Sip shades of ruby red and breathe deep into the exotic nature of hibiscus flowers as you cozy up with everyone’s favorite herbal tea. Also known as sour tea, hibiscus flowers are plucked from the plant and turned into a deep red tea with a tart flavor and a ton of health benefits to boot.
The hibiscus plant loves to sun itself in tropical climates. Often found soaking up the warmth in far-flung places like Hawaii and Africa, this plant goes by a bunch of botanical names including its full title – Hibiscus Sabdariffa or Roselle. Before blooming, the trumpet-like flowers are buds called calyces and these are harvested to be added to the tea. Even the lush green bulb and the calyx are chosen to be turned into H. sabdariffa tea. If the original name is something of a mouthful, hibiscus tea is also known as red sorrel tea, agua de Jamaica, and Karkade.
Hibiscus tea may not be a categorical tea as it doesn’t come from the Camellia Sinensis plant like black tea and green tea, but it’s a beautiful infusion that is delicious whether served hot and steaming or when chilled with ice as a refreshing summer pick-me-up. It also has the benefit of being caffeine-free, making it a delectable choice for those wanting to sip all the health benefits of hibiscus flowers without the caffeine crash.
For ages (especially in Asia and the Middle East) hibiscus tea has been used as a herbal remedy for better health and well-being. Its sip-worthy roots can even be traced back to ancient Egypt when the new was used to reduce fever and fend off heart problems. The pretty roselle buds can also be found in a ton of tinctures and syrups and are often added to recipes in India, Africa, and Southeast Asia, and in remedies that span the globe – from the mountains of Nepal to the islands of the Caribbean.
So aside from the pretty name, the perfect ruby flower, and the tart fruit taste, what else can Hibiscus tea bring to the table? Let’s find out.
Health Benefits of Hibiscus Tea
Often compared to the flavor of cranberry juice, drinking hibiscus tea brings a wealth of health benefits. Loaded with nutrients, stuffed with antioxidants, and here to help you deal with everything from hypertension to reducing heart disease risks, weight loss, and complete immune system health, welcoming the floral grace of hibiscus tea into your daily routine is sure to boost your life in all the right ways. Take a look at all the heavenly hibiscus tea benefits.
Sipping on hibiscus tea can work wonders when it comes to cutting down on your cholesterol levels. Yes, this unique little flower that is turned into hibiscus extract has been carefully studied to see if it had a positive impact on high blood pressure and cholesterol. The research showed that the 90 participants with high cholesterol who sipped hibiscus twice a day for 15 days had an increase in their HDL cholesterol levels. While LDL cholesterol and triglycerides are known as bad kinds, HDL is the good kind. While more studies still need to be done for exact results, this convinces us to get the kettle on.
Full of Antioxidants
Loaded with antioxidants, turning to the ritual of hibiscus tea can help give your body the ammo it needs to fight off free radicals and reduce oxidative stress and damage. Free radicals can wreak havoc on our overall health and well-being and upset your cells. Not only do free radicals massively contribute to speeding up the aging process (especially when it comes to the skin), but they are also linked with health conditions and a whole range of diseases including cancer, dementia, diabetes, and heart disease, among others. In a comparison of tea and antioxidant content, hibiscus tea hit the number one spot thanks to its soaring levels, even smashing the popular green tea off the top charts. For those who want to stay young and fresh and free from inflammation, it's time to top up your antioxidants with a cup or two of hibiscus tea.
Lower Blood Pressure
Heart health and blood pressure are truly where the sour and delicious hibiscus tea seems to shine. A study showed that just drinking three cups of tea in adults at risk of hypertension was enough to see a drop in their systolic blood pressure in comparison to those given a placebo. Full of anti-inflammatory properties, hibiscus tea is great for your heart health and can help to keep your blood pressure on the right side.
Aids Weight Loss
While body weight is a complex issue and dealing with unhealthy obesity requires a proper schedule of exercise and lifestyle changes, hibiscus tea is considered to be a contender in helping with body fat. More studies are needed but from the info collected, it shows that sipping hibiscus tea for 3 months helped people to lower their body weight and cut down on abdominal fat. Not bad for something so delicious.
Boosts Immune System
Snuggle up with a cup of hibiscus tea and let all that vitamin C give your immune system a much-needed boost. Vitamin C is one of the major players in fending off colds and flu that come with seasonal changes. This vibrant red tea can keep you in tip-top shape thanks to its abundance of vitamins and minerals, the Vit C can also help your body to fend off all kinds of infections. In short, all it takes is a cup to feel as strong as an ox.
Helps Manage Blood Sugars
All those type 2 diabetics out there who want a helping hand when it comes to managing their blood sugar, hibiscus could be your ticket to golden glucose levels. Research has shown that the extract of hibiscus lowered blood glucose by 12%. As hibiscus is also low in sugar and light in calories it won’t throw your levels off the charts. The added bonus of being able to encourage HDL cholesterol levels and lowering LDL levels brings another exciting angle for diabetics looking for a lush healing tea to help.
