Edwards Africa Exports - tea

By: Edwards Africa  11-11-2011
Keywords: Tea, Antioxidants

We are able to supply tea bags (satchets) of both Rooibos and Black tea. We also supply branded tea or bulk tea packed in 18kg bags.
We have a wide range of export quality tea and would be happy to supply technical specifications on whatever tea you require.


Rooibos is not a true tea, but a herb. The brew made from the dried Rooibos leaves is therefore a herbal infusion (known as a tisane) rather than a tea, but is widely known as Rooibos tea.

Rooibos has a distinctive colour, flavour and aroma, which differentiates it from most other teas. The flavour can be described as slightly sweet and fruity.

The vibrant amber colour of Rooibos comes from the natural colour that develops during the post-harvest “fermentation” (oxidation) process, brought about by natural enzymes in the plant.

Rooibos is a pure and natural product as it contains no colourants, additives or preservatives.
Rooibos has no kilojoules.
Rooibos is available as plain or flavoured tea, as loose leaves or in tea bags. It is often blended with other herbal teas.
Rooibos is graded according to colour, flavour and cut length.
Rooibos ages well and can be stored for long periods without any deterioration in quality, flavour and taste.
In many countries Rooibos is enjoyed as a hot or cold beverage without milk, with or without sweeteners. Many South Africans enjoy Rooibos as a hot beverage with milk, sweetened with sugar or honey.


· Green Rooibos is made from the same plant as traditional Rooibos. The only difference is in the processing. For traditional Rooibos, the green leaves and stems of the plant are crushed and “fermented” before drying. The fermentation step is actually an oxidation process brought about by enzymes and chemicals naturally present in the plant. In the case of green Rooibos, the fermentation process is skipped, and the “green” leaves and stems are dried directly. Different processes are used to prevent oxidation.
· Green (unfermented) Rooibos infusion has a lighter tan/yellow colour and a very mild “green” taste reminiscent of green tea.
· Green Rooibos has higher levels of antioxidants than traditional fermented Rooibos and demonstrates even higher antioxidant and – in some cases – antimutagenic (cancer-fighting) activities.
· Most green Rooibos is exported. It is used as a tea and in extract form in beauty and nutraceutical products. (A nutraceutical is any food substance that provides medical or health benefits, including the prevention and treatment of disease).


· Rooibos is a good source of antioxidants and is the only known source of a potent antioxidant aspalathin, which could play a role in combating several lifestyle diseases.
· Unlike black and green teas, Rooibos is naturally caffeine free (not decaffeinated) and therefore suitable for children, infants and breast-feeding mothers.
· Rooibos has proven cancer-fighting properties in animal research studies.
· Rooibos contains low amounts of tannin. (Tannins are astringent, bitter-tasting plant polyphenols that bind and precipitate proteins and interfere with iron absorption in the body.
· After centuries of use, no negative side effects of Rooibos have ever been recorded.


People have been talking and writing about the health benefits of Rooibos since the late 1960’s. This widespread anecdotal evidence and the presence of a blend of antioxidants in the product, whet the research appetites of several scientists in South Africa and around the world. They are testing and analyzing Rooibos intensively to evaluate the potential health properties and to study the complex mix of active ingredients in Rooibos. The active ingredients in Rooibos are polyphenolic compounds. Polyphenols are characteristic chemical structures produced by plants.

A convincing body of evidence confirming the potential health properties of Rooibos has been built up, mostly based on in vitro work (in test tubes) and in vivo work (with live animals). Many articles on the properties and health benefits of Rooibos have been published in the South African and international scientific literature, including several research articles in high-impact, peer reviewed scientific journals.

The next step is to confirm that the same health benefits can be proven in the human body. A research team at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, led by Dr Jeanine Marnewick, is now taking on the challenge of the first ever clinical Rooibos studies in adults who are at risk for developing heart disease. The study started in June 2007 and the first results are expected early in 2008. Their research is co-funded the the South African Rooibos Council.


