I would say herbal teas are very popular. In my store, we have the tea divided; on one side there is all of the Bigelow, Ceslestial Seasonings, and Stash, on the other we keep the higher quality, more esoteric stuff. The section with the Bigelow and what not gets shopped the most.
As for the 'tea community," some people whom I respect greatly really dig the herbal stuff as well as traditional tea.
For me, and this is why I dont drink Mate or Rooibos, the time I spend drinking tisanes, even ones I like, could be spent drinking something I like more, like tea, real tea.