Sip shades of ruby red and breathe deep the exotic nature of hibiscus flowers as you cozy up with everyone’s favorite herbal tea. Also known as sour tea, hibiscus flowers are plucked from the plant and turned into a deep red tea with a tart flavor and a ton of health benefits to boot.
The hibiscus plant loves to sun itself in tropical climates. Often found soaking up the warmth in far-flung places like Hawaii and Africa, this plant goes by a bunch of botanical names including its full title – Hibiscus Sabdariffa or Roselle. Before blooming, the trumpet-like flowers are buds called calyces and these are harvested to be added into the tea. Even the lush green bulb and the calyx are chosen to be turned into H. sabdariffa tea. If the original name is something of a mouthful, hibiscus tea is also known as red sorrel tea, agua de Jamaica, and Karkade.
Hibiscus tea may not be a categorical tea as it doesn’t come from the Camellia Sinensis plant like black tea and green tea, but it’s a beautiful infusion that is delicious whether served hot and steaming or when chilled with ice as a refreshing summer pick-me-up. It also has the benefit of being caffeine-free, making it a delectable choice for those wanting to sip all the health benefits of hibiscus flowers without the caffeine crash.
For ages (especially in Asia and the Middle East) hibiscus tea has been used as a herbal remedy for better health and wellbeing. Its sip worthy roots can even be traced back to ancient Egypt when the new was used to reduce fever and fend off heart problems. The pretty roselle buds can also be found in a ton of tinctures and syrups and are often added to recipes in India, Africa, and Southeast Asia, and in remedies that span the globe – from the mountains of Nepal to the islands of the Caribbean
Often compared to the flavor of cranberry juice, drinking hibiscus tea brings a wealth of health benefits. Loaded with nutrients, stuffed with antioxidants, and here to help you deal with everything from hypertension to reducing heart disease risks, weight loss and complete immune system health, welcoming the floral grace of hibiscus tea into your daily routine is sure to boost your life in all the right ways.
Take a look at all the heavenly hibiscus tea benefits…
Sipping on hibiscus tea can work wonders when it comes to cutting down on your cholesterol levels. Yes, this unique little flower that is turned into hibiscus extract has been carefully studied to see if it had a positive impact on high blood pressure and cholesterol. The research showed that the 90 participants with high cholesterol who sipped hibiscus twice a day for 15 days had an increase in their HDL cholesterol levels. While LDL cholesterol and triglycerides are known as bad kinds, HDL is the good kind. While more studies still need to be done for exact results, this convinces us to get the kettle on.
Loaded with antioxidants, turning to the ritual of hibiscus tea can help give your body the ammo it needs to fight off free radicals and reduce oxidative stress and damage. Free radicals can wreak havoc on our overall health and wellbeing and upset your cells. Not only do free radicals massively contribute to speeding up the aging process (especially when it comes to the skin), but they are also linked with health conditions and a whole range of diseases including cancer, dementia, diabetes, and heart disease, among others. In a comparison on tea and antioxidant content, hibiscus tea hit the number one spot thanks to its soaring levels, even smashing the popular green tea off the top charts. For those who want to stay young and fresh and free from inflammation, it's time to top up your antioxidants with a cup or two of hibiscus tea.
3) Lower Blood Pressure
Heart health and blood pressure are truly where the sour and delicious hibiscus tea seems to shine. A study showed that just drinking three cups of tea in adults at risk of hypertension was enough to see a drop in their systolic blood pressure in comparison to those given a placebo. Full of anti-inflammatory properties, hibiscus tea is great for your heart health and can help to keep your blood pressure on the right side.
4) Weight Loss
While bodyweight is a complex issue and dealing with unhealthy obesity requires a proper schedule of exercise and lifestyle changes, hibiscus tea is considered to be a contender in helping with body fat. More studies are needed but from the info collected, it shows that sipping hibiscus tea for 3 months helped people to lower their body weight and cut down on abdominal fat. Not bad for something so delicious.
