Herbal teas are fast becoming popular in alternative medicine. One such highly beneficial herbal tea is the honeybush tea from South Africa. Distinguished by its large size and yellow and reddish-brown flowers, this sweet-smelling plant makes a honey-flavored tea that is fruity, sweet, and delicate.
Honeybush tea is low in tannins and caffeine content which means this tea will not affect the nervous system like the regular tea or coffee would. What it does contain instead is a lot of flavonoids, antioxidants, and phenolics, that are believed to cure a host of diseases ranging from common cold and allergy to tumor and cancer.1 2 3 Isn’t that good news?
Here are some more benefits of honeybush tea:
1. Prevents Cold And Cough
The antiviral and antibacterial properties of honeybush tea improve the immune system and help the body prevent as well as fight many diseases. The phenolic compounds modulate the immune system and protect it from oxidative stress. Honeybush tea is believed to be especially effective in alleviating bronchial symptoms.4 It has been used extensively to treat cough. Research shows that the effect comes from pinitol, a modified sugar found in honeybush, which works as an expectorant.5 Honeybush infusions have been identified as a tonic for influenza, catarrh, and pulmonic tuberculosis as well.6
2. Can Improve Diabetes Symptoms
Pinitol is also being studied for its blood sugar-lowering property. Laboratory studies on animals showed that pinitol exerted insulin-like effects and was effective in improving glycemic control in mice.7 Pinitol is being seriously considered as a drug for diabetes.
3. Alleviates Menopausal Symptoms
Research has shown that honeybush also contains antioxidants like isoflavones and coumestans that are also phytoestrogens which are used in the treatment of menopausal symptoms.8
4. Can Prevent Cancer
With the rise in herbal tea consumption and its beneficial effects on various diseases, interest has also risen in understanding their role as cancer-preventing agents. Studies have found that honeybush tea is an effective tumoricidal (a substance capable of destroying tumor cells). A study on male rats revealed that tumor multiplicity was significantly inhibited by unfermented honeybush tea.9 An investigation on South African herbal teas’ effectiveness in preventing mutation provided the first evidence of the antimutagenic activity of honeybush tea.10
5. Prevents Skin Damage Caused By UV Rays
Honeybush extracts have also been found to provide protection against skin damage, especially those caused by ultraviolet B rays which causes sunburn. Studies have shown that honeybush extracts protect the skin through modulation of induced oxidative damage, inflammation, and cell proliferation. The use of fermented honeybush extracts was found to significantly reduce sunburn symptoms like erythema, hardening, and peeling of the skin, edema, etc.11
How To Have Honeybush Tea
Like other teas, honeybush tea can be consumed with milk and sugar. But to experience the real flavor of the honeybush, no milk should be added. Adding a little honey to bring out the honey-like taste of the herb is recommended. One added advantage of honeybush tea is that the infusion can also be used to make iced tea. It can also be mixed with fruit juices.12 One way of preparing honeybush tea is to steep one teabag in hot water for about 10 to 15 minutes. Some may prefer to steep it longer; the longer the tea is allowed to steep or brew, the richer it grows in flavor. Once you get the desired flavor, you can add honey or sugar to it.
So sit back and enjoy your tea.
|↑1, ↑3, ↑4||Kamara, B. Irene, E. Vincent Brandt, Daneel Ferreira, and Elizabeth Joubert. “Polyphenols from honeybush tea (Cyclopia intermedia).” Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 51, no. 13 (2003): 3874-3879.|
|↑2, ↑6||Kamara, B. Irene, D. Jacobus Brand, E. Vincent Brandt, and Elizabeth Joubert. “Phenolic metabolites from honeybush tea (Cyclopia subternata).” Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 52, no. 17 (2004): 5391-5395.|
|↑5, ↑8, ↑12||Dharmananda, Subhuti. “HONEYBUSH: THE PLANT AND ITS HISTORY OF USE.”|
|↑7||Bates, Sarah H., Robert B. Jones, and Clifford J. Bailey. “Insulin‐like effect of pinitol.” British journal of pharmacology 130, no. 8 (2000): 1944-1948.|
|↑9||Sissing, Linda, Jeanine Marnewick, Maryna De Kock, Sonja Swanevelder, Elizabeth Joubert, and Wentzel Gelderblom. “Modulating effects of rooibos and honeybush herbal teas on the development of esophageal papillomas in rats.” Nutrition and cancer 63, no. 4 (2011): 600-610.|
|↑10||Marnewick, Jeanine L., Wentzel CA Gelderblom, and Elizabeth Joubert. “An investigation on the antimutagenic properties of South African herbal teas.” Mutation Research/Genetic Toxicology and Environmental Mutagenesis 471, no. 1 (2000): 157-166.|
|↑11||Petrova, Antoinette, Lester M. Davids, Fanie Rautenbach, and Jeanine L. Marnewick. “Photoprotection by honeybush extracts, hesperidin and mangiferin against UVB-induced skin damage in SKH-1 mice.” Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology 103, no. 2 (2011): 126-139.|