In Hawaii, hibiscus is best known as the official state flower. It often adorns the ears of wāhine, indicating their romantic status. A flower worn on the right means she’s available, while a flower on the left means she’s taken. However, this flowering plant is special to more places than just Hawaii. With several hundred species, it grows in various colors, shapes, and sizes, in places with warm climates all over the world. Roselle, or Hibiscus sabdariffa, is a species native to West Africa. This variety is edible and the key ingredient in our Hibiscus Bliss and MANA | Hibiscus Tea for Immunity. Don’t try to eat your average backyard hibiscus!
Slide over chamomile, hibiscus is another great caffeine free tea option. The drink’s beautiful color and Island vibe is perfect for festive drinks like a tropical fruit punch with a splash of pineapple juice or a sangria. Not only will hibiscus tea make you happy, it’s also healthy! As one happy customer wrote, “(Hibiscus Bliss) is some of the best hibiscus tea I’ve ever had.”
Benefits of Hibiscus Tea
Lowers Blood Pressure
Studies indicate hibiscus may have an ability to lower blood pressure. High blood pressure can be dangerous because it can lead to a variety of other health issues, like heart attacks, strokes, and kidney disease. Consuming hibiscus can alleviate the risk of these problems. A 2015 review of five studies even concluded that hibiscus tea reduced systolic blood pressure by an average of 7.58 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure by an average of 3.53 mmHg.
Boosts Liver Function
Hibiscus has been shown to also promote liver health, keeping the organ functioning normally, especially under stress. One study of overweight people demonstrated that consuming hibiscus extract for twelve weeks improved liver steatosis, a condition in which fat accumulates in the liver, often leading to liver failure.
Helps Prevent Cancer
Hibiscus contains a high level of polyphenols, compounds known for their anti-cancer properties. One study of mouth and plasma cancer cells showed hibiscus to reduce invasiveness and hinder cell growth. Similarly, another study showed that hibiscus extract prevented the spread of prostate cancer cells.
Hibiscus has antibacterial properties. Studies have shown that it can inhibit the effects of E. coli and other strains of bacteria that can cause infections. However, these effects have only been shown in laboratory studies. While it is clear that the plant fights bacteria, researchers are still studying its effects on humans.
High cholesterol is another health condition that can lead to an array of other issues, including a heart attack or stroke. It is also incredibly common in the adult population, affecting millions. Hibiscus may help to maintain healthy cholesterol levels, though more research is needed to be sure.
Encourages Weight Loss
Hibiscus extract has also shown to promote weight loss. A study showed that, compared with a placebo, participants who took hibiscus extract for twelve weeks showed reduced body weight, body fat, body mass index, and hip-to-waist ratio. While hibiscus extract is much more concentrated than tea, its effects are indicative of the possibilities presented by hibiscus tea.
Hibiscus Tea Side Effects
Consult your doctor if you are pregnant, nursing or taking prescription medication as hibiscus can cause blood pressure to drop, stimulate blood flow and weight loss. Hibiscus tea has been shown to be friendly on the kidneys and urinary tract and it may help to prevent kidney stones.
Hibiscus Tea Recipe
Hibiscus tea is high in vitamin C and can be very tart. One way to make it more palatable is to add sugar, as in agua de jamaica, a popular Mexican drink. At Tea Chest Hawaii, our goal was to make a hibiscus tea bag that brewed an enjoyably drinkable beverage with little to no added sugar.
Hibiscus Bliss is available in both loose leaf and tea bags. Its beautiful crimson hue and refreshing, tropical taste include notes of citrus and berries. MANA is packed with antioxidants because each ingredient - cinnamon, hibiscus, black tea, mint, moringa and mamaki - are polyphenol powerhouses according to their ORAC values.
Not only is the flower beautiful and culturally significant, hibiscus has a variety of health benefits. The next time you put a pua over your ear, make a delicious cup of hibiscus tea to complement the lovely flower.
Written by Kahiau Among