Learn about the health benefits, side effects and uses in my ultimate guide to hibiscus tea. Read about the taste, how to use both fresh and dried flowers and other commonly asked questions. Discover lots of hibiscus recipes to try out including making hot hibiscus tea, hibiscus with milk and tropical cocktails too.
Hibiscus tea has been used for centuries in many different cultures for its health boosting properties but like all herbal remedies, there are risks and side effects. So here, in this article, I’ll discuss some of the reported health benefits and the risks too, so that you can decide whether it’s the right kind of tea for you
What is Hibiscus
Hibiscus flower tea is a pretty red-pink herbal tea (or tisane) made from the Hibiscus sabdariffa plant. Hibiscus is native to warm climates within tropical and subtropical regions. Hibiscus is also known as rose mallow, hardy hibiscus, rose of sharon and tropical hibiscus.
Hibiscus tea is well known for it’s beautiful redish-pinkish-purplish hue. When you add something acidic like lemon juice, the colour turns to a fabulous bright fluorescent pink. The colour of this flower is all down to a compound known as anthocyanins. When something acidic (just like lemon juice) is added to hibiscus tea, the pH level changes and this is what makes the colour change to a fascinating bright pink.
The taste of hibiscus tea is not delicate and floral as most would expect but rather tart and cranberry like. Hibiscus pairs well with warm spicy flavours such as cinnamon and ginger. As it can be a tart tasting tea, a sprinkle of sugar or a drizzle of honey can help with balancing the tang.
Read more: How to Make Hibiscus Flower Tea ( with Lemon, Honey & Ginger)
Fresh or Dried Flowers
You can make hibiscus tea from either fresh or dried flowers. If you aren’t able to source fresh flowers, you can use dried hibiscus flowers instead. Use one teaspoon of dried flowers OR two fresh flowers per one cup of water for one serving.
So many different types of fresh flowers can be infused to make tasty tea including roses, dandelions, chamomile flowers and pretty hibiscus flowers too.
Read more: Flowers and Flower Tea Recipes
Is Hibiscus Good for You?
Drinking hibiscus tea comes with a whole host of health boosting benefits and has been enjoyed as a herbal remedy by many people worldwide for centuries. Not only is hibiscus tea naturally caffeine free but it is practically zero calories so it’s a great beverage to enjoy at any time of the day.
Health Boosting Properties
Other reported health benefits include anti aging antioxidant properties, anti inflammatory properties, helping to lower blood pressure, helping to lower cholesterol, having anti bacterial properties and it may even help support heart health and liver health too.
Hibiscus for Hair and Skin
Hibiscus is well known for containing high amounts of vitamin c at around 43.6 mg per cup, plus it contains other wonderful anti aging antioxidants too. Studies show that vitamin c is beneficial for skin health, and it is also beneficial for new hair growth!
Hibiscus for Women’s Health
Some reports show that hibiscus maybe a tea to help your period by inducing menstruation and easing troublesome period pains.
Studies suggest that hibiscus tea maybe beneficial for urinary tract infections. Hibiscus is a herbal antifungal which is believed to be beneficial in the fight against infections. The antioxidants in hibiscus have antimicrobial qualities that are similar to cranberries. Cranberry juice is also a well known remedy to aid in the relief of cystitis.
How Does Hibiscus Tea Help with Weight Loss?
Many reports show that hibiscus maybe beneficial for those wanting to lose a few pounds of excess weight. Firstly, hibiscus is almost zero calories per cup which is great for wanting to have something other than plain water. Secondly, this tremendous tropical flower may aid in helping to lower cholesterol levels and it also contains healthy antioxidants. All of these can help support our bodies during weight loss or in maintaining a healthy weight, but of course this only works if it is combined with a healthy diet and lifestyle.
Read more: Matcha Green Tea for Weight Loss
What are the Negative Effects of Hibiscus Tea?
As hibiscus tea may help to lower blood pressure, it should be avoided for persons who have issues with low blood pressure or for those on medication for blood pressure. It should also be avoided by those with hormonal imbalances as some reports show that hibiscus may interfere with estrogen levels. Hibiscus is also known to cause dermatitis and can also cause allergic reactions. Other side effects noted include headache, digestive issues and ringing in the ear. Also, hibiscus tea, especially made from fresh flowers, is likely to contain traces of pollen and therefore may affect hay fever sufferers.
