Hibiscus Tea Benefits and a Recipe for Colds and Flus

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Hibiscus Tea Benefits Recipe

Hibiscus Tea Benefits and a Healthy Recipe

I first fell in love with the Hibiscus flower in Ecuador. There was a hedge of it outside my sleeping quarters and I fell in love with the ethereal quality of the fleshy, red blooms.

When I returned, I found out that there was a native hibiscus that could grow in Ohio called the common rose mallow, or Hibiscus moscheutos. I have grown this hibiscus for quite a while now simply for its beauty, and years after my trip I learned about hibiscus as a health supplement.

Hibiscus Tea Benefits for Health

The use of Hibiscus sabdariffa in tropical regions has been studied extensively because of its historic application to blood pressure regulation, liver issues, and fever reduction. In 2008, a study at Tufts University saw a 13.2% reduction in blood pressure with the use of hibiscus blossom. Another study published in the Journal of Human Hypertension that same year showed, on average, a reduction in blood pressure of 8.1% – 15.4% among study participants. Further evidence suggests it may reduce serum cholesterol too.

If you’ve ever ordered a bag of hibiscus flowers, you may have assumed – like me – that the red petals are dried and used for medicine. But it’s actually the flower structure called the calyx, not the petals. The calyx is a fleshy structure from which the flower emerges. The flower is actually cream in color, not what you would expect at all! The calyx holds the bloom and then remains for a few days after the bloom has dropped.

Medicinal Hibiscus

The first time I saw the true medicinal hibiscus growing, it was at a friend’s farm called Blue Owl Emporium here in Ohio. She was growing roselle on the upper part of a hill, in full sun. I was fascinated with how similar each of the calyx’s looked to a heart. It isn’t too difficult to see where traditional people got the idea to use it as a circulatory tonic.

Pick the calyx of roselle within the first few days after the bloom drops or it will turn brown and wither. If you have a batch of hibiscus at home, go feel the herb. It is more like dried fruit than a dried flower. Roselle will definitely add a beautiful red color to your tea.

For circulatory health, it is suggested that you drink three cups a day, but there is more to roselle than cholesterol and blood pressure, it has also been found to reduce the occurrence of kidney stones. This is in all likelihood due to hibiscus’ astringency. Further, these “blooms” are high in antioxidants and flavonoids as well as being a good source of Vitamin C. This makes it one of my favorite cheery winter ways to fight off mild winter colds and flu. Here is one of my favorite recipes:

Hibiscus Tea Recipe from Mockingbird Meadows



Place your tea in a teapot with a strainer or simply into a mason jar. Pour hot water over and allow to steep, covered, for 10-15 minutes. Strain if necessary and sip while warm.

This tea is the perfect thing to sip on during a cold afternoon when you’re feeling under the weather. It is bright and cheery, and contains immune boosters that will help you feel better faster!


About Dawn Combs

Dawn is a wife, mother, farmer, author, ethnobotanist, professional speaker, and educator. She has over 20 years of ethnobotanical experience, is a certified herbalist, and has a B.A. in Botany and Humanities/Classics. Dawn is co-owner of Mockingbird Meadows Farm. Her books include Conceiving Healthy Babies and Heal Local.

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  1. Remi says

    Is this recipe for one cup or pot? If I were to make one cup how much would I want to brew and for how long?

    • Dawn says

      Sorry Remi, somehow I managed to goof up and not share the proportion of water! This is intended to be enough to make a quart of tea. Thanks for the heads up. =)

  2. Carol L says

    I recently ‘discovered’ Hibiscus. I found it to be completely refreshing in the summer as a sangria tea: hibiscus flowers, yerba mate tea, and frozen berries all together in hot water until cooled. Add honey (if desired) after straining and smashing berries to get all the goodness out of them! (I used blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries)
    But this is great for right now, as I have caught my first cold/flu from visiting relatives and am sick for the first time in about 4 years!
    Thanks for the recipe!!!

  3. Charlette Smith says

    I Mexico, they use the flower petals to make a cold tea, which they drink in the summer.
    Very tasty and cooling