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