Rooibos (English pronunciation "Roy-boss") is Afrikaans for "red bush". The plant is a broom-like member of the legume family of plants called fynbos and is only grown in the Western Cape region of South Africa around Cape Town. The plant is used to make a herbal tea called rooibos tea. In the tea making process, the leaves are oxidized. This process produces the distinctive reddish-brown colour of rooibos and enhances the flavour. In South Africa it is common to drink rooibos tea without milk, but instead with a slice of lemon and sugar or honey to sweeten. The flavour of rooibos tea is often described as being naturally sweet (without sugar added) and slightly nutty. Rooibos can be prepared in the same manner as black tea, and this is the most common method.
Rooibos is becoming more popular amongst health-conscious consumers due to its high level of antioxidants, its lack of caffeine, and its low tannin levels compared to fully oxidized black tea. Rooibos is purported to assist with nervous tension, allergies and digestive problems. Traditional medicinal uses of rooibos in South Africa are said to alleviate infantile colic, allergies, asthma and dermatological problems.