Welcome to the first of a three-part series on tea. The teas I’ll discuss are not your Meemaw’s chamomile. These are super teas. What’s a super tea you ask? Think tea on steroids. More than just giving you a nice warm feeling on a cold day, these teas are wellness in a cup. I’m talking nutrient dense, anti-oxidant packed, cholesterol busting cups of health Kefir Grains.
Strictly speaking, some of the teas mentioned here don’t qualify as tea since the narrow definition is a beverage made from the Camellia plant; however, broadly speaking, tea is any drink made from steeping berries, leaves, flowers, seeds, bark, or roots in boiling water.
In each case, there’s nothing new under the sun. The super teas have existed for centuries but are just recently starting to become popular in Western culture. Luckily for us, today’s technology allows for a scientific breakdown of what exactly makes them so great for our health.
Super Teas Part 1: Rooibos
Our first superstar hails from South Africa. Rooibus (pronounced ROY-boss) is a shrub-like plant that only grows in the Cedarberg mountain area of South Africa. Naturally green, the plant turns red while fermenting. Centuries ago the nomadic people of the area harvested the leaves in the wild, but today they are cultivated to maintain quality control.
Rooibos makes a strikingly red tea. Its taste has been described as naturally sweet and nutty. I would call it earthy in taste. A cup of Rooibos contains Iron, Potassium, Calcium, Zinc, Magnesium, Alpha-hydroxy Acid, Fluoride, Manganese, and Sodium. When mixed with fruit teas, you’ll also get some Vitamin C. It’s caffeine free, has no calories, and is low in tannins. No you’re not reading the back of a vitamin bottle, all that in a cup of tea.
Rooibos comes in two varieties – red (fermented) and green (unfermented). Some studies suggest green Rooibos has a higher concentration of many of the nutrients found in red variety–more flavonoids, anti-oxidants, and minerals. You can also find it Rooibos mixed in various blends with other teas like Earl Grey, green, berry, etc. Another benefit is that it contains no oxalic acid so people prone to kidney stones can safely drink it.