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TEA HAIR-RINSE

Ok, so I have super frizzy hair. There is no denying it and the drought is not helping the problem. The problem is that it is also really thin, so if I try to put oily things on it, it just falls flat. I am also not super keen on giving out loads of money on hair products only to be stuck with a shower full of hair products I never use (my shower is already small enough). But in my search to try new things I came across something called a tea hair rinse. The idea is that it is meant to somehow calm the frizz and make your hair all shiny and soft. Legend has it that if you use black tea with lots of tannins you can even cover greys by simply rinsing your hair. However, using a herbal tea like honeybush has the great additional benefit of leaving a wonderfully sweet scent behind.

According to various accounts, the main instructions are to make about two cups of very strong tea (about 5 tsp in 500 mL boiling water) and let it steep for a good while until its cooled down to room temperature. To summon the magic, pour the tea over your damp hair after washing it with shampoo. Allow it to soak for about 15 – 30 min and rinse thoroughly. You can then apply your conditioner as usual and continue your beauty regime.

At first, pouring tea out over my hair seemed like a terrible waste of a good strong cup of tea; it also seemed pretty messy. On the latter count I was indeed correct. Do not try soaking your hair full of tea if you’re planning on leaving the shower. You WILL stain your towel. And your floors. Rather put on some music and shave your legs while you wait. I repeat: DO NOT LEAVE THE SHOWER. But adding this practice as part of your relaxing bath is great (only if you’re not in the Cape)! It might turn the bathwater an unusual colour, but if you embrace it you’ll have no problem. It turns out soaking or rinsing your hair in tea is an amazing idea! My hair has never felt so soft and silky! It still had body and minimum frizz! I now add this to my routine once a week and haven’t looked back.

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MULLED HONEYBUSH CIDER

The winter chill is still hitting hard this November and all I want is to be cuddled up and sipping something spicy and hot. Lucky for me, I have this fantastic mulled honeybush cider recipe to ward off the cold.

To generously serve four very cold individuals you will need:

  • 4 tbsp Mightea fine loose leaf honeybush tea (or 1 tsp instant honeybush powder)
  • 2 cups water for brewing
  • 1 tbsp Fynbos honey
  • Cinnamon sticks, aniseed and cloves (about three of each)
  • A slice of lemon
  • About four servings of cider (not from the fridge) or a good couple of shots whiskey

All you need to do is boil up your tea nice and strong with the spices in the pot. I use a good old camping stove top kettle, but a saucepan will do just fine. When it has been simmering for about 10 min and smells amazing you can strain your tea to remove any tea leaves and spices.

Pour the tea back into the rinsed kettle/pot and add the honey (depending on how sweet you like it). Simmer the tea with the lid off to reduce to about ½ of its volume (or just add a little extra instant honeybush powder if you’re feeling impatient).

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, add your cider (depending on how strong you like it) and allow it to heat up just enough before serving. The mixture will make a lovely foam at the top so be prepared!

If you’re really cold and could do with something stronger you can add a shot or two of whiskey instead of cider. It should warm you up pretty fast. Alternatively, you can store the tea reduction in the fridge for a couple of days without a problem. Simply add enough to your cider and heat it quickly on the stove to serve.

Pour into large mugs and garnish with a little slice of lemon. Now curl up by your imaginary fire to enjoy your super cool drink on a cold cold night.

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SOAK YOURSELF CALM

Sometimes a cup of tea is just not enough. After a long day’s work (assuming there are no water restrictions in your area) there is nothing like a good soak in the bath. #treatyoself.

Honeybush tea is not only excellent for your health, its also great for your skin. So here I give you the ultimate DIY for the most calming bath soak around, complete with relaxing aromas, detoxifying bath salts and healing honeybush.

You will need:

  • 1/3 cup of your favourite Mightea Fine honeybush
  • 2 tbsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tbsp Epsom salts
  • 1 tsp sweet almond oil
  • 4 drops lavender essential oil
  • 2 drops rosewood essential oil
  • 3 pieces coarse woven muslin cloth (20 cm x 20 cm)
  • cotton string

So this is all really easy. Simply combine everything together in a bowl. If you have any specific essential oil combinations your prefer just go for it! If you don’t happen to have any essential oils laying about, that’s also fine – just add some more tea.

The next step is to package your mix into individual bath tea bags. The bags prevent the tea leaves from getting stuck in your drain or scratching your skin in the bath.

Once everything looks mixed, scoop about ¼ cup of your bath soak into the middle of a piece of muslin cloth.

Carefully lift at the corners to form a little teabag holding your soak mix. Tie with a string and store your bags in a nice sealable container. Its nice to keep your string a bit longer so that you can tie it around the bath tap while you’re taking a dip – just so you won’t find yourself sitting on it by accident. Now step back and marvel at your creation.

Once used, these little bath bags can be emptied into your garden or pot plants (tea leaves are always a good thing). The muslin cloth and string can be re-used and you’ll have an endless supply of DIY bath soak bags to soak yourself calm.

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THE HONEYBUSH LEGACY

We live in a country with one of the most diverse landscapes imaginable. From desert to tropical forests and our very own fynbos biome, our South African land is not only beautiful, but functional. I often marvel at the stories I hear about the people who lived here long ago. Traditional herbal remedies were passed down from the native Khoi-san to later inhabitants and have been around for centuries.

 I still remember waking up in my grandparents’ house to my grandfather boiling a stove kettle of honeybush tea each morning. It smelled like holiday and Christmas and family. My grandparents swore by the stuff. In earlier centuries honeybush tea was used to treat mild conditions like heart burn and nausea. Modern research has found evidence to suggest additional health benefits of honeybush. These include anti-oxidant, anti-diabetic and anti-obesity activities as well as protection against UVB skin damage. Recently, hormone-regulating phyto-oestrogenic activity has also been observed. This being said, honeybush shouldn’t be considered some kind of miracle medicine or drug. Despite their honeybush tea drinking habits, my grandparents still didn’t make it to the age of 100 (although my grandfather came pretty close).
Snuggled up on my couch and drinking my cup of honeybush tea I still detect a hint of holiday or of Christmas, but always of family. I look back not only on my lifetime or that of my family, but on the rich history of our entire country and how it has sustained its people for centuries.

 In loving memory of Oupa Frans and Ouma Neeske xxx