What are the health benefits of drinking hibiscus tea you might ask? Let’s talk a little about what hibiscus is first. If you live somewhere around the equator or have been on a trip to a tropical country, there’s a good chance you noticed a beautiful five-petaled red flower growing by the streets. Hibiscus, the state flower of Hawaii, grows in nearly all regions with a tropical climate. It has a rich history and medicinal benefits that not many of us are aware of. Various parts of the plant, including its leaves and flowers, possess antioxidant properties that have been used for centuries.
You can reap the benefits of this flower in many ways. It could be used as a hair mask, face detox, massage oil, etc. Of course, the easiest and fastest way to benefit from a plant is to add it to your diet. Read on to find out how you can do just that!
How do you consume it?
You could powder the petals and use the mix regularly. Recently, I came across an Ayurvedic blend (a powder that you can take with milk, water or by just sprinkling it over your food), which listed Hibiscus as one of its ingredients.
I suppose one method that requires less effort and gives relatively faster results is brewing hibiscus petals as a tea. Hibiscus Tea is usually called Sorell tea or “sour” tea, owing to its slightly tart flavor, but you can always adjust it to your taste by adding some supplements. It has a beautiful deep red color, and has a fruity, refreshing flavor that instantly lifts your energy.
So, what are the benefits of drinking hibiscus tea?
Hibiscus extract has been used for centuries as a means to cool down your body temperature. Even Egyptians have used it to treat stomach upsets and infections since the age of the famous Cleopatra.
It is rich in vitamin C and protects you against the common cold and a sore throat. Vitamin C also helps repair tissues and initiates the growth of new tissues. It heals wounds, absorbs iron, and plays a vital role in the health of your bones and teeth.
It has antioxidants that can fight cell-damaging free radicals and boost your immune system. These antioxidants work against bacteria and any present urinary infections.
According to studies conducted in some animals, hibiscus extract has been observed to benefit liver health and enable higher metabolism in fats and sugars. Perhaps this is why it is known to help in digestion and aid weight loss. Studies have shown that in human trials, hibiscus tea significantly decreased overall body weight and hip-waist ratio. It has a compound called APMK, which stimulates the breakdown of fats.
If you have high blood pressure, Hibiscus tea is a must-have in your beverage collection. It lowers blood pressure, protecting you from heart disease. Studies have shown systolic blood pressure decreased significantly in candidates who had Hibiscus tea for six weeks.
Another among many benefits of drinking Hibiscus tea is that it can lower your blood fat levels, decrease bad cholesterol and even increase good cholesterol sometimes. Ancient Indian Ayurveda claims that blocks in arteries can disintegrate by consistently drinking hibiscus tea.
Owing to the presence of minerals like calcium, magnesium and iron, hibiscus tea can potentially increase the supply of oxygen to the brain. Incorporating it into your daily routine can improve your memory and concentration. It can also alleviate depression and anxiety, making you much more productive with your day-to-day activities.
If you’ve had a history of PCOS or are irritated by your irregular periods, hibiscus tea can work wonders for you! It induces menstruation and regulates your monthly cycles. The best part is that it even helps with cramps!
For all the beauty-conscious people out there, hibiscus tea can give you glowing skin in just a few weeks! It is the best replacement for your anti-aging cream since the antioxidants and anthocyanins present in it can delay premature skin aging as well. Myricetin in hibiscus slows the breakdown of the elastane enzyme, which is responsible for wrinkles and sagging skin. Plus, if your hair is thinning, fret not! Hibiscus is also a powerful medicinal flower that stimulates hair follicles and promotes the growth of new hair.
Different styles of making the tea
There are hundreds of types of hibiscus plants. However, the one commonly used to make tea is hibiscus sabdariffa.
In order to make Hibiscus tea, you can use either fresh or dried flowers. The herbal tea is made by steeping parts of the hibiscus plant in boiling water. Some people, however, prefer to switch off the heat and then drop the hibiscus flower petals into hot boiled water. They believe that directly putting the flower in boiling water loses some of its medicinal value. This way, the flavor of the petals infuses into the water properly.
An alternate way to make your tea is to directly soak the petals in water, strain the mixture, and then boil hibiscus infused water.
Hibiscus tea has a tart taste, and some of us may find it hard to drink it directly. You can customize the tea to your liking by sweetening it using honey or sugar.
If you like a little tangy flavor, add some orange zest or lime. Has spicy chai caught your interest in the past? In that case, chances are, you’ll like your hibiscus tea with a hint of cinnamon, cloves, or ginger!
Want to add something green? Lemongrass, basil, lemon zest, and mint would go really well with your hibiscus tea. Whether it is in boiling water or not, make sure to steep the petals in water for at least 5-10 minutes. You can then have it hot or even refrigerate it for a summer afternoon. In order to make a proper cold brew, you can let the essence infuse into water overnight.
Add some ice right before you drink it. It’s perfect for kids in summer. They’ll love it if you add some mint, berries, and honey to it. If you’re interested in adding milk, there are some things to consider. Since hibiscus is acidic, it might not go too well with milk. You could try the tea bags instead of raw flower petals or maybe lactose-free milk.
As the saying goes, too much of anything is bad, and in spite of all the health benefits hibiscus tea offers, you should make sure not to drink more than 2-3 cups a day. If you have some leftover tea, you can always refrigerate it for up to five days.
What are the side effects of drinking hibiscus tea?
It is necessary to note that Hibiscus extract does not affect everyone the same way. In fact, this is the same with all medicinal herbs. If you have any history of illnesses and special medical conditions, it is wise to consult your doctor before starting to consume hibiscus tea regularly.
Since hibiscus can affect estrogen levels, it must be avoided by pregnant women. If you do the math, something that can help in menstruation, can potentially cause a miscarriage, too. Also, say a big no to the tea if you’re breastfeeding or taking birth control pills.
As hibiscus tea is known to lower blood pressure, you must be careful not to consume it if you already suffer from low blood pressure.
Hibiscus extract reacts with other medicines like acetaminophen. This could have toxic effects on your body and must be strongly considered. High doses of Hibiscus Tea can damage your liver.
Where do you find it?
If you do not live in an area where you can find the hibiscus plant, you can buy tea bags or dry flowers in powdered form. These may not always be available in your grocery shop. However, you should be able to find them in an organic store.
You can even order tea bags online. There are many websites, so make sure you order from a genuine seller. These bags are usually highly concentrated. so you can save some for the next day, too.
Some outlets let you buy some loose leaf tea. It usually consists of hibiscus flowers, fennel, and green tea. Make sure to store it in airtight containers in a dark and cool place. It could get spoiled if it comes in contact with moisture or sunlight.
All this being said, if you live in a tropical region, the best option to get some hibiscus extract is to have a plant in your backyard. Should you have the choice, try to grow it in the ground rather than as a potted plant. It is very easy to take care of and blooms all year round!
All you need to do to grow your own hibiscus plant is cut a few stems off of one, about five to six inches each, remove the leaves of the bottom part, and plant them in the soil. I would suggest that you cut stems that have at least three to four nodes. The best time to plant it is in spring, for the cuttings root faster then.
With adequate sunlight and light watering, you’ll see it grow in no time!
Herbal tea, such as that of hibiscus, can be a top replacement for your evening coffee. When taken in the right amounts, it can improve your physical and mental health in more ways than one can imagine.
It’s easy, refreshing, and healthy! So, what are you waiting for? Make it a part of your diet now!
Do you have a recipe you would like to share with us? Have you experienced any benefits from drinking hibiscus tea? Feel free to drop us a comment below!