People use hibiscus calyces in many herbal teas. In Mexico, they make a popular drink called jamaica, a cold tea which tastes like a tart combination of cranberry juice and lemonade. Hibiscus is a native of India and Malaysia, and is a traditional herbal remedy in southeast Asia for a variety of conditions including headache and other pain, diarrhea, boils, burns, cough and asthma, according to the Boston University School of Medicine.
Hibiscus tea does not contain caffeine. However it does have antioxidant, hypocholesterolemic and antihypertensive properties, according to the "Journal of Nutrition." Hibiscus contains the antioxidants delphinidin and cyanidine, which are anthocyanins, as well as esculetin and vitamin C. Anthocyanins are the compounds that give red, blue and purple fruits and vegetables their deep colors. Like other antioxidants, they fight the damage caused by free radical oxygen molecules in the body, molecules that contribute to aging and degenerative diseases.
According to "Internal Medicine News" and the "Journal of Nutrition," regularly drinking hibiscus tea can help lower systolic blood pressure. This is especially beneficial to people with borderline high blood pressure, as it could bring their blood pressure back into a healthy range.
According to George Mason University, hibiscus tea reduces plaque buildup in arteries due to cholesterol. It also stimulates intestinal peristalsis and is a diuretic. In addition, hibiscus contains ascorbic acid, vitamin C, which has also been credited with reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. Hibiscus contains 12 to 16 milligrams ascorbic acid per 100 grams.
Hibiscus is in a number of skin care products. Manufacturers claim that skin care products containing hibiscus relax wrinkles, tighten skin and reduce dark circles and puffiness. Because of the abundant antioxidants in they put hibiscus in skin care products to moisturize, protect and nourish skin.
To make hibiscus tea, steep 1 ounce of dried hibiscus blossoms in 4 cups of boiling water for about 15 minutes. Strain and sweeten with your favorite sweetener. Drink hot or cold. It is very refreshing as a cold drink in hot weather.
Use unsweetened hibiscus tea to replace the water in any red gelatin dessert, such as black cherry, strawberry or cherry gelatin.
- Boston University School of Medicine: Hibiscus Rosa Sinensis
- Medicinal Plants: Hibiscus, Roselle
- "Internal Medicine News;" Hibiscus Tea Lowers BP in Clinical Trial; B. Jancin; Feb. 2009
- Linus Pauling Institute: Vitamin C