Welcome to the impressive health benefits of drinking hibiscus tea, and the wonderful world of Hibiscus! Hibiscus is thought to help almost everything, from blood pressure to dementia, reducing wrinkles to fighting off infections and even killing cancer cells.
But is this ruby red drink really the powerhouse of health it’s claimed to be?
Table of Contents
What Is Hibiscus Tea?
Hibiscus tea is a lovely, red coloured drink which you can drink hot or cold.
Hibiscus is the name given to the whole plant which has hundreds of varieties. In some parts of Africa and India the leaves are used as food and for medicinal purposes, but in Europe, it’s the flower we use most.
For hibiscus tea, the part of the flower which supports the leafy flower, (called the calyx) is dried and used for making tea.
Buying Hibiscus Tea Online
You’ll find a variation in the price and in the quantity, and in the size of the flower. You can also buy broken flowers, but I prefer the whole ones. I buy my hibiscus flowers from Amazon.
How to Make Hibiscus Tea
You can actually just buy a teabag and add water, but it won’t have the health benefits of real hibiscus tea, or the stronger (delicious) hibiscus flavour. So we’re talking about buying the actual dried hibiscus flowers and making your own tea at home.
How much hibiscus to put in will depend entirely on your preferences: I like mine a dark ruby red colour with a pungent, sharp, fruity flavour, while my husband likes it pale, a transparent red with gentle hibiscus flavours. The only way to know is to try it.
If you make it strong, it has a powerful flavour, tart and sharp, yet at the same time fruity. If you don’t like the sharpness of the flavour, just make it weaker until it becomes a smooth experience.
Put a small amount of hibiscus flowers into a tea infuser (available here on Amazon) in a cup or teapot and fill full of boiling or near boiling water. Leave to stand for 5 minutes before removing the infuser and drinking.
If you don’t have a tea infuser yet, they may be a very simple invention but boy they are handy! Visit Amazon or click on the image above to check out the tea infuser.
What does Hibiscus Tea Taste Like?
Most hibiscus drinks you’ll come across have added sugar or sweetener. You may have had a delicious, bright red cold drink made from hibiscus, but if it was sweet it will be full of something added to give it a sweet touch.
I prefer to drink hibiscus with nothing added because I don’t like adding sweet things to anything I eat or drink. It’s entirely up to you but from a health angle, pure hibiscus is more beneficial.
Without the added sweeteners, hibiscus tea has a tangy, some people think bitter, taste. It has a lovely enticing dark red colour and I love it!
If you do intermittent fasting, you can drink hibiscus tea during your fast without breaking the fast, as long as the hibiscus tea you’re drinking has nothing added to it. (See our post on intermittent fasting for vegans if you aren’t familiar with it already.)
The health benefits of hibiscus are multiple and medicinal – so be sure to drink the right amount for you and not overdo it (see limitations below).
Astonishing Properties of Hibiscus
Most of the claims of medicinal properties that are associated with hibiscus have been scientifically tested to some extent or other, but not to a sufficient level to be considered scientifically proven or beyond doubt, yet.
Therefore, these positive benefits remain in the classification of ‘may well’ be beneficial to health. But hey ho, years of evidence is sometimes worth listening to just as much as scientific evidence.
#1 Fight Free Radicals
Hibiscus is packed with antioxidants which are recognised for their ability to fight off free radicals. This may improve all sorts of health aspects like improving skin tone, general anti-aging effects, protection from dementia as well as cardiovascular disease.
Free radicals are known for attacking your cells and speeding up the ageing process as well as making you more susceptible to disease.
Products high in antioxidants are also considered healthful and beneficial for fighting off inflammation and increasing resistance to disease.
#2 Reduce Blood Pressure
Several studies have shown that hibiscus tea significantly lowers blood pressure, though more testing is needed to confirm the results definitively. Drinking hibiscus tea regularly can reduce both the systolic and the diastolic blood pressure.
Throughout the world and throughout history, hibiscus has been shown to reduce blood pressure and this isn’t a vague concept but one based on evidence, even in the absence of extensive testing.
(For that reason, hibiscus is not recommended if you’re already taking blood pressure medicine.)
My mother has had high blood pressure (it’s volatile and goes up and down) so she keeps a check on it daily, managing it with natural means – the food she eats and the things she drinks. She’s found a direct link between drinking hibiscus and bringing her blood pressure down.
And she’s not the only one. Hibiscus is a wonderfully natural way to control your blood pressure. Note: if you have high blood pressure, you should consult your medical advisor or doctor.