5) Immune System
Snuggle up with a cup of hibiscus tea and let all that vitamin C give your immune system a much-needed boost. Vitamin C is one of the major players for fending off colds and flu that come with the seasonal change. This vibrant red tea can keep you in tip-top shape thanks to its abundance of vitamins and minerals, the Vit C can also help your body to fend off all kinds of infections. In short, all it takes is a cup to feel as strong as an ox.
6) Blood Sugar
All those type 2 diabetics out there who want a helping hand when it comes to managing their blood sugar, hibiscus could be your ticket to golden glucose levels. Animal research has shown that the extract of hibiscus lowered blood glucose by 12%. As hibiscus is also low in sugar and light in calories it won’t throw your levels off the charts. The added bonus of being able to encourage HDL cholesterol levels and lowering the LDL levels brings another exciting angle for diabetics looking for a lush healing tea to help.
7) Liver Health
Whether you have been partying a little hard or just want to keep your liver in the best health possible, sipping hibiscus tea can be just the ticket. This pomegranate-colored beverage has been studied for helping to prevent liver damage as it can help increase the concentration of detoxifying enzymes. While these studies were conducted using hibiscus extract and more human studies are needed, it stands to reason that hibiscus tea can be a useful tool in the fight against future liver problems.
Rich in polyphenols, hibiscus tea could serve as another sword in the fight against cancer. Polyphenols are compounds that are loaded with anti-cancer properties. In the test tube studies done, hibiscus extract was seen to reduce cell growth and help stop plasma cell and mouth cancer. Other studies also showed the tropical plant leaf from preventing prostate cancer growth from spreading, and inhibited stomach cancer cells up to 52%.
Wave goodbye to bacteria simply by raising a glass of your favorite style of hibiscus tea. Bacteria are responsible for a whole host of health problems both short term and long term. From bronchitis to the dreaded UTI’s, keeping your body on the defense when it comes to bacteria is a surefire way to stay at the top of your game. Not only does hibiscus tea come with a heap of antioxidants but it also brings antibacterial properties to the table too. Test tube studies have shown that hibiscus extract can inhibit E-coli and in other studies hibiscus was also seen to fend off eight different strains of bacteria. Of course, more human-based studies are needed for a clear picture but we are happy to have hibiscus on our shelf.
While we already mentioned the fact that hibiscus tea is loaded with flu-fighting vitamin C, this dream drink doesn’t stop there. Not only will you find Vit C in this tea but you will also find Vitamin K which helps bone metabolism and blood clotting. Hibiscus tea also comes topped up with copper and potassium, which are an essential source of iron and keep our nerves and immune system functioning. Finally, it also has anthocyanins which are responsible for that rich ruby coloring but also helps to prevent chronic disease and are ripe with antibacterial benefits too.
11) Pushes Off Cravings
It seems that this sour tea can help to keep cravings at bay thanks to its sweet fruity notes and low-calorie count. Next time you have an urge to reach for the pantry and pull out something sugary for a quick hit, you could just make yourself a hibiscus tea and feed your body’s needs instead.
We love a little after-dinner sip to stop us feeling bloated and heavy and ready for bed. Again, hibiscus tea makes an amazing aperitif every time. As hibiscus tea works as mother nature’s diuretic, it pulls salt from the body all while keeping you hydrated and as regular as can be. As it’s also low in sugar and not a caffeinated tea, you can sip it all night long without worrying about it interrupting sleep.
Still doing the good work from tip to toe, hibiscus tea also gets to work on keeping your kidneys flushed and fabulous. Animal studies have shown that hibiscus helped to prevent calcium crystals turning into those tough and terrible kidney stones. Of course, more research needs to be done to check it’s a similar outcome for humans, but this is a great start for those who want to steer clear of kidney stones.
Hibiscus tea is a delicious treat any time of day. The slightly sour taste is full of tang, the color a true treat when you want to serve something bright and beautiful, and all the health benefits come in as an added bonus. From a delicious cocktail base to a cozy cup on the sofa, hibiscus tea is the perfect reminder of how plant power can be the perfect remedy.