Can Hibiscus Tea Make you Hallucinate?
This article recently investigated whether or not hibiscus tea can actually cause hallucinations. Some people have reported being hibiscus drunk, having hibiscus intoxication or even getting high on hibiscus! However, it turns out that because hibiscus tea can aid in naturally lowering blood pressure it may give (people with already low blood pressure) a woozy dizzy feeling. Plus, some of the negative side effects include headaches, nausea and ringing in the ear which may also give a ‘drunk’ feeling to some people.
Read more: Earl Grey Tea Intoxication
Does Hibiscus Tea Make you Pee?
Hibiscus is known as a mild natural diuretic which means that it helps flush out your body. Just like tea, hibiscus doesn’t make you pee more fluid than the fluid that you drink, and so it will not dehydrate you. However, people with certain medical conditions such as liver or kidneys problems should take caution. And you should always consult your health care provider with any concerns.
Read more: Why Does Tea Make you Pee
Caffeine in Hibiscus Tea
Unlike tea, from the Camellia sinensis plant, hibiscus tea is naturally caffeine free. Many herbal teas are naturally caffeine free and so are ideal to have before bedtime or in a soothing and nourishing moon milk recipe.
Read more: Caffeine in Tea vs Caffeine in Coffee
What Does Hibiscus Mean Spiritually?
Hibiscus flowers symbolise good luck, beauty and femininity. In Hindu mythology, this wonderful flower symbolizes primordial energy. The Hindu goddess Kali is shown to merge into a beautiful hibiscus blossom. Kali is the goddess of death, time and doomsday, however, later traditions describe Kali as a icon of motherly love.
How to Make a Cup of Hibiscus Flower Tea
Making a cup of fresh or dried hibiscus tea is soo easy to do. You can make hot or iced hibiscus, alternatively make a pretty and indulgent floral latte or even a pink cocktail or mocktail.
To make a lovely hot cup: take 2 fresh flowers and remove the stems, the calyx and the pistil. Wash the petals to remove any bugs and pollen. Place the petals in a tea pot or jug with a lid. Alternately, use a cup and cover with a small plate or saucer to lock in all of those wonderful oils and aromas. Add one cup of freshly boiled water and allow to infuse for ten to fifteen minutes. Strain the petals and add a drizzle of honey, agave or sugar.
To make a lovely glass of iced flower tea: take 2 fresh flowers and prepare as above. Allow to steep in half a cup of freshly boiled water and add a sweetener of choice once brewed. Pour over a large glass of ice. Add slices of fresh fruit and your favourite tipple to make it a refreshing summery cocktail.
To turn your hibiscus tea: from a reddy-purply colour to a bright pink colour, add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice once your tea has brewed. I would refrain from adding lemon juice if you are making a latte as the lemon will curdle the milk.
To make dried hibiscus flower tea: use one teaspoon of dried herb per one cup of freshly boiled water or one teaspoon of herb per half a cup of freshly boiled water for iced tea. Alternatively, follow the package instructions for a tasty tea.
Read more: How to Make Spiced Hibiscus Tea - Iced with White Rum!
Is Agua de Jamaica the Same as Hibiscus Tea?
Agua de Jamaica is a popular Mexican agua fresca drink made with strongly brewed fresh hibiscus flowers and is typically sweetened with sugar. Jamaica is pronounced ‘HA-MY-CAH’ in Spanish and ‘agua de Jamaica’ simply means ‘Jamaica water’. Depending on what type of hibiscus flower used, the drink is sometimes referred to as ‘Flor de Jamaica’ or ‘Rosa de Jamaica’.
Can you Take Hibiscus Tea with Milk?
Yes! Hibiscus tea is bold and rich enough to be taken with milk. Many herbal teas such as chamomile and rooibos can be taken with a dash of milk or even as a delicious tea latte.
Read more: Adding Milk to Green Tea: What are the Rules?
Is it Safe to Drink Hibiscus Tea Everyday?
Whilst it is considered safe to drink hibiscus tea and many people do have a cup or two everyday, it is always best to enjoy in moderation. Some people with certain medical conditions or those on certain medications should be aware of the risks and it’s always a good idea to consult your healthcare provider with any concerns.
Do you enjoy hibiscus tea? Leave a comment below!
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