Beauty and health with 'the mother of rooibos'

Dr T with a cup of tea.
Dr T with a cup of tea.

Annique Theron is known as the mother of rooibos.

The housewife who later received an honorary doctorate may not have discovered the leaves but she made the connection between the tea and its medicinal properties.

Adele du Toit, who does the marketing for Annique, a Theron's company, says Theron, who died at the age of 85 last year, made the link when her daughter Lorinda was a rather ill baby back in 1968.

"Her fourth child was 14 months old and wouldn't stop crying. She was also intolerant of her mother's breast milk. To stop the wailing child Theron gave her the tea leaves that were brewing on the stove.

"The child settled and had a deep sleep, something that was rare. She still didn't make the link - but continued to give the child tea.

Only after a good few weeks did she notice that her child was a different child - rosy cheeks as opposed to dry patchy skin and her tummy was better. She had stopped vomiting completely."

Theron went on to do her own research that rooibos was indeed a "cure" for colic and eczema and wrote a book on her findings, named Allergies: An Amazing Discovery.

She launched a slimming product as well as a skincare range resulting in a gold medal at the International Inventions Exhibition in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1997.

She was also awarded best woman inventor for 1997 by the World Intellectual Property Organization (Wipo). Her beauty company today provides more than 250 rooibos-based products.

For those who didn't know, rooibos reduces the signs of aging, revitalises the skin, heals wounds, protects against UV rays and has anti-inflammatory properties. It also helps prevent hair loss and boosts the immune system.


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