis
Plant Family: Fabaceae
Other Names: Roy Bos, Red Bush, Rooibosh, Rooibosch, South African Red Tea, Rooibostee & Bossietee.
Description: Rooibos is a perennial, woody shrub that is a member of the Fabaceae (pea) family, native to South Africa, which reaches a height of 2 metres. The leaves are stalk less, green and needle-like and approximately 15-60 mm in length. The flowers are solitary, yellow in colour and grow in dense clusters at the tips of branches. The fruit resembles a small pea pod and contains 1-2 seeds.
Brief History: The species name ‘linearis’ is derived from the Latin word for linear, which refers to the shape of the leaves. Rooibos was discovered by the ancient Khoisan tribe of South Africa who used it medicinally. European settlers throughout the 17th – 18th century witnessed the tribes use of the plant and in 1772 Swedish naturalist Carl Thunberg noted its use and helped introduced the plant to Europe, but it wasn’t until the 1930’s that it really took off as a tea alternatively in Europe.
The leaves are not red when picked as the name suggests they are green, the ‘red’ in the name occurs upon drying.
A caffeine free tea substitute is made from the leaves; they can also be used as a flavouring for baked goods. Extracts from rooibos are used in the cosmetic industry in skin products requiring the addition of antioxidants.
Shelf life of two years provided that goods are stored in an airtight container in ambient conditions.