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HOW TO SAY ROOIBOS

You’ve read about it. You’ve prepared it and you’ve drank it. You love it. You say it, but are you pronouncing it correctly? Before I read up on it I always got funny looks when I tried to explain the new tisane I tried that made red tea …. only to find out that I had been saying it wrong the whole time :)

Rooibos is a plant grown only in South Africa, North of Cape Town. United States and China have tried to cultivate this plant, but to no avail. It is seemingly particular with the soil, climate, and local microorganisms in South Africa such that it cannot be cultivated on other parts of the world.

clear glass jar with brown liquid
nice cup of rooibos

Rooibos does not come from the tea plant, camella sinensis, (common source of white, green and black tea) hence, it is not tea. It has the scientific name of Aspalathus linearis. It is more correct to say that rooibos is a tisane (pronounced as ”teas-on”), or an herbal infusion. However, another meaning for tea is infusion of leaves in water and some people call tisanes such as ginger and chamomile as tea so this common misconception has also been applied to rooibos.

Rooibos is pronounced as ”roy-boss”. That easy. It is sometimes spelled as rooibosch, its version in Dutch, but still pronounced the same. It is sometimes referred to as Red Bush Tea, or Rooibos Tea. Apparently, Rooibos is the Afrikaans word for ”red bush”(rooi = red, bos = bush) since the color of the plant and the resulting concoction is red.

This drink is gaining its popularity in the Western countries and around the world due to its health benefits. Rooibos and caffeine are not generally in the same sentence as there is no caffeine in rooibos, and rooibos is low in tannins, which are chemicals which block the absorption of calcium. It alleviates skin allergies and stomach problems such as indigestion and constipation.

Plus, our central nervous system which gives us a good night sleep, improves our sleeping pattern and prevents insomnia. Also drinking rooibos during pregnancy has started to become popular due to the health benefits listed above, especially the lack of caffeine.

So now you know how to say it, don’t cover your mouth, pretend to cough, or pronounce it fast. Say it the right way. Kudos to Rooibos!

And if you haven’t had success, or are still unsure make sure you check out this video to find out how to say rooibos from this youtube video.