What are the health benefits of honeybush tea?
Before we cover the benefits of honeybush tea, let’s try and understand exactly what honeybush is.
Cyclopia spp, commonly known as honeybush, is an attractive evergreen shrub that belongs to the family Melianthaceae.
This bold-looking and fast-growing shrub is native to the Southwestern Cape of South Africa.
It is pretty easy to grow and has been used as a garden plant throughout the world due to its attractive silvery-blue foliage.
The medicinal plant possesses medical properties and was widely used by indigenous populations in folk medicine.
Early research shows that the antioxidants (mangiferin and hesperidin) in honeybush confer numerous health benefits.
These include anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, cancer-fighting, and antioxidant properties.
What Is HoneyBush Tea?
There are about 23 species of honeybush in South Africa, but only seven are used in tea production.
Honeybush tea is primarily made from leaves of the species Cyclopia intermedia.
This healthy herbal tea is also known as honeybush tea, heuningbos, or mountain tea.
Honeybush tea is quite similar to rooibos tea (red bush tea), and they are both considered types of red tea.
The taste of honeybush tea is slightly sweeter than green rooibos tea.
It features a honey-like flavor and aroma.
Unlike your ordinary black tea or green tea, honeybush tea is caffeine-free and highly nutritious with low levels of tannins.
This means that honeybush tea cannot affect your nervous system like regular teas or coffee.
Honeybush also possesses beneficial minerals like calcium, zinc, iron, and high levels of antioxidants.
This herbal infusion is made by steeping fermented, or unfermented honeybush leaves in hot water.
Thanks to its low tannin levels, honeybush won’t taste bitter even when steeped for too long.
In other words, strong tea lovers can still enjoy the sweet flavor of a strong cup of honeybush tea.
Indigenous cultures of South Africa would harvest honeybush, cut and bruise its leaves and then leave them in the open sun to dry and oxidize.
Today, tea drinkers can easily enjoy the health benefits of honeybush tea by buying honeybush tea bags from most tea stores.
You can also get it in loose-leaf from some groceries and health food stores.
Nutritional Facts About Honeybush Tea
Honeybush tea has an excellent antioxidant profile with many essential nutrients that account for the great honeybush tea benefits.
Regular consumption of the tea offers you multiple short-term and long-term health benefits.
From preventing cancer to boosting your overall immune system, honeybush has got you covered.
A cup of tea will give you a healthy dose of vitamins and adequate minerals like iron, manganese, potassium, magnesium, copper, sodium, and zinc.
On top of that, honeybush extract has a high level of antioxidants, including pinitol, coumestans, isoflavones, flavonoids, luteolin, phenolics, polyphenols, and many others!
Organic honeybush tea is also an excellent source of phenolic compounds like isosakuranetin, xanthone c-glycoside, and mangiferin.
The incredible health benefits of honeybush tea are mainly due to its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiviral, and antifungal properties.
Let’s take a look at the top 10 benefits of honeybush tea.
Top 10 Health Benefits Of Honeybush Tea
This herbal tea is loaded with several important health benefits and has been used to treat many ailments since the 19th century.
The good news is that you can incorporate it into your daily routine by drinking a cup of warm tea at night or pouring the tea into an ice-filled glass to make a delicious iced tea.
Below are 10 health benefits of honeybush tea that tea lovers can enjoy.
1. Prevents Colds and Coughs
The antibacterial and antiviral activities of honeybush tea can protect your immune system against oxidative stress, which plays an important role in many chronic diseases.
Consequently, the tea may protect against pulmonary tuberculosis, asthma, bronchitis, common cold, and coughing.
Honeybush leaves contain pinitol, an anti-diabetic agent that acts as an expectorant to relieve coughing and boost your overall immune health.
2. Helps Prevent and Treat Diabetes
One of the most well-known health benefits of honeybush tea is its potency to prevent, manage, and even treat type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes affects millions of people worldwide and is often characterized by high blood sugar levels.
This could be due to impaired pancreatic function that results in reduced insulin production/secretion.
