Hibiscus Tea: a Healthy Alternative

Hibiscus has a myriad of health benefits, in addition to tasting great.

  • lowers blood pressure and cholesterol
  • high in antioxidants
  • Anti-Inflammatory and Antibacterial
  • Diuretic effect
  • Antidepressant
  • weight loss

Weight Loss: Hibiscus tea is also beneficial for losing weight. If you consume food that is rich in carbohydrates, that means that it contains sugar and starch, so you are likely to gain weight. However, research studies have suggested that hibiscus extract lowers the absorption of starch and glucose and may help with weight loss. Hibiscus inhibits the production of amylase, which helps in the absorption of carbohydrates and starch, so drinking hibiscus tea prevents that absorption from occurring. Therefore, hibiscus tea is found in many weight loss products.

There are some caveats for possible side effects. I personally have never suffered these, but I want to include them if you’re not comfortable clicking links:)

Hibiscus Tea – Side effects

Although hibiscus tea is a health enhancer and a natural weight loss booster, there are some possible side effects you should be aware of.

Blood Pressure: The health benefits of hibiscus tea include lowering blood pressure (anti-hypertensive property). Therefore, it is not recommended for people that already have low blood pressure, a condition called hypotension. It may cause faintness, dizziness and can even damage the heart or brain if it is consumed by an individual with low blood pressure.

Pregnancy and Fertility: Hibiscus tea is not recommended for pregnant women, particularly due to its emmenagogue effects which may stimulate menstruation or blood flow in the uterus or pelvic region. For those undergoing hormonal treatments or taking birth control pills, it is recommended to consult your health specialist regarding any consumption of hibiscus tea, and let him give you a yes or no.

Hallucinatory Effect: Some people may feel intoxicated or experience hallucination when drinking hibiscus tea. Therefore, you should be somewhat cautious until you know how your body react to the tea. Don’t drive a car or try anything particularly dangerous until you know what its effects are on your system.

Allergy: Some people might develop allergic reactions such as itchy red eyes, sinus, or hay fever when consuming hibiscus tea.

If you’ve never had hibiscus tea, (not that over sugared version sold in bottles and cans) it has a tart, raspberry/cranberry like flavor, a beautiful deep ruby red color, and and crisp summer like fragrance.

I buy dried hibiscus flowers in the Hispanic section of the grocery store. A 3oz bag makes 3 pitchers full of iced tea, easily. The 3oz bag is about $1.29, so it costs less for 3 pitchers than for 1 can of soda!

Simple Iced Hibiscus Tea

  • 1oz dried hibiscus flowers
  • 3 cups water + water to fill pitcher afterwards
  • juice of 2 lemons (optional, but trust me on this -it makes it even better)
  • sweetener to taste (I add 1 Tablespoon Natural Mate Stevia/Erythritol blend, but I don’t like it very sweet)
  • 2 quart pitcher filled 1/2 with ice

In a saucepan (Not enamel -it will stain*) bring the hibiscus flowers and 3 cups water to a simmer. Let simmer for 5 minutes, then turn off the heat, cover and let it steep 30 minutes. The flowers will swell and it will look like there’s about 1 cup of water left.

(You now have a hibiscus concentrate that has a number of uses)

Strain through a mesh colander or cheesecloth over the ice in the pitcher, pressing the liquid out of the flowers if you can.

Add sweetener, stir well, then fill with water and the lemon juice, if using.

Refrigerate an hour, then enjoy!

The tea is also excellent hot.

*Hibiscus is used as a natural dye for a reason: it stains everything lol. Beautiful color, bit still, be careful pouring it.

Other uses for the concentrate: make gelatin; store as a concentrate and add 2-3T to water for individual servings; add sweetener and make it into a syrup or jelly(gelatin and sweetener (jalapeno or red pepper if you want a tart/sweet/spicy jelly), add a little more water and cook down once strained).

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