Red Bush tea anyone? “Aspalathus linearis” is her official title!

This is the red bush when in flower.

This is the red bush in flower.

This is a favorite herbal tea at our place and contains no  caffeine. 

This plant is native to the Cape Town region of South Africa. It also grows well in Australia and in the herbal dispensary we use certified organic Australian plants.  Traditionally a beverage it has been used in herbal folk medicine forever. In the west it became popular in the 1960’s and that’s where it got its ” Hippy ” tea popularity tag.

Have you ever wondered what its medicinal properties may be?

 We love Red bush at home, I remember in my 20’s  at my friends place in Coromandel  drinking red bush tea while we looked out the window at the wind swept waves and grey ocean as we sat by her coal range. We chatted all day sipping red bush and soy milk. Then  Lee re- introduced us to it in Chai a few years ago. Now I often make it through the day as a refreshing beverage. I drink it like tea with milk, soy milk and honey or in the chai blend. In summer I make a iced red bush chai with mint. yummy.

 I did some research, this herb is really safe. I didn’t find any information that showed contraindications for any medications, pregnancy or small childrens use.

Traditional and cultural evidence shows that herbalists have used it to  help relieve colic in babies and elderly people, and is a great digestive balancing herb aiding  digestive distress  and dyspepsia. It is also known to calm down allergic responses and asthma, food allergies, relieve warts, help clear eczema, reduce anxiety,  relieve insomnia and help with all manner of minor injuries.

Red bush is mildly astringent and is also known to help cleanse and balance the blood. Its also a common household herb in many homes so is used to aid recovery from illnesses.  I did find a few really interesting bits of info and  I’ve given you some references below of clinical trials showing that the herb has potential oxidative stress, cancer, HIV and antiviral protective properties. (1-5)

I couldn’t do the active constituents justice without linking you to this web page It is very complex and really gives the details in a way that I don’t feel like replicating in this post. (6)  and heres another review that was done on some research that may interest you on the antispasmodic Effects of Rooibos/red bush aqueous preperations which is basically a water extraction as you would make it a tea at home. (7)  I like this article because it shows that the herb works and why. Its also in a format that you can use at home.

Ok, so now we know, Red Bush is one herb that you can add to your kitchen with assurance that this truely is food as medicine. We have this available in raw organic tea grade at the medicineroom. I can sell it to you in 50 gram glass jars for $8 each. Let me know. or phone us 07 54457381.

email is

with love Dom xoxox

Dom’s favorite  recipe for Red bush tea.

Take 15 grams of dried red bush and add to 300ml of boiling water in a tea pot. Allow to infuse for ten minutes then add 100 ml of hot soy or cows milk and 1/4 chili sliced, 1 inch of ginger chopped up and 2 tablespoons of raw runny honey.  stir, pour and yummm.  If you want to make chai then you will need lots of chai herbs and make the batch in a saucepan on the stove. Look out for our new book coming later this year for the best chai recipes.


(1) Ulicna O, Greksak M, Vancova O et al. Hepatoprotective effect of rooibos tea (Aspalathus linearis) on CCl4-induced liver damage in rats. Physiol Res . 2003;52:461-6

(2) Nakano M, Nakashima H, Itoh Y. Anti-human immunodeficiency virus activity of oligosaccharides from rooibos tea (Aspalathus linearis) extracts in vitro.Leukemia. 1997;11 Suppl 3:128-30.

(3) Nakano M, Itoh Y, Mizuno T et al. Polysaccharide from Aspalathus linearis with strong anti-HIV activity. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem . 1997;61:267-71.

(4) Komatsu K, Kator K, Mitsuda Y et al. Inhibitory effects of Rooibos tea, Aspalathus linealis, on X-ray-induced C3H10T1/2 cell transformation. Cancer Lett.1994;77:33-8.

(5) Kucharska J, Ulicna O, Gvozdjakova A et al. Regeneration of coenzyme Q9 redox state and inhibition of oxidative stress by Rooibos tea (Aspalathus linearis) administration in carbon tetrachloride liver damage. Physiol Res . 2004;53:515-21.

(6) sigma lifes tream web site active constituents of Rooboos accessed 20th May 2012.

(7) rooibos web site article Antispasmodic Effects of Rooibos Tea  accessed 20th May 2012.

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