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Invigorating yet calming, heralded by nutritionists, mothers-to-be and chefs alike and wonderfully versatile too is it any wonder that Rooibos is fast getting the reputation of being the new 'wonder' tea...?! Rooibos (literally meaning Red Bush) is a South African herb, Aspalathus linearis, which is made from a shrub only to be found in the Cedarberg Mountains, just north of Cape Town, where it has been used for centuries by the Khoisan tribe before being adopted by the West particularly during World War Two. Easy to recognise, its needle like leaves are an appealing mahogany colour. Its real draw card is its inherent remedial and healing properties. It is naturally caffeine free, contains no calories and has a high mineral content. It contains no artificial colours, additives or preservatives and is believed to contain up to fifty times the anti-oxidant properties of green tea. It is used medicinally for stomach upsets, skin complaints, insomnia and allergies. It further contains half the tannin of black tea, giving it a smooth, mellow taste. Rooibos is as flexible as you like depending on your personal preferences. You can enjoy it hot or cold, sweet or sour, mixed with juices, cordials or alcohol, or just on its own. In fact, its possibilities are endless experiment by substituting it for milk or water in recipes! Rooibos is the Bush Tea drunk by Mma Ramotswe of the No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency books! To enjoy at its best use about one teaspoon of leaves per person, and allow to infuse with boiling water for between 3-5 minutes (ideally use filtered or bottled water). The leaves are suitable for multiple infusions, again depending on your taste.