A 2007 review of research into Rooibos and honeybush, published by McKay and Blumberg, is an excellent summary of recent scientific findings.
Reference: McKay DL, Blumberg JB. A Review of the bioactivity of South African herbal teas: Rooibos (Aspalathus linearis) and Honeybush (Cyclopia intermedia). Phytother. Res. 21, 1-16 (2007)

During 2006 local research leaders in the field (Joubert & Schulz) published an overview of the production and quality aspects of Rooibos and related products.
Reference: Joubert E, Schulz H. Production and quality aspects of Rooibos tea and related products. A review. Journal of Applied Botany and Food Quality 80, 138-144 (2006)

In 2003 the American Botanical Society published a comprehensive review of research on the composition and health benefits of Rooibos.
Reference: Erickson L Rooibos tea: Research into antioxidant and antimutagenic properties.
HerbalGram 59:33-45 (2003)

The first human clinical intervention trial with adults at risk of developing heart disease started in June 2007 at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), South Africa. The study was led by Dr Jeanine Marnewick, with collaborators at CPUT, University of Cape Town, University of Stellenbosch, North-West University and the Medical Research Council. The project is co-funded by the SA Rooibos Council as well as THRIP (Technology and Human Resources for Industry Programme) of South Africa’s National Research Foundation.

Marnewick’s study focused on the potential of Rooibos to protect against oxidative stress and inflammation associated with the development of heart disease. Oxidative stress is defined as an imbalance between oxidants and antioxidants, in favour of oxidants. An excess of these oxidants can damage important cellular components such as lipids, proteins and DNA, resulting in the development of several important degenerative diseases.

Men and women, aged 30 to 60, were included in the study. Each participant had one or more risk factor for heart disease. Examples of the risk factors are raised serum cholesterol levels, pre-hypertension, overweight/obesity, inactive lifestyle or a family history of coronary heart disease. The food and drink intake, as well as blood test results, of the participants were closely monitored over a period of 14 weeks. During a key part of the study the participants consumed six cups of Rooibos per day, followed by a period where they drank mainly water and no beverages with significant flavonoid content in order to compare the two different intervention periods.
The results of the trial were announced at a Rooibos science cafe in Cape Town during November 2008. Dr Marnewick found conclusive evidence that Rooibos significantly reduced several of the pertinent risk factors for cardiac disease. The results will be submitted for publication in the scientific literature during 2009.


As research into the enriching properties of Rooibos continues, so more and more Healthcare Professionals are becoming 'converts'. More than just an alternative to tea, Rooibos is documented as:

Boosting the Body's Immune System to help fight against Cancer and Osteoporosis.
Replacing essential minerals that the fast-moving pace of modern life depletes.
Promoting a healthy, glowing skin due to its concentration of Zinc and AHA.
Decreasing Cholesterol levels in the blood, thus strengthening veins and lymph vessels.
Having a soothing effect on the Central Nervous System.
Aiding digestion and overall enhancing of the Body's metabolism


Tea is the cheapest beverage on the market with an average retail price in the South African market of 10 cents per cup, excluding milk, water and sugar.

A cup of tea is rich in antioxidants, is a natural source of theanine and helps keep you hydrated - all this in one cup!

Like water, tea is hydrating

We all try to drink lots of fluid everyday, sometimes forcing water down our throat, but did you know that tea counts towards keeping you hydrated? Drinking tea contributes towards the 8 glasses of fluid we need a day. Tea is NOT dehydrating! We commonly forget that tea is 99.5% water. Many of us believe that as tea contains caffeine it is a diuretic. What we don't realise is that unlike coffee, the level of caffeine in a cup of tea is so low that you can have 6 cups per day without any diuretic effect. In fact this would only be classified by nutritionists as moderate caffeine intake.

Tea is rich in antioxidants

Tea, like fruit and veg, is rich in antioxidants, which are powerful substances that can help your body look after itself. Antioxidants help mop up the bad molecules which enter our body through pollution, tobacco, smoke or sunlight and can damage our cells over time.

Tea is a natural source of theanine

Since ancient times it has been said that drinking tea brings relaxation. Scientists are now studying the effects of theanine and it is believed that although theanine creates a feeling of relaxation, it doesn't shut down the brain. So it allows you to be relaxed yet alert at the same time.

Tea has no fat or calories

Tea without milk and sugar has no fat or calories - a cup of tea with semi skimmed milk contains only 13 calories and 0.5g fat but you also benefit from valuable minerals and calcium contained in milk.

Keywords: Antioxidants, Tea

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