The healing properties of Rooibos was discovered by the Bushmen (Koi-San) who inhabited the Cederberg region before the white and black men came to Southern Africa. They were excellent hunters and very knowledgeable about the uses of different plants and found that the fine, needle-like leaves of the "Aspalathus Linearis" herb made a tasty, aromatic tea. It was they who first harvested the wild-growing plants, chopped them with axes and then bruised them with hammers, leaving them to ferment in heaps, before drying them in the sun. Today Rooibos is still processed in much the same way, but of course the methods are certainly more mechanized and refined!
Initially Rooibos tea was used by the settlers as a cheap substitute for black tea, especially since black tea was very expensive in those days and Rooibos tasted much the same. In 1904, Benjamin Ginsberg, a Russian immigrant and trader, became interested in Rooibos and realized its potential. He started trading with the mountain people and selling it to Europeans. Ginsberg who was descended from a family who had been in the tea industry in Europe for centuries had good contacts and became the first exporter of Rooibos.
Since that time, the industry has made steady progress, refining its production methods and increasing distribution so that the unique goodness of Rooibos tea may today be enjoyed by people the world over. The tea is very well know in Germany and western Europe but is also becoming very popular in Japan and Malaysia where the anti-mutagenic, anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties of this tea are currently being researched. Rooibos is totally pure and natural. It contains no colorants or preservatives.
The aging of our bodies is caused by toxic compounds called free radicals which are produced as a by-product of normal cell function. These free radicals attack our healthy cells. Over our lifetime this damage contributes to aging and our immune system weakens. Recently, Japanese scientists have found that Rooibos tea contains a mimic of the enzyme Super Oxide Dismutase (S.O.D.), an antioxidant which attacks the free radicals and limits their damaging effects.
Rooibos has been found to help with insomnia, disturbed sleeping patterns and headaches. It contains no caffeine and has a relaxing effect. Have a cup of Rooibos before you get ready for bed to ensure a good night's sleep! BUT - don't get too enthusiastic: If your body is not used to this anti-oxidant rich tea, the initial diuretic effect caused by the detoxification of your body, might lead to a few trips to the washroom which is not exactly what you need to fight insomnia, eh?