when i think of home, i think of scrunching sand beneath my toes, smelling the fynbos (fine bush), looking up at the mountain as i scoot from one part of cape town to the next and curling up with a cup of rooibos (red bush) tea and honey.
rooibos tea is as intrinsically South African as proteas and vuvuzelas. i remember my flatmate at university telling me how when her older sister was a tiny baby, she wasn't thriving and the doctors didn't have any ideas so her mum started putting rooibos tea in her milk and sure enough, she started blossoming.
giving babies plain rooibos tea in their bottles is a very common thing to do in SA. it provides a change from water, it's not juice and it's packed with minerals (that supplement the daily intake of fluoride and calcium) and anti-allergic, anti-spasmodic and anti inflammatory goodness. which means that it's good for colic, stomach cramps and digestion. it doesn't even stop there...when applied topically, it's had great results with relieving skin irritations like eczema and even the common nappy rash...all from one small tea-bag packed with some dried bush.
the colic benefits were discovered by Annique Theron in 1968. she was living in Pretoria, the capital city of South Africa, and was caring for her youngest child who was suffering from terrible colic and couldn't keep any food down. as the story goes, after many sleepless nights, one morning her child was crying non-stop from hunger and in desperation, Dr Theron warmed up her milk with some of the rooibos tea that she had been drinking. for the first time, the baby slept for 3 hours and not only slept but also stopped vomiting. the connection to rooibos was not instant but once Dr Theron remembered and tried it again, she found the same results. she went on to dedicate her life to discovering the therapeutic benefits of rooibos tea. she has written books on the subject and helped millions of babies who were suffering the same stomach issues. this year, Dr Annique Theron turned eighty. there is a great article on her story here.
anyway this week, i started Limi on rooibos tea....you steep one tea-bag in her usual bottle...that's it. don't add anything to it. besides the benefits, i love the fact that it looks like juice so she won't feel left out if others are having cordial, it's not sweet, so hopefully she won't crave sweet drinks (for awhile), it can be served warm (great for winter) and best of all....she seems to enjoy it! and of course for me, it brings a little slice of home to London....