Everything you ever wanted to know about Honeybush Tea
Honeybush Tea has become a popular herbal drink thanks to its refreshingly sweet flavor and many potential health benefits. It’s proving a steady favorite with the loyal members of the Rooibos Rocks tribe so we thought it a good idea to give you the full Honeybush story. If you’ve not tried a cuppa yet we recommend you do – order some now and get a 15% discount applied during checkout.
What is Honeybush Tea?
Honeybush Tea comes from the shrub of the same name, so called because its vibrant yellow flowers give off a sweet smell of honey. The botanically correct name for the plant is Cyclopia Intermedia (bit of a mouthful – Honeybush sounds better!). This bush comes from the same basic family as Original Rooibos and the leaves are collected and processed in the same way.
Once brewed Honeybush Tea is the same warm reddish brown color as Original Rooibos. It does, however, taste slightly sweeter than its cousin. Other than that Honeybush Tea has many of the same properties as Original Rooibos, including the fact it is caffeine-free and sugar free.
Where does Honeybush grow?
Honeybush, like Original Rooibos, is a rare plant that only thrives in a very specific region of South Africa. Original Rooibos is farmed in the Cederberg Mountain region but Honeybush grows wild in the coastal districts of the Western and Eastern Cape Provinces, from Darling to Port Elizabeth. It is also formally cultivated on a few farms in the mountains north of the Cape of Good Hope.
Who discovered Honeybush?
The indigenous San and Khoi people prized Honeybush and Original Rooibos for its medicinal properties long before the region was settled by Europeans. The first use of Honeybush Tea was documented in 1705 and in 1772 a Swedish botanist recorded that he found “honigtee” during one of his field trips in the Cape region. The earliest record of Cape colonists using it as a medicinal plant dates back to 1830.
What’s the best way to brew Honeybush?
There are actually many ways to prepare a refreshing cuppa with Honeybush Tea and which one you choose depends on your personal preferences. The standard method is to steep a Honeybush teabag in boiling water for 4-5 minutes. You can leave it in the water for longer to create a stronger and more flavorful beverage – this won’t produce a bitter aftertaste because it’s much lower in tannins that regular black tea. It’s also great for re-steeping - you can drink a cuppa and then add more water to the teabag, two or even three times – it’s a cuppa that keeps on giving!
Honeybush Tea is naturally sweet so you don’t need to add sugar – but those with a sweet tooth like it with sugar or maybe honey. Adding milk is a matter of personal preference.
You can brew it with hot water but then serve chilled, with ice. Or cold brew it (just steep in cold water for about 12 hours), or steep in cold water in a pitcher that you leave in the sun for a few hours then chill and add ice. Honeybush Latte is lekker (that’s South African for “wonderful”!) – just brew a couple of teabags in boiling water to create a concentrated cuppa then add hot milk. This is a great bedtime treat as it is caffeine-free but you can also add sugar, honey or maple syrup, as well as cinnamon or vanilla essence.
Can I use Honeybush in recipes?
Absolutely! It adds a subtle flavor twist to a wide variety of recipes. Check out the recipes on our blog and just substitute Honeybush for Original Rooibos. It’s also great in smoothies – here are some recipes (again, just use Honeybush instead of Original Rooibos). Alcohol and Honeybush make great partners and this Rooibos Rocktail recipe, using Honeybush in place of Original Rooibos, will certainly get you into the spirit of summer!
Does Honeybush have any health benefits?
Lots and lots! It’s certified organic by various international organizations and is grown without the use of any artificial fertilizers or pesticides. It’s also a totally natural product that contains no colorants, additives or preservatives.
The fact that it’s caffeine-free, sugar free and contains no calories is very beneficial – drink as much as you like and it won’t rev up your system, give you the caffeine jitters, raise your blood pressure, interfere with your sleep patterns or make you put on weight.
Other ways in which Honeybush Tea may improve your wellbeing*
Antioxidants are beneficial plant compounds that help prevent or reduce cellular damage and Honeybush Tea is packed with a group of them called polyphenols. These include mangiferin and hesperidin which are associated with potent anti-inflammatory and cancer-fighting effects. The polyphenols in Honeybush Tea may also help prevent, manage, and treat type 2 diabetes.
Some research also suggests angiferin and hesperidin may benefit bone metabolism and help stave off arthritis and osteoporosis. Other studies show that drinking Honeybush Tea and applying a Honeybush Tea extract may improve skin health and possess anti-aging properties.
As well as being sugar free and containing no calories the antioxidants in Honeybush Tea may inhibit fat accumulation in young fat cells and lower the fat content in mature fat cells by stimulating fat breakdown. The tea may even relieve some menopausal problems by providing compounds that mimic the effect of the female hormone estrogen. Another positive is the suggestion that mangiferin may support your immune system by enhancing macrophage activity, helping white blood cells sweep up and digests foreign bodies. On top of all this Honeybush Tea has traditionally been used as a tonic for colds, influenza and chest infections – it can work as an effective expectorant that helps to loosen mucus.
Time for a tea break
After reading all that you probably need a cuppa – and there’s none better than Honeybush! If you don’t have some to hand you’d better order a box immediately and claim your 15% discount during checkout via this link.
*Would you like to read more about the possible health benefits discussed in this post? This article in Healthline gives you more details and provides links to the original scientific research papers which explore the properties of Honeybush Tea.