Honeybush (Cyclopia spp.): From local cottage industry to global markets - The catalytic and supporting role of research
Article in Press
Honeybush tea (Cyclopia spp.), one of the traditional South African herbal teas with a long history of regional use, remained a cottage industry until the mid-1990s when researchers were instrumental in the development of a formal agricultural and agro-processing industry. It is one of the few indigenous South African plants that made the transition from the wild to a commercial product during the past 100 years. Research activities during the past 20 years included propagation, production, genetic improvement, processing, composition and the potential for value-adding. The present review provides an up-to-date and comprehensive record of the development of the South African honeybush industry, against the background of the historical highlights in the making of an industry. It provides a blueprint of the processes and actions involved in the development of a new agricultural and agro-processing industry from an herbal plant. Insight into challenges faced by the industry and future research needed to keep it competitive are provided. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.