hibiscus

Flor de Jamaica, sorrel, karkadé, bissap… hibiscus goes by many names around the world, and wherever it grows, it is beloved. Generations of people have dried this intensely beautiful flower and brewed it into a tasty medicinal tea, used as a folk remedy for liver and heart ailments. Recent research confirms that hibiscus tea brings real physical benefits with its delicious flavor and bright color. Here’s what you need to know, and how to make an easy, flavorful and heart-healthy tea.

Hibiscus and Your Health

In 2008, a team of researchers found that patients with high blood pressure were able to ease their condition in six weeks – simply by drinking hibiscus tea every day. This was not the first study to examine hibiscus’ benefit, but its results were impressive. Since then, scores of studies have tested hibiscus tea on everything from diabetes to brain function. The consensus: It’s a powerful antioxidant that has a wide range of benefits, most notably an ability to lower cholesterol and blood pressure.

Don’t have high blood pressure? Hibiscus tea can still help cool you down on a hot day, protecting your body against aging while making your head feel more clear. It’s a perfect summer drink: Easy, delicious and packed with benefits.

Hibiscus Tea Recipe

  • 1/2 cup dried hibiscus flowers or 6 hibiscus tea bags
  • 7 cups water
  • 1/2 cup organic honey
  • Fresh lime juice to taste, up to 1/2 cup
  1. In a stainless pot, bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Add the hibiscus and remove the pot from heat. Alternatively, set up a sun tea pitcher on the porch.
  2. Stir in the honey. Let the mixture stand at least ten minutes, up to an hour.
  3. Strain the infusion into a glass pitcher (careful not to use plastic, which will be permanently stained).
  4. Add water and lime juice to taste. Serve over ice, with lime slices or hibiscus petals as a garnish.

Hibiscus isn’t the only edible flower with health benefits! Read about more of summer’s delicious edible blooms.

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image: Challiyil Eswaramangalath Vipin.