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Honeybush

Wikipedia: Cyclopia_(genus) | Teaviews: honeybush-tea 
Last Updated: Nov. 18, 2014 

About Honeybush

Loose-leaf honeybush, looking like fine chips and chunks of wood and bark with reddish-orange colorLoose-leaf honeybush, Photo © André Helbig, CC BY-SA 3.0.
Honeybush, sometimes called honeybush tea is a type of herbal tea produced in South 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.
Spindly-looking plant covered in large yellow flowers with reddish-brown centers, a few green bean-like pods aboutA blooming Cyclopia plant, the plant used to make honeybush. Photo © BotBin, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0.

Sustainability and Threats of Extinction

Honeybush 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.[1]

Medicinal Uses and Health Benefits

Research on honeybush is in its early stages, with no human studies and only a small amount of animal studies.[2] Early animal research suggests honeybush possesses potent antioxidant, immune-modulating and cancer-preventing activity.[2] The use of honeybush as an herbal tea has also been considered safe, with no adverse effects reported.[2]

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.[3] There is evidence that these properties are attributable to chemicals found only in the genistoides species and not other species of honeybush.[3]

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.[4]

References:

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.

Recent Honeybush Reviews — RSS rss icon

84 / 100
Picture of Honeybush (Bushmen's Brew)

Pulling this bag out at random from the continuing multi-chapter saga that is the Numi variety pack, I recognized the name right away from having consumed Trader Joe's rooibos+honeybush tea. The teas I've tried from the variety pack so far have been either disappointingly lame or very good. This falls into the latter...

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60 / 100
Picture of Honeybush (Bushmen's Brew)

This actually reminded me a lot of black tea, which was surprising. I actually tasted a little bitterness, though I'm not sure where that came from as there is no caffeine in this tea.

If a caffeine free latte sounds good to you, this tea is pretty solid. It wasn't quite what I was expecting, but it wasn't bad.

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77 / 100
Picture of Honeybush Herbal

Honeybush Herbal from Simple Loose Leaf

Style: Honeybush – Region: South Africa
Aug. 7th, 2014

The aroma of the dry leaves is woody, sweet, and a little bit sour. It reminds me a bit of sour cherries and melons with a touch of dried bamboo wood and hay

The taste is woody and caramel sweet at first, this fades to a nice dried fruit sourness, again the idea of sour cherries pops to my mind. Honeybush is very mu...

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47 / 100
Picture of Honeybush (Bushmen's Brew)

If it weren't for the honey I used to sweeten this tea, it would taste like hot leaves. Literally all you are buying is mildly-honey-flavored leaves.

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93 / 100
Picture of Honeybush (Bushmen's Brew)

I tried this one evening since it is a caffeine-free Numi option. It is not a true tea, but a tisane of a shrub variety related to rooibos. Now I really love rooibos, but this, to me, was even better, and I am definitely going to buy more, I liked it that much!

Here is a robust, comforting, and revitalizing liquor ...

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Most-Rated Honeybush

Picture of Honeybush (Bushmen's Brew)

Honeybush (Bushmen's Brew)

Brand:Numi Organic Tea
Style:Honeybush
Region:South Africa
Caffeine:Caffeine Free
Leaf:Teabag
22
5 Ratings
Picture of South African Honeybush, Grade A

South African Honeybush, Grade A

Brand:Upton Tea Imports
Style:Honeybush
Region:South Africa
Caffeine:Caffeine Free
Leaf:Loose
2 Ratings
Picture of Honeybush Green

Honeybush Green

Brand:Upton Tea Imports
Style:Honeybush
Region:South Africa
Caffeine:Caffeine Free
Leaf:Loose
1 Rating
Picture of Organic Honeybush Herbal Tea

Organic Honeybush Herbal Tea

Brand:Stash Tea
Style:Honeybush
Region:South Africa
Caffeine:Caffeine Free
Leaf:Teabag
1 Rating
Picture of Honeybush

Honeybush

Brand:Adagio Teas
Style:Honeybush
Region:South Africa
Caffeine:Caffeine Free
Leaf:Loose
1 Rating

Top-Rated Honeybush

Picture of Honeybush (Bushmen's Brew)

Honeybush (Bushmen's Brew)

Brand:Numi Organic Tea
Style:Honeybush
Region:South Africa
Caffeine:Caffeine Free
Leaf:Teabag
22
5 Ratings

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