Hibiscus tea is a great source of vitamins, with a high content of vitamin C in particular, and antioxidants. A naturally caffeine-free drink, hibiscus tea, with its tart flavour, has a similar taste to cranberry.
There are numerous varieties of the hibiscus flower, which comes from the mallow family. Grown around the world in countries including Africa, South America, Mexico, Hawaii, and Jamaica, the hibiscus plant is generally native to temperate, subtropical and tropical regions, although, under the right conditions, it can also thrive in indoor environments, making it exceptionally versatile.
Hibiscus sabdariffa is the flowering plant that is used for the purpose of hibiscus tea. When seeped, the tropical flower turns a ruby red colour, and it can be drank hot or iced. Hibiscus tea has been used historically for medicinal purposes, and is popular in countries including Egypt, Mexico, Guatemala, Jamaica and Ghana.
Hibiscus tea has numerous health benefits including reducing high blood pressure, reducing harmful cholesterol levels, supporting the liver, preventing inflammation, relieving menstrual pains, and improving digestion. It is also known to be a natural anti-depressant, quenches thirst, and aids with weight loss.
Hibiscus contains flavonoids and anthocyanins, which have antioxidant properties and have been shown to support heart health. Hibiscus tea has also been used traditionally to treat coughing and poor appetite, and it has been used for its antibacterial and antifungal properties.
Several studies have found that hibiscus tea can help lower or maintain cholesterol levels. A study published in the June 2010 “Phytomedicine” reported that patients who suffered from metabolic syndromes experienced a decrease in overall cholesterol levels after taking a daily dose of 100 grams of Hibiscus sabdariffa extract powder.
Properties of the Hibiscus sabdariffa flower can help relieve menstrual cramps, as well as soothe muscle spasms in the intestines. Though some report that hibiscus may have laxative properties, others find that the tea actually helps with hormonal balance and minimises symptoms like cravings and mood swings.
When prepared as a cold drink, hibiscus retains its high vitamin C content and has antibiotic properties. Hibiscus may act as an antimicrobial against E. coli and other foodborne illnesses, and may also be useful in controlling fungal infections. Consuming this beverage on a regular basis can help fulfil one’s daily intake of Vitamin C, which can improve the immune system.
Hibiscus tea has antioxidants that boats anti-inflammatory properties. These antioxidants reduce inflammation in blood vessels, preventing the buildup of blood cells that leads to blood clots and high blood pressure
In addition, drinking hibiscus tea may help with digestive orders, such as an upset stomach, as it can help relax the smooth muscle of the intestine.
Hibiscus tea is generally safe for consumption when used in moderation. However, if you are pregnant or nursing or have Type II diabetes, hibiscus should be used with caution.
Recipe: Spiced Iced Hibiscus Tea
- 10g dried hibiscus flowers
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, thinly sliced
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 teaspoons whole allspice
- 1 litre of water
- 2 tbsps of honey
- Place the hibiscus flowers, cinnamon sticks, lemon juice, ginger, whole spice and water into a glass bowl. Place in the refrigerator overnight.
- Strain and add honey to taste. Mix well.
- Serve with ice.
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about sustainable lifestyle and green living for publications, and offers content services to planet-friendly businesses. Find out more at Rosamedea.com