This is one of the most intriguing health benefits of drinking hibiscus tea: its ability to kill cancer cells. Hibiscus is high in polyphenols, a naturally occurring compound which has anti-cancer properties, including suppressing or inhibiting the growth of cancer cells in prostrate cancer, melanoma, breast cancer and more.
One test involving human and mice melanoma tissue found that hibiscus leaf polyphenols inhibited the viability of the cancer cells by 50% in a test of 24 hours, while leaving healthy skin tissue intact. Source: Nutra-Ingredients.
Other test-tube studies showed positive results in hibiscus leaf extract stopping the spread of prostrate cancer cells, stomach cancer cells and mouth cancer cells.
One more amazing reason to drink Hibiscus tea!
#4 Help Lower Cholesterol
In one studies done on rats, hibiscus significantly suppressed blood lipid levels including triglycerides and cholesterol over a period of 12 weeks. In another study however, there was no significant decrease in cholesterol, and these are just two examples of many conflicting results from testing hibiscus and its effects on cholesterol.
It’s been used as a traditional medicine for lowering cholesterol for a long time and continues to be a safe, natural medicine which you can include in your array of healthy drinking habits but the definitive jury about its ability to lower cholesterol is still out.
If you want to lower your cholesterol, in addition to drinking hibiscus tea, you may want to consider these vegan cheese recipes to help you give up dairy (as well as other animal products).
I believe there is enough circumstantial evidence to include hibiscus and its possible ability to reduce blood level fats as one of its powerful health benefits in this list.
#5 Weight Loss
Hibiscus reportedly helps with weight loss and a few studies have shown positive results, but again the testing isn’t on a large enough scale and many of the tests were on mice so until there’s more extensive human testing, the official jury is out.
They say that where there’s smoke there’s fire, and for years hibiscus has been used as a healthy aid to losing weight partly because it may break down fat cells and is suspected to reduce belly fat.
The way I look at it is that this is a delicious and healthy low calorie drink, so you can’t really go wrong by including it in your weight loss program. And as well as drinking hibiscus, you may like to try intermittent fasting, which has had some amazing effects for lowering body fat mass and consequently, weight loss.
#6 Liver Health
The polyphenols in hibiscus have a wide range of effects, including helping to promote a healthy liver. In tests, hibiscus showed positive effects on reducing non-alcoholic fatty liver (or liver steatosis) and promoting a healthy liver.
Drinking Hibiscus – Precautions
Because of its power to lower blood sugar levels, you should consult your doctor before taking hibiscus if you’re going to have surgery, if you’re pregnant or if you’re on blood pressure medication.
As hibiscus could theoretically lower your blood pressure too far, use caution and either monitor your blood sugar or be careful not to drink too much quantity.
Other Considerations for Overall Health
If you’re new to going vegan, read this guide to starting a vegan lifestyle to make sure you cover all angles.
Our bodies are designed to keep moving. The fact that so many people believe they can’t touch their toes because of their age is testament to our dis-connect with our own physicality as well as a disconnect with our soul.
I believe, that if you’re looking to include some exercise in your lifestyle, there’s no better way than to learn yoga from home for free. It will bring you untold health benefits to complement your hibiscus tea. And if you want to be part of an online community while learning yoga, then you can check out Grokker for online yoga videos for a small monthly fee.
Vitamin B12 is an essential supplement if you’re considering a vegan diet. But actually, what many people don’t realise is that deficiency in this vitamin is common even amongst omnivores.
The meat is no longer raised on grass so even the animals need to be supplemented with b12 if the meat is to contain it.
Your body will eliminate excess b12 so you can take a supplement without fear of taking too much. Read about the astonishing effects of this vitamin before you discount its importance.
Adding Seeds to Your Meals
One easy and tasty way to add nutrition, protein and antioxidants to your meals is to get into the habit of eating seeds on top of your food.
Chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds are all super foods which will give your health a boost, with benefits ranging from heart health, brain health, immune system, anti-cancer, skin health, among others.
Since discovering the benefits of flax, I eat 3 tbs ground flax seed once a day on top of my meal and on the other meals I have the rest of the seeds. Give it a go and see for yourself the wonder of these little power houses.
Conclusion on The Impressive Benefits of Drinking Hibiscus Tea
It seems that hibiscus is a healthy option with far reaching effects. It’s packed with antioxidants, is antibacterial, anti inflammatory and is believed to be anti carcinogenic.
It can probably promote liver health and gut health, lower cholesterol and aid in weight loss, reduce inflammation and fight against bacteria.
If you’re interested in veganism, you can read about being vegan and what it means to me or about why people choose veganism for the environment. Or take a look at these top 10 tips for a vegan kitchen or our guide to starting a vegan lifestyle.
You don’t have to be vegan to enjoy hibiscus tea!