Hibiscus tea is a delightful red tea with a vibrant flavor. Notes of sweet flowers contrast with tart undertones for a beverage that will intrigue your tastebuds. Not only is this tea delicious, it’s gorgeous ruby red color makes it stunning to brew.
Tropical hibiscus tea has long been used in Asia and the Middle East as an herbal remedy. In recent years, American medicine has begun to research the potential health benefits of this floral tea. Uncover four healthy new reasons to drink hibiscus tea.
There are several hundred species of hibiscus plants all of which belong to the family Malvaceae. Hibiscus plants are also known as rose mallow, hardy hibiscus, and rose of sharon. The small trees feature colorful flowers and some of the most common feature vibrant red flowers. Perennial hibiscus plants typically bloom in late summer.
Hibiscus plants are hardy plants that enjoy full sun and moist soil. The tropical plants thrive with hours of sunlight and the addition of healthy plant food. They are commonly found in sunny locales including Africa, Florida, and the Hawaiian islands. The plant is native to tropical locations across the globe and the petals are commonly infused in water to make a variety of drinks including tea.
Hibiscus tea is an herbal tea made from plant parts of the hibiscus plant known by the botanical name Hibiscus sabdariffa and its cousin Hibiscus rosa-sinensis. The petals and sepals—the green bulb found in the center of the petals—are infused in hot water to create a ruby red tea. The hibiscus plant is native to the Caribbean.
Other common names for hibiscus tea include sour tea, red sorrel, agua de Jamaica, roselle, and karkadé. Hibiscus flowers are also frequently used in flavored teas to add new taste notes. Hibiscus flowers are often blended with green tea and black tea.
Hibiscus tea has a flavor profile that includes fruity, sweet, sour, and astringent notes. The tea is often compared to cranberries due to its tart yet sweet flavor. The tea is frequently brewed hot, but also makes an excellent iced tea.
Hibiscus tea is chock full of antioxidants that boost overall health. These antioxidants help stave off free radicals that can cause oxidative stress in the body (1). Free radicals and oxidative stress have been correlated with serious illness including cancer, aging, and eye diseases. Drinking hibiscus tea can help prevent these free radicals from damaging healthy cells.
Hibiscus tea contains high amounts of vitamins and minerals that boost immune health. Hibiscus tea contains large levels of vitamin C, which can help you fend off the common cold and flu. The effect of sour tea can help boost immunity and keep you healthy, even during flu season.
Research studies have consistently shown that vitamin C plays an important role in human health. Vitamin C helps convert cholesterol to bile acids, helping to lower bad LDL cholesterol. Vitamin C also converts amino acids to serotonin—the happy hormone—and boosts mood. Vitamin C can also prevent allergic reactions and fights infections (2).
Heart disease including blood clots, high blood pressure, and heart attacks are among the leading killers in the United States. Some research has shown that hibiscus tea lowers blood pressure and prevents serious heart disease. Research published in Fitoterapia examined the link between hibiscus tea consumption and heart health. Researchers found that hibiscus tea lowered systolic blood pressure by an average of seven points (3).
Recent studies also showed that hibiscus extract may help lower high cholesterol. The research was conducted at the Chung Shan Medical University in Taiwan. The scientists found that 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 (4).
Hibiscus tea may help accelerate weight loss by limiting hunger. Hibiscus tea is also a sweet alternative to sugary drinks that can pack on the pounds. Switching from unhealthy drinks and sweet snacks to hibiscus tea is a great way to help reach your weight loss goals.
Hibiscus tea also helps inhibit chemicals that store carbohydrates. Research published in Food and Function showed that hibiscus extract helped regulate metabolism. Individuals who took dried hibiscus flower extract had a lower body mass index and waist-to-hip ratio (5).
Hibiscus tea is generally safe for consumption when used in moderation. There are still a few possible side effects to consider before drinking hibiscus tea.
Hibiscus tea may have negative side effects for women who are pregnant or nursing. Some side effects include stomach pain, nausea, and painful urination. Talk to your doctor before drinking any herbal teas.
Avoid hibiscus tea if you are allergic to the hibiscus plant. Stop use immediately and consult a healthcare professional if you experience a skin rash, difficulty swallowing, or itchy eyes.
Hibiscus may lower blood sugar. If you are taking medications for Type II diabetes or other blood sugar diseases, consult your doctor before drinking hibiscus tea. Hibiscus tea may also interact with blood pressure medications. Due to both of these side effects, it's best to stop drinking hibiscus tea two weeks before any type of surgery.
People with low blood pressure should also be cautious when drinking hibiscus tea as blood pressure levels may become too low and cause dizziness or fainting.
Brewing hibiscus tea is quick and easy. You can brew the delightful ruby red liquid using fresh flowers from the garden or dried loose leaf teas. You can also use tea bags if you prefer convenience and easy cleanup. Whichever way you choose to brew, follow these general guidelines for the perfect cup every time.
2 cups water
1/2 cup hibiscus flowers
1. Bring water to a rapid boil in a pan on the stove top.
2. Turn the heat down to medium and add the hibiscus flowers to the boiling water.
3. Allow the flowers to steep in the hot water for 5 to 10 minutes.
4. Remove the flowers using a fine mesh strainer and pour the tea into tea cups.
5. Serve with a slice of lemon or a dash of honey if desired.
Hibiscus is a sweet and sour tea that features a vibrant red hue. Hibiscus tea is also a healthy beverage that can help improve weight loss and boost the immune system.
Infuse your world with pink flowers and red hibiscus. This tea boasts few adverse effects and can potentially lower cholesterol levels. The tea has long been a staple of Indian Ayurvedic medicine thanks to its healthy properties.
Drinking hibiscus tea is a great way to enjoy sweet, floral flavor while savoring the health benefits and joy of drinking tea. Fix yourself a cup of this tart and sweet tea and sip to good health.