25 April 2012

Flavour of the Week - Honeybush

Officially know as Cyclopia, but better know by its common name Honeybush, is a flowering plant who's leaves are used to make tea. The plant is not as common as many think and can only be found in specific parts of southwest and southeast South Africa where it is to Rooibos.

Traditionally the leaves are harvested, cut and bruised then left to dry naturally in the sun. More recently the process has become industrialised where the leaves are left in heated tanks for 2 - 3 days whilst they are oxidised, then air dried. Of the 23 species of Honeybush only 4 or 5 are widely used as household teas.

Oddly, certain varieties can be cultivated successfully however some have resisted and still must be harvested in the wild. The reason for this is not fully understood but some people think it is due to the involvement of birds or ants in geminating the seed.

The tea is reported to help reduce hunger pangs, and be host to a range of minerals and nutrients including calcium, nitrogen, zinc, sodium, magnesium, iron, and boron.

Flavour - Similar to honey, deep, fruity, fragrant, sweet

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