Herbal teas usually consist of dried flowers, fruits, or herbs. No tea leaves are included. Historically imbibed for medicinal reasons, or as a caffeine-free alternative, many herbal teas are beginning to find their own popularity outside of the tea world. The first, and arguably most famous, herbal is Chamomile which finds its roots in ancient Egypt. Used to embalm the dead and cure the sick Chamomile has endured a lasting fame. This light, sweet, and apple-like concoction is still revered for its uncanny (caffeine-free) calming effect. Other common herbals include peppermint, spearmint, and lavender.
A very popular addition to the herbal scene in Canada is Rooibos (roy-boss). Also known as “Red Bush Tea” Rooibos is only found in South Africa. It was introduced to the beverage world as a substitute for black tea during World War II when virtually all supplies of Japanese and Chinese teas became unavailable. However recent health benefits attributed to caffeine-free Rooibos have propelled it to the forefront and is challenging tea in the popularity department. Honeybush, also native to South Africa, is also becoming popular for the same reason. Winston’s has over 30 varieties of Rooibos and Honeybush.
Another popular drink is Yerba Mate. This South American herbal tea has been lauded as a cultural phenomenon that both energizes and remedies the body. Originally stranded in the obscurity of a niche cultural market it has now been introduced as a substitute for coffee, as it doesn’t contain the toxins, but is still highly stimulative.