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Useful Temperate Plants

Cyclopia subternata

Vogel

Fabaceae

+ Synonyms

Cyclopia grandiflora A.DC.

Cyclopia vogelii subternata (Vogel) Harv.

Common Name: Honeybush Tea

No Image.

General Information

Cyclopia subternata is an erect, densely branched shrub.
This species is one of the major sources of honeybush tea. It is collected in large quantities from the wild and is also sometimes cultivated. The tea is commonly drunk in S. Africa and is also becoming more popular on a global basis.

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

394
Title
Flora Capensis
Publication
 
Author
Hiern. W.P.; Brown N.E.
Website
http://www.aluka.org/action/doBrowse?sa=1&st=662543&execbr=&sls=
Publisher
 
Year
1909
ISBN
 
Description
Rather dated, and many of the botanical names have been changed since it was written, but contains a wealth of information about plants of southern Africa. It can be downloaded or viewed online.

Range

Southern Africa - S. Africa (Cape Province)

Habitat

Not known

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitShrub
Height0.00 m
PollinatorsBeetles
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Wild

Cultivation Details

Cyclopia subternata is native to the Mediterranean climate of southern S. Africa, where it experiences hot, dry summers and moister, mild winters. Whilst able to tolerate occasional light frosts, it is killed by hard frosts[
295
Title
PlantZAfrica.com
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site giving detailed descriptions and uses of many S. African plants.
].
Requires a sunny position, growing best in a well-drained sandy soil[
295
Title
PlantZAfrica.com
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site giving detailed descriptions and uses of many S. African plants.
]. Grows best in an acid soil, being able to succeed in a pH as low as 3.5[
295
Title
PlantZAfrica.com
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site giving detailed descriptions and uses of many S. African plants.
].
Plants are adapted to growing in areas where fires often occur naturally. Although top-killed by the fire, they generally resprout freely from the base[
295
Title
PlantZAfrica.com
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site giving detailed descriptions and uses of many S. African plants.
]. In cultivation, the plants can be pruned severely every few years to keep it tidy[
295
Title
PlantZAfrica.com
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site giving detailed descriptions and uses of many S. African plants.
].
The flowers have the aroma of honey, which attracts beetles that are responsible for most of the pollination[
295
Title
PlantZAfrica.com
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site giving detailed descriptions and uses of many S. African plants.
].
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[
1309
Title
The Leguminosae; A Source Book of Characteristics, Uses and Nodulation
Publication
 
Author
Allen O.N.; Allen E.K.
Publisher
University of Wisconsin
Year
1981
ISBN
0-333-32221-5
Description
An amazing and comprehensive work, giving a brief guide to the many genera of the family Fabaceae and also the principle uses of the genus.
].

Edible Uses

A tea is made from the leaves and young stems[
328
Title
African Flowering Plants Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.ville-ge.ch/musinfo/bd/cjb/africa/recherche.php
Publisher
Conservatoire et Jardin Botaniques.
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Contains information on over 150,000 plant names (including synonyms) giving a description and habitat, plus a distribution map.
]. The tea has a distinct sweet taste and aroma. It is brewed in the same way as China tea (Camellia sinensis), except that simmering enhances the flavour. The tea is said to promote good health, to stimulate the appetite and also the milk flow of lactating mothers[
295
Title
PlantZAfrica.com
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site giving detailed descriptions and uses of many S. African plants.
]. A popular local drink and also traded internationally, the tea contains no caffeine and also has a much lower tannin content than the oriental teas (Camellia sinensis)[
295
Title
PlantZAfrica.com
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site giving detailed descriptions and uses of many S. African plants.
].
The leaves are often fermented to make the tea. The stems and leaves are chopped into small pieces, wet and then left in heaps where they ferment spontaneously, They may also be heated in an oven to about 60 - 70°c in order to enhance the process. After sufficient fermentation, the tea is spread out in the sun to dry and then sifted[
295
Title
PlantZAfrica.com
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site giving detailed descriptions and uses of many S. African plants.
].
To make 'green' honeybush tea, the fermentation process is skipped, resulting in a lighter-coloured tea that does not have the characteristic sweet flavour of the fermented tea. However, green honeybush tea has a higher antioxidant activity and is therefore popular with health-conscious consumers, and also has applications in cosmetics and functional foods.

