Honeybush is the popular, better-known name of Cyclopia, a genus of flowering plants growing only in small regions on the southern tip of Africa. The lovely yellow flower produced by honeybush fills the home with the scent of honey while the teapot is placed in first gear, slowly simmering on the stove. Of the two dozen species of honeybush tea found in the wild, only four or five have ascended to the status of commercial and household popularity.
WHAT DOES IT DO?
Honeybush is gaining fans in tea drinking circles owing to its lack of caffeine and the low level of tannins present. While other tea products containing caffeine are enjoyed during the daytime hours to avoid sleepless nights, honeybush is a relaxing beverage sipped with confidence any time after the sun sets. With a minimum of tannins in honeybush tea, one does not get the bitterness found in other high tannin drinks. Pinitol is found in honeybush, and this modified sugar has expectorant properties, making it a favorite for treating coughs. Capable of lowering blood sugar levels, pinitol is also friendly to diabetics. The flavones and isoflavones offered by the honeybush can help lower blood lipid levels. Rich in phytoestrogens, honeybush may also help reduce the incidence of hormone-related diseases like prostate, breast and uterine cancers.
ABOUT THE HERB
During 1652 Dutch tea and spice traders laid the groundwork for the settlement of Cape Town, South Africa, to serve as a post between their Southeast Asian sources and their European consumers. Botanists descended upon the recently established area and found numerous medicinal plants much valued by the indigenous peoples. These plant scientists found that rooibos (roy-boss, meaning “red bush”) and honeybush—two relatives from the legume family—were potent medicinal herbs prized for centuries.
Prepare to get a good dose of useful minerals when you sip your refreshing cup of honeybush tea, as this beverage contains phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, zinc, manganese and iron. A multiple vitamin tablet in a teacup! Simmer 2 or 3 tablespoons of honeybush tea for twenty minutes to bring out the nutritional value and flavor.