Hibiscus Tea – A Refreshing Herbal Refresher

hibiscus tea

A refreshing hibiscus tea is full of flavor, antioxidants, and nutrients. It’s low in calories and caffeine, making it a great alternative to soda. It’s also a natural diuretic and can help lower blood pressure. Try it in the morning or as a pre-bedtime wind down drink.

Hibiscus, or karkade as it’s known in Egypt, is a tart-meets-sweet herbal refresher made from dried hibiscus flowers. The ruby red or deep magenta-colored drink is caffeine free, sugar free, and loaded with antioxidants and functional wellness benefits. In fact, it’s been shown to reduce fever, sooth coughs and sore throats, and even lower blood pressure!

Typically, a hibiscus tea is sweetened with honey or a low-calorie, zero-calorie sweetener. The sweetener helps offset the naturally sour taste of the hibiscus petals and also makes it easier to digest. It is recommended to start with just a small amount of sweetener and increase if needed.

This bright, tart-meets-sweet beverage is a favorite in many cultures around the world. Hibiscus tea is rich in vitamin C, and its dark red color is a natural source of anthocyanins – a powerful antioxidant that protects cells from damage. It is also full of anti-inflammatory properties. Several animal studies and some human studies suggest that hibiscus may reduce neuroinflammation, the inflammation of nerve tissue that can lead to Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and other conditions.

The hibiscus plant contains a number of beneficial compounds, including polyphenols and flavonoids. These phytochemicals provide a wide range of health benefits, including reduced cholesterol levels, improved heart health, and antioxidant support for healthy cell function. It is also a natural diuretic, which can help with weight loss and lower blood pressure levels.

To make a cup of hibiscus tea, bring water to a boil and then pour over 2 tsp of dried hibiscus calyces (crushed). Allow it to steep for 5-10 minutes, depending on how strong you like your tea. Once the liquid cools, strain out the hibiscus and serve over ice. You can store any leftover tea in a glass jar or pitcher, and it will keep for up to four days.

Adding cinnamon, mint or lime wedges as garnish is an easy way to give your hibiscus tea a boost of flavor and aroma. It’s also a good idea to enjoy hibiscus tea on an empty stomach, since the natural diuretic effect can cause dehydration.

If you’re going to be drinking a lot of hibiscus tea, it’s important to monitor your blood pressure. This is because it can decrease systolic blood pressure by about 10 points in adults with high blood pressure. However, if you have diabetes or are taking medications such as the malaria drug chloroquine, it’s best to avoid the drink altogether. Hibiscus also contains phytoestrogens, which can interfere with birth control medications and hormones used in women’s menopause treatment and gender affirmation therapy.

Hibiscus tea has a long history of use for medicinal purposes in Asia and the Middle East. It is believed to help sooth sore throats and reduce fever, and it’s also a popular addition to fruit smoothies. It’s also a staple in many herbal medicine recipes.