The hibiscus flower is easy to recognize. The blossoms are often chosen for weddings and special events, and the intense scent is popular among florists. Did you know you can also drink hibiscus tea? The floral tea has health benefits, and has been used as a remedy for centuries. Here’s all you need to know about hibiscus tea.
Hibiscus Tea: The Basics
Hibiscus tea isn’t local to one region of the world. In fact, the flower can be found on almost all the continents. It’s cultivated in the Americas, and grows natively in Mexico and some American islands. In Africa, you’ll find hibiscus in Egypt and Sudan. In Asia, the flower grows in Thailand and other countries, and in Europe, the plant is cultivated, primarily in Italy.
And because the hibiscus plant is so widespread, so is hibiscus tea. Its called by different names in different parts of the world – carcade in Italy and sobolo in Ghana, sorrel in English speaking islands. But the drink tastes similar no matter where you are.
Hibiscus tea is a zesty, tart infusion that has a slight floral smell. People who drink hibiscus tea say it has a flavor similar to cranberry and, like cranberry, the tea has a deep ruby color. You can drink it hot or chill it for a summer treat.
Hibiscus tea is a tangy tea that people all over the world enjoy. But it’s also said to have some great health benefits. Let’s take a look.
Health Benefits of Hibiscus Tea
Hibiscus tea has some great benefits to your health. First of all, the flower is said to lower blood pressure. People who have hypertension have found that, by drinking the tea daily and following a healthy diet, their blood pressure may be lowered.
In the same way that hibiscus tea can help to lower blood pressure, it can also help with cholesterol levels. Hibiscus tea has been determined to lower the levels of LDL in the body, which can help prevent heart disease.
Hibiscus contains antioxidants, which may help prevent cancer. Antioxidants are currently being studied, but it’s thought that by removing “free radicals” from the body, you may be able to fight off cancer. Antioxidants also protect the liver, kidneys and other essential organs.
Hibiscus tea also has anti-inflammatory properties. The tea can help to alleviate pain associated with menstrual cramps, arthritis and even muscle aches.
The tea has many more qualities that will impact your overall well-being. It’s got antibacterial properties to fight colds, the flu and infection, much like Greek mountain tea. There are also chemicals called flavonoids in the tea which can help relieve depression. And it’s a diuretic, so hibiscus tea can flush fluids from your body. It may also help to aid in weight loss.
Obviously, there’s more to hibiscus than just a sweet smelling flower. The benefits of hibiscus tea are still being studied, but for years it’s been effectively used as a remedy for a great many ailments.
How to Make Hibiscus Tea
Let’s face it. Cultivating your own hibiscus flowers just to make tea is going to get pretty expensive, pretty fast. So while we usually encourage you to make your own teas, in this case it may be more cost-effective to purchase pre-packaged hibiscus tea.
As with any tea, though, there are certainly different tea qualities. You’ll find the inexpensive grocery store teas which are stuffed with fillers and contain less than high quality ingredients. Then, there are the tea growers who focus solely on growing products which are organic, healthy, GMO free and pure.
We’ll look more at where to get hibiscus tea in just a minute. Let’s first talk about how to brew the drink. First, you can use either fresh or dried flowers. If you can get your hands on fresh flowers, you’ll find that the scent is more intense, which adds to the flavor. Dried hibiscus flowers will work as well, but most people enjoy fresh flowers more.
Secondly, it’s possible to get some beautiful blooming teas made from hibiscus flowers. If you chose these, though, be sure you check out the other ingredients. Blooming tea is made by weaving flowers with tea leaves and other organics into beautiful blossoms which unfurl when you steep your tea. Just make sure you know what else is in your hibiscus tea.
Choosing your hibiscus tea can be tough. But making it is quite easy. You’ll need around a tablespoon of hibiscus flowers (dried or fresh) for each cup of tea you’d like to make. Place those in your teacup, then simply pour boiling water over the flowers. Your water temperature should be around the same temperature as green tea – around 175 degrees.
Sweeten your hibiscus tea as you like it, then enjoy!
Where to Get Hibiscus Tea
The easiest and most accessible place to get hibiscus tea is online on sites like Amazon. There are a huge number of teas available to you. Choose from hibiscus orange, hibiscus rose, hibiscus lemon … you get the picture. Be sure, of course, that you check reviews and check packaging information on your hibiscus tea. Check for unnecessary fillers, and try to find an organic tea.
Online ordering is easiest. But it’s possible that you can find your favorite hibiscus tea locally. Some stores carry brands like Traditional Medicinals and The Tao of Tea, and many of these teas are organic and natural.
Again, we don’t really recommend growing your own hibiscus plants. There are a few reasons for this. First, the flowers are expensive. One quality plant can cost in the triple digits – that’s some pricey tea. Secondly, you can never be quite sure what kind of sprays, pesticides and chemicals were put on your hibiscus plant. Those chemicals can do more harm than god. Finally, some flowers are genetically modified and cross bred to be resistant to disease. You can’t be sure that the plant you buy is exactly the right plant.
Stick with the tea growers who know hibiscus tea best. That will ensure that you’ve got the right type of flower, and that you’ll see all the health benefits of hibiscus tea.