Aspalathus linearis, called “Rooibos”, belongs to the Fabaceae botanical family.
It is a shrub that can grow to 2 m. Native to South Africa, it grows in sandy hills and on mountain slopes.
The red tea made with its leaves, traditionally used by the Bushmen and Hottentots of South Africa, is now popular in western countries and known as “rooibos”. It was used as a traditional drug to treat infantile colic, allergies, asthma and dermatological problems. Considered beneficial to the digestive system, it has been used in the treatment of vomiting, diarrhea and other gastric complaints.
Among its main constituents are flavones, flavanones and flavonols, phenolic acids, two unique phenolic compounds, aspalathin and aspalalinin; lignans, flavone diglycosides, coumarins, esculetin and esculin. It is caffeine-free and contains less tannins than black tea (Camellia sinensis).