As well as water and milk, Rooibos tea has become a staple drink for my fourteen-month-old daughter. She has it with breakfast, lunch and dinner and thinks it’s DElicious. Rooibos, more commonly known as ‘Redbush’ in the UK – a direct translation from the Afrikaans “Rooibos” (pronounced Roy-Boss) – is a flowering shrub that grows in the Cedarberg mountain region in South Africa’s Western Cape, about 250 km north of Cape Town, and is thus popular in the region of southern Africa.
Point of information: If you want your saffa friends to think you’re the coolest, just say that you’re in to drinking Rooibos at the moment – it’s a sure friend winner.
Rooibos tea is a great alternative to sugary drinks; it is caffeine-free and is high in antioxidants, so a great immune booster. Traditional medicinal uses of Rooibos in South Africa include alleviating infantile colic, allergies, asthma and dermatological problems, and the tea is thought to assist with nervous tension, allergies and digestive problems. Rooibos tea is rich in minerals including iron, calcium, potassium, copper, fluoride, manganese, zinc, magnesium and alpha hydroxyl but what else makes it great for children (and adults)? OrganicFacts.net provides a breakdown; check it out:
• Polyphenols: Rooibos contains polyphenols that has anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and anti-mutagenic qualities.
• No Caffeine: Rooibos tea is totally caffeine-free, therefore it is recommended by doctors for insomniacs. A cup of rooibos beverage just before going to bed can help you sleep better.
• Good for Bones: Red tea is rich in calcium, manganese and fluoride minerals that assist in good bone structure and stronger teeth.
• Infant Relief: It can be useful for little infants who suffer from colic or stomach pains. You may add some sweetened milk to the tea for added taste.
• Good for Skin: The alpha hydroxyl acid and zinc contents in red tea are best for skin. You can also try applying some red tea powder directly to the skin to relieve acne, pimples, sunburns or related skin conditions.
• Kidney Stones: Even people with stone problem can drink as much red rooibos tea as they want as there is no oxalic acid in the beverage.
• Hypertension: Rooibos tea is said to bring relief to stress, nervous tensions and hypertension conditions.
• Anti-spasmodic Agents: The tea is rich in anti-spasmodic agents, which eases severe stomach cramps and abdominal pains.
• Allergies: In many parts of South Africa, red tea is used as an effective curative to treat allergies like eczema, hay fever and allergic bronchitis.
• Slows Aging: The anti-oxidants present in rooibos tea slows down human aging process and also boost the immunity levels of human body.
• Great Beverage: Red rooibos tea is an excellent thirst quencher and does wonders for active people including sportsmen, hyper active children and constant travellers. Most people love to drink rooibos tea in its natural form without any sweeteners.
• Rare Nutrients: Rooibos tea is said to contain rare nutrient contents such as Quercetin and Bioflavonoid that assists in good blood circulation and obstructs haemorrhaging.
If Rooibos sounds like something you’d like your child to try, it’s probably best to dilute it with quite a lot of water until your child gets used to the taste, and then you can make it progressively stronger. The tea can be drunk warm or cold – my daughter usually has it cold and gulps it down in no time!
For more info on Rooibos and its properties visit the official site of South African Rooibos at www.sarooibos.org.sa.