Medicinal

The leaves and young shoots are anticholesterolemic, antioxidant, appetizer, expectorant, hypoglycaemic and restorative[
295
Title
PlantZAfrica.com
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site giving detailed descriptions and uses of many S. African plants.
,
1344
Title
Honeybush; Healthful beverage tea from South Africa
Publication
 
Author
Subhuti Dharmananda, Ph.D.
Website
http://www.itmonline.org/arts/honeybush.htm
Publisher
Institute for Traditional Medicine, Portland, Oregon
Year
2004
ISBN
 
Description
A good, in-depth article on the use of Cyclopia species to make honeybush tea.
]. A tea made from the leaves and young stems (and also sometimes the flowers) is used to treat coughs. The tea is also believed to be of use in the treatment of diabetes and menopausal symptoms, to reduce blood lipids and to increase the flow of milk in nursing mothers[
1344
Title
Honeybush; Healthful beverage tea from South Africa
Publication
 
Author
Subhuti Dharmananda, Ph.D.
Website
http://www.itmonline.org/arts/honeybush.htm
Publisher
Institute for Traditional Medicine, Portland, Oregon
Year
2004
ISBN
 
Description
A good, in-depth article on the use of Cyclopia species to make honeybush tea.
].

The plant contains pinitol, a modified sugar similar to inositol. Pinitol has been shown to be expectorant and also appears to lower blood-sugar levels, making it of service in the treatment of diabetes[
1344
Title
Honeybush; Healthful beverage tea from South Africa
Publication
 
Author
Subhuti Dharmananda, Ph.D.
Website
http://www.itmonline.org/arts/honeybush.htm
Publisher
Institute for Traditional Medicine, Portland, Oregon
Year
2004
ISBN
 
Description
A good, in-depth article on the use of Cyclopia species to make honeybush tea.
].
The plant also contains flavones, isoflavones, coumestans, luteolin, 4-hydroxycinnamic acid, polyphenols, and xanthones. These all have antioxidant properties and may help to lower blood lipid levels[
1344
Title
Honeybush; Healthful beverage tea from South Africa
Publication
 
Author
Subhuti Dharmananda, Ph.D.
Website
http://www.itmonline.org/arts/honeybush.htm
Publisher
Institute for Traditional Medicine, Portland, Oregon
Year
2004
ISBN
 
Description
A good, in-depth article on the use of Cyclopia species to make honeybush tea.
].
The isoflavones and coumestans are also phytoestrogens and can be of help in the treatment of menopausal symptoms[
1344
Title
Honeybush; Healthful beverage tea from South Africa
Publication
 
Author
Subhuti Dharmananda, Ph.D.
Website
http://www.itmonline.org/arts/honeybush.htm
Publisher
Institute for Traditional Medicine, Portland, Oregon
Year
2004
ISBN
 
Description
A good, in-depth article on the use of Cyclopia species to make honeybush tea.
].

Other Uses

A flower, leaf and stem extract of the plant is used in commercial cosmetic preparations as an antioxidant, humectant and skin conditioner[
1243
Title
CosIng
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ec.europa.eu/growth/tools-databases/cosing/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
CosIng is the European Commission database for information on cosmetic substances and ingredients.
].

Propagation

Seed. Like many species within the family Fabaceae, once they have been dried for storage the seeds of this species develop a hard outer skin and will benefit from scarification before sowing in order to speed up and improve germination. This can usually be done by pouring a small amount of nearly boiling water on the seeds (being careful not to cook them!) and then soaking them for 12 - 24 hours in warm water. By this time they should have imbibed moisture and swollen - if they have not, then carefully make a nick in the seedcoat (being careful not to damage the embryo) and soak for a further 12 hours before sowing[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].
Species in this genus grow in areas where fires commonly occur naturally, and the seeds are adapted to respond to the smoke of the fire, with many seeds germinating with the first rains after a fire. Burning a small amount of paper over the seed, and then sowing the ashes together with the seed, can improve germination rates (so long as the fire was not intense enough to damage the seed!).
The seed should be sown on a medium with good drainage and a low pH of 3.5 to 5. Germination usually takes place within two weeks[
295
Title
PlantZAfrica.com
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site giving detailed descriptions and uses of many S. African plants.
].

Tip cuttings root fairly easily, especially if rooting hormone is used[
295
Title
PlantZAfrica.com
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site giving detailed descriptions and uses of many S. African plants.
].
Cite as: Temperate Plants Database, Ken Fern. temperate.theferns.info. 2024-06-23. <temperate.theferns.info/plant/Cyclopia+subternata>

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