Rooibos (Aspalathus linearis) is a powerhouse herbal tea that is a wonderful addition to any tea cabinet, but especially so for those of us looking for an extra edge for overall health. Not only does rooibos taste wonderful, this member of the humble legume family is also rich in antioxidants and minerals, and doesn’t contain caffeine. Although I'll be the first to tell you that caffeine isn’t necessarily bad, I can also speak from experience when I say it's best used with mindfulness! And I find that It's nice to have a variety of wonderful herbal teas at hand that don’t lend themselves to the disrupted sleep schedules, after crash, and withdrawal headaches I deal with if I give in to regular caffeine use. Which is one reason that I love rooibos.
Here's more info on rooibos, and a recipe for my current favorite tea: Holy Wow! Green Rooibos and Holy Basil Tea.
Like the Camelia tea that gives us everything from Earl Grey to Oolong, rooibos can come in a green variety as well as the fermented “red” rooibos. While I do love red rooibos (and don’t even get me started about rooibos chai- that stuff is amazing!), green rooibos is believed to be even higher in minerals and antioxidants, so I make a point of keeping it in my tea cabinet, too.
Red rooibos is a little fruity and a little sweet even without adding any sweeteners. Green rooibos tastes more “herbal” and “green” (surprise) but it’s still a very nice cup of hot tea, especially with a little honey, and I really enjoy using it as an ingredient in tea blends.
Here’s my current favorite, which incorporates a wonderful nervine and adaptogen, holy basil, (Ocimum sanctum) for even more great health benefits.
By the way, holy basil gets the "holy" and "sanctum" portions of its name because it is considered a holy plant in India, where it is considered sacred to Vishnu. In ayurveda, the traditional herbalism of India, holy basil is classified as a rasayana- a type of nourishing tonic that is believed to help people reach perfect health and enjoy a long life.
Modern studies seem to back up many of the traditional uses for this herb, and have shown that holy basil may have anti-stress benefits, immune enhancing properties, and an positive influence on blood sugar levels and allergy symptoms. In ayurveda, this herb is also used to promote clear thinking and better memory, and I find that a cup of holy basil tea is a wonderful way to bring scattered thoughts to order and give a boost to my focus for the day.
One of the key requirements for being an adaptogen is that the herb is safe to use for long periods of time, so holy basil makes a perfect ingredient along with green rooibos in daily tea blends for regular use.
Red rose petals are the other ingredient in this recipe. Rose has a very long tradition of use in many cultures for many applications, including as a gentle vision and liver tonic and for tuberculosis. In keeping with our theme of the holy and sacred, rose petals are also sometimes used to make rosary beads. I added them mainly for their action as a nervine to complement the holy basil, and also because I love the flavor. They add depth and an exotic floral note to the finished tea.
Holy Wow! Green Rooibos Blend
Blend dry ingredients together and store in a glass canning jar with a tight-fitting lid. Use one or two teaspoons of the dry mix per cup of water. Makes 3-6 servings. To make a larger quantity of dried mix, tablespoons may be used instead of teaspoons.
To Make Tea
To make a cup of tea, bring water to boil in a tea kettle. Pour one cup of hot water into your teacup or mug of choice. Place 1-2 teaspoons of Holy Wow Green Rooibos blend into a tea strainer and place the strainer into the cup. Cover the cup with a saucer and let steep for 5-10 minutes. Remove the saucer and strainer, sweeten if desired, and enjoy!
Very nice hot in the winter, or over ice in the summer. Makes one serving.
For more information on holy basil and other adaptogens, I highly recommend Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief by David Winston and Steven Maimes. If you need ingredients to make your own batch of Holy Wow! tea, my favorite source is Mountain Rose Herbs.
All the Best,