Whether you have been partying a little hard or just want to keep your liver in the best health possible, sipping hibiscus tea can be just the ticket. This pomegranate-colored beverage has been studied for helping to prevent liver damage as it can help increase the concentration of detoxifying enzymes. While these studies were conducted using hibiscus extract and more studies are needed, it stands to reason that hibiscus tea can be a useful tool in the fight against future liver problems.
Helps Fight Cancer
Rich in polyphenols, hibiscus tea could serve as another sword in the fight against cancer. Polyphenols are compounds that are loaded with anti-cancer properties. In the test tube studies done, hibiscus extract was seen to reduce cell growth and help stop plasma cell and mouth cancer. Other studies also showed the tropical plant leaf from preventing prostate cancer growth from spreading and inhibited stomach cancer cells up to 52%.
Wave goodbye to bacteria simply by raising a glass of your favorite style of hibiscus tea. Bacteria are responsible for a whole host of health problems both short-term and long-term. From bronchitis to the dreaded UTI, keeping your body on the defense when it comes to bacteria is a surefire way to stay at the top of your game. Not only does hibiscus tea come with a heap of antioxidants but it also brings antibacterial properties to the table too. Test tube studies have shown that hibiscus extract can inhibit E-coli and in other studies hibiscus was also seen to fend off eight different strains of bacteria. Of course, more studies are needed for a clear picture but we are happy to have hibiscus on our shelf.
Loaded with Vitamins
While we already mentioned the fact that hibiscus tea is loaded with flu-fighting vitamin C, this dream drink doesn’t stop there. Not only will you find Vit C in this tea but you will also find Vitamin K which helps bone metabolism and blood clotting. Hibiscus tea also comes topped up with copper and potassium, which are an essential source of iron and keep our nerves and immune system functioning. Finally, it also has anthocyanins which are responsible for that rich ruby coloring but also helps to prevent chronic disease and are ripe with antibacterial benefits too.
It seems that this sour tea can help to keep cravings at bay thanks to its sweet fruity notes and low-calorie count. Next time you have the urge to reach for the pantry and pull out something sugary for a quick hit, you could just make yourself a hibiscus tea and feed your body’s needs instead.
We love a little after-dinner sip to stop us from feeling bloated, heavy, and ready for bed. Again, hibiscus tea makes an amazing aperitif every time. As hibiscus tea works as mother nature’s diuretic, it pulls salt from the body all while keeping you hydrated and as regular as can be. As it’s also low in sugar and not a caffeinated tea, you can sip it all night long without worrying about it interrupting sleep.
Ease Kidney Stones
Still doing good work from tip to toe, hibiscus tea also gets to work on keeping your kidneys flushed and fabulous. Studies have shown that hibiscus helped to prevent calcium crystals from turning into those tough and terrible kidney stones. Of course, more research needs to be done, but this is a great start for those who want to steer clear of kidney stones.
Hibiscus Tea Recipe
Now you know all the benefits that come with the simple act of boiling water and adding dried hibiscus flowers, there are plenty of reasons to brew up this floral delight. While a warm cup is always welcome, we love the sour tang of a tropical iced tea made with hibiscus. Not only is it a visual thirst quencher but the aroma and gorgeous coloring just scream summer. Take a look at this easy to make hibiscus iced tea recipe.
- Half a cup of dried hibiscus flowers
- 8 cups of water
- Honey to taste
- Lime to taste
- Put the water in a pot and add the hibiscus flowers.
- Bring to a boil and then switch off and let steep for 15 minutes.
- At the point of steeping, you can add in a dash of lime, a couple of teaspoons of honey as a natural sweetener, or any extra flavoring you love. Other herbs that work well with hibiscus include lemongrass and basil.
- Strain the tea and let it chill in the refrigerator for a couple of hours.
- Serve in a tall glass with plenty of ice and a sprig of mint or with a fresh hibiscus flower for vacation vibes.
Possible Side Effects of Hibiscus Tea
Loaded with health benefits, low in sugar, and light on calories – hibiscus tea is a safe and delicious drink that isn’t commonly linked with side effects. Yet, it can have an impact on estrogen levels so pregnant women and those who are breastfeeding may want to check in with their medical professional before pouring themselves this tea. It is also known to contribute to low blood pressure levels and blood sugar levels so those who are sensitive to that should also seek advice first. Another point worth noting is the fact that hibiscus tea has hydrochlorothiazide properties (it’s a diuretic), so do consume with care. Those who are sensitive to caffeinated tea can enjoy hibiscus tea as it is caffeine-free.
Hibiscus tea is a delicious treat any time of day. The slightly sour taste is full of tang, the color a true treat when you want to serve something bright and beautiful, and all the health benefits come in as an added bonus. From a delicious cocktail base to a cozy cup on the sofa, hibiscus tea is the perfect reminder of how plant power can be the perfect remedy.
**Medical Disclaimer: The information in this article is for informative purposes only and shouldn’t be taken as medical advice. Those who have any health-related queries should be sure to reach out to a medical professional. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.