HoneybushWikipedia: Cyclopia_(genus) | Teaviews: honeybush-tea
Updated: Nov. 18, 2014
About HoneybushSouth Africa. Honeybush tea is made out of a number of different species in the Cyclopia genus, which are all legumes, all endemic to a small region in the south of South Africa.
Some types of honeybush are gathered in the wild, whereas others are cultivated. Species used in herbal tea include C. intermedia, C. genistoides, C. maculata, C. sessiflora, and C. subternata.
Honeybush is similar to (and often confused with) rooibos, another herbal tea from an overlapping region of South Africa, also made from a legume. Like rooibos, honeybush is traditionally produced through an oxidation process much like black tea, but green honeybush, pictured on the left, has recently started being produced, using processes similar to those used to produce green tea and green rooibos.
Oxidized honeybush is traditionally processed through bruising of the leaves followed by sun-drying, but some industrial processes now use heated tanks and air-drying.
Sustainability and Threats of ExtinctionHoneybush harvesting has increased greatly in recent years, from 27 metric tons in 1997 to 180 metric tons in 2013. The South African Broadcasting Corp issued a warning that one species, Cyclopia intermedia, is under threat of extinction.
One major threat is unsustainable wild harvesting, but the plants are also threatened by invasive species, including Australia Wattles (Acacia sp.), and Monterey pine (Pinus radiata), which is ironically threatened in its native habitat.
Medicinal Uses and Health BenefitsResearch on honeybush is in its early stages, with no human studies and only a small amount of animal studies. Early animal research suggests honeybush possesses potent antioxidant, immune-modulating and cancer-preventing activity. The use of honeybush as an herbal tea has also been considered safe, with no adverse effects reported.
One species of honeybush, Cyclopia genistoides, has been shown to have phytoestrogenic properties, meaning that it contains chemicals that have estrogen-like effects on the body. There is evidence that these properties are attributable to chemicals found only in the genistoides species and not other species of honeybush.
Phytoestrogens, including the ones present in honeybush and a variety of other plants, have been suggested as a way to protect post-menopausal women from a broad range of problems, including breast cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis, menopausal symptoms, and brain deterioration.
1. Tea and Consequences: Unsustainable Cultivation Puts Honeybush Tea at Risk, Scientific American, March 14, 2014.
2. Diane L. McKay and Jeffrey B. Blumberg, A review of the bioactivity of south African herbal teas: rooibos (Aspalathus linearis) and honeybush (Cyclopia intermedia), Phytotherapy Research, Volume 21, Issue 1, pages 1–16, January 2007.
3. J.D. Nicolette et. al., Evaluation of the Phytoestrogenic Activity of Cyclopia genistoides (Honeybush) Methanol Extracts and Relevant Polyphenols, Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, Vol. 55, No. 11, pp 4371–4381, 2007.
4. Ayman Ewies, Phytoestrogens in the Management of the Menopause:: Up-To-Date, Obstetrical & Gynecological Survey Vol. 57, No. 5 - pp 306-313, May 2002.
The notion of the "best" Honeybush is subjective, because different people have different tastes. We present the most often-rated and highest-rated teas in this category, and allow you to draw your own conclusions.
Most Often-Rated Teas
|Brand:||Numi Organic Tea|
|Brand:||Upton Tea Imports|
|Brand:||Upton Tea Imports|