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.
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
- 1 Tablespoon hibiscus (find it here)
- 1 Tablespoon lemon balm (find it here)
- 2 teaspoons peppermint leaf (find it here)
- 1 teaspoon rose hips (find them here)
- 1 teaspoon raspberry leaf (find it here)
- and 1 teaspoon parsley leaf (find it here)
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!