Hibiscus Flower Tea - Tart, fragrant, colorful... and healthy, too!

Hibiscus flower tea is an herbal tea or 'tisane' enjoyed hot or chilled by people in many countries around the world. Not only is this tea a delightful and effective thirst quencher (especially the iced version!), but it also has a rich, varied history in traditional medicine.

To make hibiscus tea, the dried magenta- or crimson-colored calyces of the lovely Hibiscus sabdariffa flower are steeped in boiled water. (Learn more about calyces and how healthful they are below.)

This tea is prepared in a variety of ways around the world - it may be served hot or iced; mixed with fruit, fruit juices, or alcohol (such as rum, wine, or beer); or enhanced with herbs or spices (such as mint, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, or cloves). Because hibiscus tea has a tart flavor, it is typically sweetened before serving.

Even though, for many of us, the beautiful hibiscus flower brings to mind visions of the Hawaiian Islands, the hibiscus plant is actually native to Africa.

Hibiscus Flower Tea | The Tea Talk

A member of the mallow family, hibiscus thrives in tropical and sub-tropical climates, and it is now also cultivated in Jamaica, Mexico, Thailand, Taiwan, China, Sudan, Senegal, Tanzania, Mali, and Egypt.

You may know the vibrantly colored hibiscus flower tea by another name, depending on where you live. Hibiscus tea is also known as 'sour tea,' 'roselle' or 'rosella,' 'sorrel' or 'red sorrel,' 'flor de Jamaica' or simply 'Jamaica,' 'karkade,' or 'Sudan tea.'

Not only is hibiscus tea a calming, delicious, versatile beverage, but it has a reputation as a beneficial healing tea, as well.

In various parts of the world, hibiscus flower tea is well-known for reducing high blood pressure, lowering body temperature, helping with weight management, enhancing liver health, encouraging regularity, preventing insomnia, soothing skin irritations, for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, and as a diuretic.

Is all hibiscus healthful?

Over 300 varieties of hibiscus have been identified, but the Hibiscus sabdariffa and Hibiscus rosa-sinensis varieties are especially known for their health benefits. In current research targeting hibiscus tea benefits, the variety studied is typically Hibiscus sabdariffa.

Current scientific research about the health benefits of hibiscus tea has focused primarily on this tea's ability to manage high blood pressure and provide support for those with type 2 diabetes. If you'd like to learn more about the many hibiscus tea benefits, click here.

Hibiscus flower tea is appealing, fragrant, revitalizing, and thirst quenching - and it provides many health and wellness benefits, too. Hibiscus is one of the most popular ingredients in tea blends and, if you haven't tried hibiscus tea yet, you'll have no problem at all finding a wonderful hibiscus tea or tea blend in your favorite local or online tea shop. You're sure to enjoy this tasty, healthful tea!

Why not try...

  • The sky is the limit with hibiscus tea - just follow your taste buds! How about adding your favorite fruit juice or summery wine (for an adults-only version) to iced hibiscus tea? Or maybe some fresh herbs or fruit? Or brew hot hibiscus tea with aromatic spices... Use your imagination - there's no limit to the many ways this versatile tea can be served, either hot or cold!

Does drinking hibiscus flower tea have any risks or side effects?

If you're thinking of adding high amounts of hibiscus tea (or any tea, for that matter) to your diet - say, to help manage your type 2 diabetes, to lower your blood pressure, or to help with weight loss, it's very important that you pay a visit to your healthcare provider first to discuss hibiscus herbal tea benefits and safe amounts of this herbal brew for you. This is particularly true if you are currently taking any prescribed medications or if you have high or low blood pressure.

Hibiscus Tea in an Egyptian Spice Bazaar

And, if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, it is important that you talk to your healthcare provider before drinking any hibiscus tea. Certain types of hibiscus may have emmenagogue effects (meaning they may stimulate blood flow in the pelvic area and uterus, and may encourage menstruation) and, as such, might have the potential to bring on a miscarriage.

Please protect yourself and your unborn baby by discussing hibiscus tea with your healthcare professional. Also, if you are a nursing mom, ask your healthcare provider if hibiscus tea is a safe choice for you and your little one.

Keep in mind, too that some people are very sensitive to hibiscus tea and experience tummy troubles or nausea - even vomiting - after drinking it. So, if hibiscus tea is new to you, introduce it to your diet slowly until you know how your body will react to this tea.

Hibiscus Tea Benefits & You!

If you've experienced the health benefits of hibiscus tea, why not share your thoughts and opinions about hibiscus tea with other visitors to our site? We'd love to hear from you! Click here to share your story. 

What are 'calyces?'

A 'calyx' (plural 'calyces' or 'calyxes') is the name given to all of a flower's sepals together (sepals are the leaf-like part of the flower that encloses the developing flower bud).

The calyx provides protection for the flower before it opens and, once the flower has bloomed, the calyx can still be seen at the flower's base.

Calyces are most often green, but can be found in other colors, as well - such as the vibrant crimson or magenta calyces of the hibiscus flower.

Calyces contain very high levels of vitamin C and antioxidants, and have been used in traditional medicine for many years for treating various health issues and for supporting good health.

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