Hibiscus tea is made from the hibiscus flower and can be drunk either hot or cold. It has quite a sharp flavor and is often sweetened with sugar.
A popular drink throughout central and south America and the Caribbean, it contains a number of nutrients which are important for supporting the systems of the body and is useful for general well being.
Hibiscus herbal tea is usually prepared from parts of the dried flower, though it can be made with fresh flowers also.
In the Caribbean, the tea is made with ginger and occasionally some rum. The drink is often served chilled.
In some areas the tea is made with a number of spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg and is a traditional Christmas drink.
The tea is thought to have been popular with the ancient Egyptians, and even today hibiscus tea is a traditional drink at Egyptian weddings.
Benefits of Hibiscus
- The tea is a mild diuretic, which helps the body to expel toxins, and is often used to lower blood pressure. Clinical studies have been carried out which support its use for controlling blood pressure. As a result, it can be beneficial for those whose blood pressure problems are caused by stress.
- The tea is also thought to be beneficial for lowering cholesterol.
- Studies have concluded that those suffering from type 2 diabetes may benefit from drinking hibiscus tea.
- These benefits are also thought to be useful in combating heart disease.
- Another traditional use of the tea is to treat liver problems, particularly in Eastern medicine.
- The tea is also of benefit to those who wish to lose weight, as it is thought to inhibit the body from absorbing too many carbohydrates.
- The tea is packed with vitamin C and can help to fight the symptoms of colds and flu and strengthens the immune system. It has powerful antioxidant properties and can help to remove bacteria from the system. It is useful for preventing and fighting infections.
- Regular consumption of the tea can keep the body’s bladder function healthy and prevent constipation. It can help to keep the digestive system generally healthy and has a soothing effect on inflammation.
- People suffering from depression may also benefit from a regular intake of hibiscus tea, as it has a positive effect on the central nervous system and can help to control moods.
Those wanting to use the tea to control their blood pressure should consult their doctor before beginning a course of treatment to ensure it is the best option.
Women on hormone replacement therapy or estrogen issues should not use the tea. Due to its effect on the hormone function of the body, it is not recommended for those who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
It is also important to ensure use of common red hibiscus only, as there are almost 200 varieties of the plant, and the effects of all of them are not known.
Those unused to the effects of the tea may find it causes drowsiness at first so should avoid operating machinery directly after consumption.