Regular consumption of the tea prevents damage to the pancreas that can occur due to oxidative stress.
Further research also notes that the high levels of two antioxidants mangiferin and hesperidin in honeybush may stop the progression of complications that result from diabetes.
Including kidney damage and nerve damage.
3. Helps Balance Blood Sugar Levels
Pinitol, a sweet crystalline compound in cyclopia plants, plays a significant role in balancing blood sugar levels.
Preliminary studies show that consuming pinitol supplements after a meal with high glucose levels like white rice can help reduce blood glucose levels.
It’s worth noting that some conflicting evidence suggests that pinitol supplements cannot influence your insulin or blood sugar levels, especially in patients with diabetes.
4. Soothes your gut
Honeybush tea bags contain phenolic compounds, which are essential in suppressing the body’s inflammatory response.
Recent studies have revealed their potent anti-inflammatory capacity to help prevent inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s disease.
The tea contains flavonoids that can relieve indigestion, cramping, and diarrhea.
5. Enhances Bone Health
A cup of honeybush tea may provide incredible benefits for bone metabolism by influencing bone cells known as osteoclasts and osteoblasts.
Osteoclasts are known for breaking down bone tissues to release minerals into our bloodstream.
Comparably, osteoblasts secrete the osteoid responsible for the formation of bone tissues.
If bone loss exceeds bone formation, a person is highly likely to develop bone diseases like arthritis.
Luckily, test-tube studies found that the two antioxidants in the leaves of honeybush plant, mangiferin and hesperidin, may provide benefits for bone metabolism.
Mangiferin works by inhibiting the formation of osteoclasts, consequently reducing bone tissue breakdown.
In addition, hesperidin can protect osteoblasts from oxidative damage.
This protective effect can promote bone recovery.
6. Supports A Healthy Immune System
As with many things in our body, it’s essential to support a strong immune system, given that our bodies are typically exposed to toxins and many environmental hazards.
Luckily, honeybush tea gives you a good amount of vitamin C and high concentrations of antioxidants that support a healthy immune system.
7. Treats Women's Health Issues
A cup of tea may be incredibly beneficial for multiple women’s health problems.
The healthy drink is especially helpful during menopause and can help alleviate menopausal symptoms.
Drinking honeybush tea can reduce uncomfortable mood swings, hot flashes, depression, and osteoporosis.
The tea contains isoflavones and coumestans compounds which contain estrogen-agonist and estrogen-antagonist properties.
These can help regulate and balance women’s menstrual cycles while soothing painful symptoms.
8. May Help Prevent and Treat Cancer
The cancer-fighting effects of honeybush tea make it beneficial in treating and preventing cancer.
Numerous studies suggest that the antioxidant content in honeybush may help destroy cancer cells and protect the body against most cancer-promoting toxins.
This sweet tea may also hinder the development of certain types of cancer.
Research reveals that mangiferin is the antioxidant with the most powerful anticancer potential as it can stop the initiation, development, and spread of cancer cells.
9. Promotes Weight Loss
This means that regular tea consumption can prevent the body from storing fats and promote the breakdown of existing body fat content.
10. Boosts Heart Health
The antioxidants in honeybush tea can support and improve cardiovascular health while also helping with high cholesterol and blood pressure issues.
While there is no reason you shouldn’t try honeybush tea for heart health, please note that more research is still needed in this area.
Potential Side Effects Of Honeybush Tea
Honeybush tea is an extremely safe drink with no reported side effects- even when consumed daily and at any time of the day.
It has no known drug interactions, and research has pointed to its incredible therapeutic and medicinal benefits.
Honeybush tea is also considered safe for pregnant women.
But research into its negative side effects for pregnant and breastfeeding women is lacking, and you’re advised to consult your healthcare provider first.
Health benefits of honeybush tea - The bottom line
As with most herbal teas, honeybush tea has some awesome benefits.
What makes honeybush tea unique is its anti-diabetic properties.
If you’re looking for a lesser known but equally as impactful herbal tea then why not give honeybush a try.
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