Hibiscus flowers are beautiful and fragrant and add a nice charm to any garden area. Apart from being beautiful, hibiscus flowers are also used to make tea, which is also known as “sour tea”.
Tea is usually made from the flowers, leaves and calyces of the hibiscus and is dark red in color.
This herbal tea is rich in antioxidants in the form of vitamins A and C as well as anthocyanins and malic acid. Being rich in antioxidants, this tea combats free-radical damage throughout your body and reduces inflammation.
Other nutrients in hibiscus tea include B vitamins, copper, zinc, iron, protein and omega-3 essential fatty acids. Plus, this tea is naturally low-calorie and caffeine-free.
Given its high nutritional profile, hibiscus tea offers a wide array of health benefits. Even experts recommend drinking this herbal tea.
How to Make Hibiscus Tea:
- Add 2 dried hibiscus flowers to 2 cups of water.
- Bring the water to a boil, then let it simmer for 5 minutes.
- Strain it, and add raw honey and a little lemon juice for taste.
- Drink this tea once or twice daily to boost your health.
The tea is very refreshing and tastes slightly tart. You can drink it either as a hot or iced tea.
To improve the taste, you can also add spices like cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and ginger.
Here are some of the reasons why you should start drinking hibiscus tea.
1. Lowers Blood Pressure
One of the most interesting benefits of hibiscus tea is its blood pressure-lowering capability.
Being rich in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, hibiscus tea helps reduce blood pressure levels significantly. Also, being a diuretic, drinking this tea increases urination, which helps the kidneys remove excess sodium from the body, thus lowering your blood pressure.
A 2010 study published in the Journal of Nutrition suggests daily consumption of hibiscus tea helps lower blood pressure in pre- and mildly hypertensive adults. Hence, it may prove an effective component of the dietary changes recommended for people with these conditions.
A meta-analysis of randomized controlled studies published in 2015 in the Journal of Hypertension found that drinking hibiscus tea significantly lowered both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. However, more trials are necessary to validate these results.
2. Improves Mood
Hibiscus tea is also beneficial for your mental health. The flavonoids in hibiscus help alleviate depression and improve your mood.
In a 2012 study published in the Indian Journal of Pharmacology, researchers tested the effects of hibiscus flavonoids on the central nervous system functioning in mice. They found that the anthocyanins and anthocyanidins possess potential antidepressant activity and have therapeutic potential in the treatment of central nervous system disorders. However, this research provides evidence at preclinical levels only.
Whenever you are feeling down, simply sip a cup of warm hibiscus tea and you will soon feel better.
3. Improves Cholesterol Levels
Apart from reducing blood pressure, hibiscus tea is also effective at lowering low-density lipoprotein (LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol) levels. It has anti-atherosclerosis properties as well as antioxidant compounds that help prevent the oxidation of LDL.
It also prevents plaque buildup in the arteries, thereby reducing the risk of atherosclerosis and heart disease.
A 2009 study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine reports that diabetes patients who drank hibiscus tea twice daily for a month ended up with higher HDL levels and lower LDL levels.
Certain studies, however, have also shown mixed results about the effectiveness of hibiscus in reducing serum cholesterol levels.
4. Aids Weight Loss
Drinking this herbal tea also supports weight loss. In fact, hibiscus is a common ingredient in many weight loss products.
There are several nutrients in it that help lower the body’s absorption of fats and carbohydrates. Also, it inhibits the production of amylase, which helps in the absorption of carbohydrates and starches, thus helping you lose weight.
It also speeds up the metabolism, another important factor that supports gradual weight loss. Also, being diuretic in nature, this herb helps shed water weight.
5. Boosts Immunity
Drinking hibiscus tea on a daily basis can also improve your immunity. The potent antioxidants in this herbal tea help fight free-radical damage and promote the production of white blood cells, which are important for fighting infections.
Also, the anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties of hibiscus help prevent you from catching a cold or the flu and help the body ward off various infections.
When cold and flu season hits, do not forget to drink this herbal tea regularly to support a healthy immune system.
6. Relieves Menstrual Cramps
One traditional use of hibiscus tea is to provide relief from menstrual cramps as well as bloating. When you drink the warm tea, it has a calming effect on your whole body and helps reduce the pain.
It also helps restore your hormonal balance, which in turn can reduce symptoms like mood swings, depression and overeating.
So if you’re experiencing menstrual pains and bloating, drink a cup of hibiscus tea to help ease the problems.
To reap the health benefits of hibiscus tea, drink it in moderation. One to two cups a day is recommended. Also adhere to the following cautionary notes:
- If you are diabetic, monitor your blood sugar level when drinking this herbal tea.
- If you take high blood pressure medication, monitor your blood pressure levels when consuming hibiscus tea.
- Do not drink hibiscus tea if you:
– Havel low blood pressure.
– Are taking chloroquine, a medication for malaria.
– Are pregnant or breastfeeding.
– Develop an allergic reaction after drinking the tea.