Rooibos (pronounced roy-boss) was first drunk hundreds of years ago by South Africa’s indigenous people, the Khoisan. They would bruise the stems and leaves of the plant with hammers, and leave them to ferment in the sun. When the leaves were ready, they added hot water, so creating a healthy and flavourful drink.

In 1772, botanist Carl Humberg discovered their habit and wrote about it. Soon, European colonists at the Cape were drinking Rooibos. The healing properties of the plant were largely unknown at that stage, so it simply became popular because of its special taste.

In 1904, Benjamin Ginsberg, who came from a family of tea traders who had operated in Europe for centuries, became interested in Rooibos tea and started selling and exporting it. Since then, the drink has gained popularity all over the world.

In April 1986, almost 200 years after Humberg reported on the drink, a South African mother named A. Theron was worrying about her allergic infant who had been struggling with colic attacks for 14 months. In her stressed state, she accidentally added Rooibos to her baby's milk. Soon the constant crying and vomiting had stopped, and the baby slept peacefully.

This was an exciting discovery, and after failing to find any documented evidence of the tea’s healing properties, Mrs. Theron took it upon herself to perform her own research. Soon after, eighteen babies with similar problems were given the Rooibos tea treatment, and the mothers quickly sent in news that the babies were doing better.

Mrs. Theron’s findings were then published, and to date, drinking Rooibos has helped thousands of people with allergies of all ages to alleviate or overcome their symptoms.

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