Blending Tradition With A Twist
Peta Searle is the owner of Petalilli Organics, a herbal tea company based in Harare, Zimbabwe. Peta first started using indigenous herbs in 2016, when she developed Petalilli Organics’s loose leaf herbal tea range. “I wanted to create fruity, funky blends using primarily indigenous herbs to support local communities and to inspire and enlighten the consumer to the wealth and health of indigenous plants that we have on our doorstep,” she explains. By experimenting with different blends, Peta has created a wonderful herbal tea range enjoyed by both local and international tea lovers. Her personal favourite is the zumbani, baobab, lemon grass and rosella blend, which she has named Flourish. Peta says, “it tastes like the smell of the earth after the first rains.”
Zumbani, resurrection bush, rosella, baobab and moringa are among Peta’s favourite indigenous ingredients and she uses nearly all of them every day in her teas and cooking. Peta has even created a line of Power Salts that combine herbs like rosella and zumbani with salt to add instant flavour to any dish.
Peta has found that customers are often surprised by how good the flavour of local herbs is, particularly resurrection bush as it is not very well known. And while teas like zumbani are fairly familiar to people, they sometimes carry the stigma of being used primarily for ailments, so encouraging people to enjoy them just because they are delicious is still a somewhat novel idea.
“When people try it, they buy it, so a lot of education is needed to really grow the market for indigenous herbs. I think it is also a lifestyle – taking baobab and moringa daily is so important for me – it’s a top priority in my kitchen and giving it to my children so I think as more people are becoming more health conscious the market is only going to grow,” Peta explains.