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Aspalathus linearis - (Burm.f.)R.Dahlgren.                
                 
Common Name Rooibos
Family Fabaceae or Leguminosae
Synonyms
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Sandy hills and on the sides of mountains[245]. Well-drained, sandy but moisture-retaining, non-acidic soils[268].
Range S. Africa - south and south-west Cape.
Edibility Rating  
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Half Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun

Summary       

Physical Characteristics       
 icon of manicon of shrub
Aspalathus linearis is a SHRUB growing to 2 m (6ft 7in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 9. It is in flower from Jul to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)It can fix Nitrogen.


USDA hardiness zone : 8-11


Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid and neutral soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

Aspalathus linearis Rooibos


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Amrum
Aspalathus linearis Rooibos
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Amrum
   
Habitats       
 South Wall. By. West Wall. By.
Edible Uses                                         
Edible Parts:
Edible Uses: Condiment;  Tea.

A tea made from the dried fermented leaves tastes similar to oriental tea made from Camellia sinensis[238]. It is less astringent, however, due to the lower tannin content[238]. It is caffeine-free, but has a higher content of fluoride which might help to protect against tooth decay[238]. Recent research has shown that this tea contains a substance similar to superoxide dismutase, an antioxidant compound that is thought to retard the ageing process[238]. The leaves and stems are harvested in the summer, fermented and sun dried for later use[238]. The leaves are sometimes used as a flavouring in foods and in baking[268].
Medicinal Uses


Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Antipsoriatic;  Antispasmodic;  Tonic.

Rooibos was traditionally used by the Bushmen and Hottentots of South Africa and is becoming increasingly popular in the West as a pleasant tasting tea that also has health benefits[268]. A tea made from the leaves and stems of rooibos is generally beneficial to the digestive system and relaxes spasms[238], it has been used in the treatment of vomiting, diarrhoea and other mild gastric complaints[268]. It has also been shown to be of benefit when used internally and externally in the treatment of a wide range of allergies especially milk allergy[268], eczema, hay fever and asthma in infants[238].
Other Uses
None known
Cultivation details                                         
Requires a very well-drained acid sandy soil and a warm sunny position[200]. When grown in pots it needs to be kept dry but not arid in the winter[200]. This species tolerates several degrees of frost in its native habitat[200], though this cannot be applied directly to plants grown in Britain because of our cooler summers and colder, wetter winters. Plants are said to be frost-tolerant in one report[238], but in general plants are usually pot-grown in greenhouses in this country and can be brought into the garden for the summer[200]. Cultivated commercially for its leaves, which are used to make a tea. Rooibos is one of the few wild species to have been developed as a commercial crop in the last 100 years[238]. It is grown for use as a tea, though it is also used medicinally[238]. Commercial plantations last for about 7 years before they need to be replaced. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[200].
                                                                                 
Propagation                                         
Seed - sow late spring in a greenhouse covering the seed with about 10mm of soil[238, 268]. It will probably be beneficial to pre-soak the seed for 12 hours in warm water prior to sowing. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots of well-drained sandy soil as soon as they are large enough to handle. Grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter and plant them out in late spring or early summer after the last expected frosts. It will probably be wise to give the plants protection from the cold and from excessive rain for at least their first winter outdoors. Cuttings of half-ripe wood in a closed frame in early summer[200].
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Expert comment                                         
 
      
Author                                         
(Burm.f.)R.Dahlgren.
                                                                                 
Botanical References                                         
200
                                                                                 
Links / References                                         

[200]Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
[238]Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
[245]Genders. R. Scented Flora of the World.
An excellent, comprehensive book on scented plants giving a few other plant uses and brief cultivation details. There are no illustrations.
[268]Stuart. M. (Editor) The Encyclopedia of Herbs and Herbalism
Excellent herbal with good concise information on over 400 herbs.

Readers comment                                         
 
Elizabeth H.
arno bredenkamp Thu Sep 5 17:29:21 2002
Link: Premium Rooibos imported to Canada List of research references on Rooibos
Elizabeth H.
Kelly O'Neil Tue Feb 8 19:57:10 2005

Link: lifespantea.com medical research on this plant commonly called rooibos

Elizabeth H.
Dries Human Tue Jan 24 2006
I would like to know more on the making of aspalathus's cuttings. Where to cut and how to get optimal growth on these cuttings. I'm a new worker at the ARC in Bethlehem (Free State, SA) Doing research on the plant Please reply to: Dries Human humand@arc.agric.za
Elizabeth H.
Richard Jones Wed Feb 22 2006
I am intrigued by the above information as Agribusiness in Sustainable Natural African Plant Roducts state that it will grow nowhere in the worls except the Cedarberg Mountain area of the South-western Cape. Fom where can I obtain the seeds please?.
Elizabeth H.
Anthony Armitage Sat Oct 7 2006
I have managed to get seeds from an Australian company - ironically. They are: www.herbalistics.com.au

Herbalistics

Elizabeth H.
William A. Weber Sat Mar 3 2007
This is the "bush tea" mentioned by Alexander McCall Snmith in his fictional series of books beginning with The No. 1 Ladies' Detwective Agency.
Elizabeth H.
dylan Fri May 11 2007
B+T world seeds also supply these seeds

Elizabeth H.
Jill Yost Sat Jan 20 2007
Is Aspalathus linearis gluten-free?
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