Honeybush (scientific name Cyclopia spp.; Family: Fabaceae), or ‘Heuningbos’ in Afrikaans, tastes and looks very similar to the other great South African herbal infusion, Rooibos. Other names for honeybush included Heuningtee, Bergtee, Boertee, Bossiestee, Bushtea.
Honeybush tastes very similar to Rooibos, but some find it a little sweeter and somewhat resembles the taste of honey, hence its name.
Honeybush has been cultivated in South Africa for centuries in the Cape region, and many drink this caffeine free herbal infusion as a tea replacement.
The manufacture of honeybush tea consists of four processing steps: harvesting, cutting, “fermentation” (oxidation) by using a curing heap or using a baking oven, and drying.
To make a cup of honeybush tea is strict forward. Simply place a teaspoon of honeybush in a teapot and pour in hot water to brew for about 3 minutes. To appreciate its delicate honey-like flavour, honeybush is often drunk without any addition, although some may prefer it with milk and sugar.
Also, it has a low content of tannins, so it doesn’t make a highly astringent tea, which can be a problem with some grades of black or green tea or when ordinary tea is steeped too long.
Honeybush is said to have many health benefits, including calming, relieving upset stomach, skin irritations and nausea. It has similar nutrients to Rooibos and contains zinc, copper, calcium, just to name a few.