Selling out their stock of herbal teas and cleansing bars shortly after launching a few weeks back at Design Indaba 2014, Cape Town-based LithaFlora is a new company using medicinal African herbs, sustainably sourced from four small farm holders within the Cape Floral Kingdom. The tea blends, which include indigenous ingredients one rarely finds in stateside grocery stores, were created with wellness in mind; from the Cold & Flu Support (honeybush, ginger, sutherlandia, rosehips and orange peel) to the Calming Slimming Support (buchu, nettle, hoodia, alfalfa, chamomile, horse mint and orange peel).
The word Litha (pronounced lee-tah) from Zulu means "star," which in nearly all African languages is further revealed as "bringer of knowledge or enlightenment." Founder Yolanda Methvin tells CH, "Ultimately, I'm endeavoring to triangulate the indigenous wisdom, appreciation and awareness of African medicinal botanicals, and to bring to light the accessible luxury of becoming your best self by complementing a health conscious lifestyle while conserving Africa's (and our planet's) signature DNA, source plants—those which can heal without need for processing or manipulating, in any way." Hailing from Los Angeles with a background in film, TV and advertising work, Methvin made the permanent move to Cape Town with her husband 16 years ago; she'd had a taste of the excitement while working in Mmabatho in 1992 as a short-form entertainment news and documentary producer.
Methvin explains further that "the tea culture in Cape Town is both a colonial throwback and extremely limited." The standard offering is either English or rooibos tea; and tea imported from other countries, such as France or Japan, is frighteningly expensive and catered to the high-end hotels. LithaFlora, however, aims to offer affordable tea from plants and herbs that are both available and part of the region's history and culture.
Of the three blends currently offered, we enjoyed a hot cup of the Immune Boosting Support. The unique blend gives the tongue a refreshingly light sensory experience that we haven't yet experienced from popular herbal blends found in the Northern Hemisphere. LithaFlora tea and cleansing bars are available online. Each canister contains 20 tag less teabags and retails for approximately $7.
Photos by Nara Shin