This hibiscus tea recipe is better than Starbucks with its refreshing yet sweet taste. Hibiscus tea has some amazing health benefits too, which is a nice bonus! Hibiscus tea can be consumed either as iced tea or hot to make it an all year round delicious herbal tea.
However, hibiscus tea (like all other things) also have a few side effects, so I’ll work through it all in this article. At the bottom I’ll share my kick-ass refreshing hibiscus tea recipe with a secret ingredient!
Hibiscus Tea Health Benefits
I’ll get more into detail in a few of the health benefits, but because there are so many, I’m giving a list of other amazing benefits as well.
It is high in minerals
Hibiscus tea is very popular all over the world and many places it’s consumed as a medicinal tea. It is naturally low in calories and is caffeine-free. According to USDA Food Database it does contain many minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous and potassium. Of course, the nutrition will also depend upon the other ingredients in the recipe.
Because hibiscus tea in itself is really tart, you often add sugar. This will naturally add to the carbohydrates and calories, but it’s still high in these minerals, making it a healthier drink than many others. Just keep the sugar in mind.
Hibiscus tea can aid weight loss
Hibiscus tea aids weight loss because of 4 main components in the hibiscus: organic acids, anthocyanins, polysaccharides, and flavonoids. These work together to balance your metabolism and make weight loss more manageable.
Hibiscus tea lowers inflammation and inflammation is said to be associated with weight gain. This is mainly because it hinders your body to process the glucose properly – which can result in weight gain and diabetes.
Because this herbal tea is a natural anti-depressant and can reduce stress levels, makes it also a great weight loss helper.
Another major health benefit of this herbal tea is how it can lower your cholesterol. A study from 2009 shows that hibiscus tea consumption reduces cholesterol, triglycerides, and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol in patients with type II diabetes. A lot of fancy words, but it basically just means that it lowers your cholesterol which increases your heart health!
Prevents AND Treats High Blood Pressure
This is also because of the anti-inflammatory reasons I stated in the weight loss paragraph. For it to lower blood pressure you would need to drink two cups a day. In a 2008 research study, the volunteers who drank hibiscus tea had a 7.2 point drop in their systolic blood pressure, compared to a 1.3 point drop in those who drank placebo. (And am I the only one impressed by what placebo can do to your body?)
Amazing health benefits
- Lowers high blood pressure
- Aids weight loss
- Natural antidepressant
- May help prevent kidney stones
- Lowers cholesterol
- Protects the liver
- May protect against certain cancers
- Restoring hormone balance (and also relieves menstrual cramps)
- Improves digestion
- The tea with the most antiviral properties (fights the flu)
- The antioxidants relieves pain and may help to get a good night’s sleep
- Can boost hair growth and hair color
I’m sure the list could go on, but you get the picture. I’m not getting into detail on every point in this list, but I’m linking to other great sources to get deep into the health benefits of hibiscus tea.
Hibiscus Tea Side Effects
By reading the health benefits you’re probably thinking you need to drink 2 liters of this amazing health drink every day. It may be super healthy, but it also has some side effects. Particularly concerning pregnant women and some types of medicine.
- Lowers blood pressure: Some already have low blood pressure, and so drinking a tea that does exactly that may result in too low blood pressure.
- Pregnant women: it is not a drink for pregnant women because they often have lower blood pressure (read above). Hibiscus may also stimulate menstruation and blood flow.
- May interfere with some medicine: as with almost everything here in life, some medicine just doesn’t go with certain foods. In particular diabetes medicine, because hibiscus decrease blood sugar levels, the diabetes medicine may need to be adjusted (of course by a healthcare provider).
Don’t get put off by the side effects
It is not only a super refreshing and delicious drink, but it is really healthy too despite its side effects. If you’re not pregnant or on specific medicines, this is such a good herbal tea that happens to have amazing health benefits.
Where to Get the Hibiscus
I usually buy dried hibiscus flowers on sites such as iHerb.com (not sponsored). You can find it in most health or superfood stores. The kind of hibiscus flower you are after is called Hibiscus Sabdariffa, but it’s also usually only that you will find anyway. Other names for the flower are roselle, rosella or flor de Jamaica.
How to Make This Hibiscus Tea Recipe
About the sugar
To get full potential out of the health benefits, adding sugar won’t help. It will still be hibiscus with all it’s amazing health benefits, but it will also obviously contain sugar which isn’t good for your body, although it will taste terrific. Honey is a golden middle ground here. It will still be sweet and sugary, but also contains some nutrients.
I didn’t originally make this hibiscus tea as a health drink. All I wanted was a refreshing iced tea using my glorious dried hibiscus flowers. I taste tested and realized that hibiscus certainly is super tart. I’m not the hugest fan of tart and un-sweet drinks, so I added sugar. Now, the drink is amazingly delicious with just the right balance between sweet and tart.
The hibiscus tea recipe
So keeping in mind that, you add as much sugar as you see fit. It is completely optional and can be omitted altogether. And you may also use honey instead of white sugar. 2/3 cup sugar equals 1/2 cup honey. If you use honey, you can add it to the hibiscus tea after it has steeped for 20 minutes and cooled a little.
To make the hibiscus syrup, we will add 2 cups water, dried hibiscus flowers, orange juice + zest (avoiding the white rind) and sugar to a medium saucepan. Bring it up to a boil and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes. Stirring occasionally. Let it cool to room temperature before running it through a sieve. Add juice of half a lime and the remaining 4 cups of water.
This drink can be served both hot and cold
I usually drink this hibiscus tea as an iced tea, but it can also be consumed hot.
- Hibiscus Iced Tea: After adding the lime juice and water, let it cool in the fridge. Or if you’re impatient, add a few ice cubes to a glass and pour yourself a glass of delicious hibiscus tea.
- Hibiscus Hot Tea: Run it through a sieve when it’s still rather hot, add the lime juice, hot water, and enjoy right away.
I do hope you’ll try to incorporate hibiscus into your diet and enjoy this refreshing herbal tea. It is a perfect pairing with a baked grapefruit, scrambled eggs or chocolate coconut overnight oats as a wholesome and healthy breakfast.
Other refreshing drinks
- Hot Orange Drink with Lime and Chili
- Cucumber Pomegranate Lemonade (minus the vodka to stay healthier)
- Ginger Lemon Iced Tea
- Sore Throat Tea with Honey and Lemon
- Lemony Ginger Green Smoothie (great for an upset stomach)
- Blood Orange Margarita (for the festive days!)
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Comment below or tag me @thegingerwithspice on Instagram. And don’t forget to Pin it for later!
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Refreshing Hibiscus Tea and its Health Benefits
- 6 cups water divided
- 1/2 cup dried hibiscus flowers or 2 cups fresh, cleaned
- 1/2-2/3 cup sugar or 1/3-1/2 cup honey. Can be reduced or omitted*
- 1 orange zest + juice, not white rind
- 1/2 lime juice
- Make the hibiscus syrup: add 2 cups water, dried hibiscus flowers, orange juice + zest (avoiding the white rind) and sugar to a medium saucepan. Bring it up to a boil and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes. Stirring occasionally. Let it cool to room temperature.
- Sieve the flowers: Once cooled, pour the hibiscus syrup through a sieve. Add juice of half a lime juice. Mix with the remaining 4 cups of water.
- Serve it cold: After adding the lime juice and more water, let it cool in the fridge. Or if you’re impatient, add a few ice cubes to a glass and pour yourself a glass of delicious hibiscus tea.
- Serve it hot: Run it through a sieve when it’s still rather hot. Add lime juice and hot water and serve right away.