Here’s to Your Hibiscus Health

©By Dori Cranmore RN

 

 

Did you know that hibiscus herbal tea is not only delicious, but also a very healthy beverage?  Pretty much any herb can be used to make tea, but one of the prettiest is that of Hibiscus. It is served hot or cold and contains no caffeine.

This healthful hibiscus tea has several characteristics that make it much more valuable than conventional teas.  All over the world people drink hibiscus tea for health; (hibiscus tea can help lower blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar) for cooling; (hibiscus tea is a refrigerant and helps cool the body when needed). Other benefits include preventing bladder infections and constipation if taken regularly.

Unquestionably, brewed hibiscus is a stunning refresher, bold, tart and beautiful.  Unlike tea, however, it is not made from leaves, of the flowers.  The tall, slender hibiscus plant produces tiny pink flowers, which wither quickly and fall off, leaving seedpods behind.  Big, fleshy red calyxes grow around the pods, and it is these juicy calyxes that are harvested and dried in the sun to become the blackish-red bits used in teas.

The species Hibiscus Sabdariffa, is also known as Red Tea, China Rose, Red Sorrell, Roselle, Jamaica Tea, and Sudanese Tea.  It was used by the Chinese to treat dandruff, hair breakage and help stimulate hair growth. Making a tea and using it as a rinse for the hair works well.

Drinking a cup of hibiscus tea after meals can reduce the absorption of dietary carbohydrates and assist in weight loss.  Newer studies are indicating drinking 3 cups of hibiscus tea may help keep blood sugar in a normal range.

Hibiscus is rich in Vitamin C so it is a great immune booster to aid in fighting off viruses.  Hibiscus juice, with salt, pepper, and molasses, can be taken as a remedy for nausea.

Because of its muscle relaxing abilities it is not recommended for pregnant women.  Children can benefit by drinking hibiscus tea and they love it for the bright red color and tangy flavor.

Here is a fun recipe:

4-6 cups water

4 TBSP organic dried Hibiscus

1 cinnamon stick and grated lemon or lime peeling

Add ¼ cup Agave syrup or honey to taste.

Bring water to a boil and remove from heat. Place ingredients in the water and cover to steep for 10 minutes (longer is not better). Strain and serve over ice. This will surely be a hit at any gathering.

Dori Cranmore is a registered nurse and owner of All About Herbs, inc in Wasilla. 376-8327