Thursday, April 22, 2010

Red Bush Branches Out

The "small" courtyard at the Sonnenberg, the Viennese Summer

A few weeks ago, the Suffuse Tea Company was looking for bloggers willing to review their rooibos teas. I stepped right up. They kindly sent me a large package of both green and red rooibos, suffused with several other herbal additives. The packaging was very attractive and each teabag was wrapped and labeled in the appropriate color, red or green.

Today I am trying the red rooibos suffused with Buchu. Buchu Agathosma Betulina, to give it the full Latin name, is another herb native to South Africa that is used by the folks there medicinally as an antiseptic, antispasmodic, anti inflammatory, among other good things. Rooibos, as some of us know, is an antioxidant. So this stuff may be good for you! There are many hundreds, if not thousands, of plants that have been used for centuries that are as good or better than modern chemical medicinals. In fact, there is a lot of good research going on around the globe concerning the use of “native” medicines.

I brewed it up for about 5 min with boiling water and it is a pretty bright red. It smells quite pungent, with an odor that did not appeal to me. It might to you, so that can be discounted. It's the taste of the brew that really matters, aside from the health giving properties. The taste is pleasant enough. It is slightly medicinal, but not bad at all. Perhaps the slightest hint of iodine or some sharp odored plant. It is teasing away at the back of my mind and driving me nuts because I can't identify it. Aha, it's sassafras! If that doesn't mean anything to you, how about the white paste in a jar we had in kindergarten? Root beer? I tried it with milk and that was no plus. It seemed to wipe all the flavor out of it. You're on your own with sweeteners. I think I could really get to like this and maybe even identify what that scent and flavor are. I will let it cool and see how it is then, as some teas are better cold or at least as good.

The website is You can order on line or see where to purchase their herbal teas. I will be trying the others over the next few weeks. If you are also a blogger, you could ask if they are still doing the free samples.

I just read in the “World Tea News” that a great deal of China's tea producing areas have suffered greatly from weather. Some have too much cold, too much snow or too much drought. Yields are expected to be down more than 50% in some areas. What is worse is the plight of the farmers, some of whom are barely surviving on the equivalent of one head of cabbage a week. If any of you hear of a relief organization that is helping them, let me know so I can post it here.

1 comment:

Alex Zorach said...

Rooibos is not only an antioxidant (like tea and most herbal teas) but there is some evidence it is an effective bronchodilator, which. A citation to studies for both the antioxidant and bronchodilatory effects can be found on the page I've been working on on Rooibos.


About Buchu (Agathosma betulina), there are some major sustainability issues with the harvest of this plant. It is generally harvested from the wild, and there are concerns that it is being harvested much faster than it regenerates--it's not currently classified as endangered but it could quickly become so if it continues to be harvested unsustainably. I would recommend doing research into your source before buying this plant and making sure that you only buy it from a source that is harvesting it in a sustainable way.

Unfortunately I don't have a page on Buchu yet but I'm hoping to work on this soon. =)