The Ultimate Elixir: Hibiscus Tea

More than ever, smart people are being proactive with nutrition to avoid accelerated aging and disease. Research proves that foods and beverages high in antioxidants protect our cells from the dangers of free radicals, one of the leading contributors to aging and illness. Most health conscious people are now aware that green tea/matcha is loaded with powerful free radical scavengers. What most people don’t know is that there is tea that is even more cell-protective: hibiscus.

This refreshing and deep ruby red beverage deserves more respect than it receives. It delivers more anti-oxidant protection that any other known botanical (of the 282 types tested). It has a cooling, refreshing, astringent and sour taste (similar to cranberry) that blends well with many other herbs and spices. The popular “zinger” teas feature hibiscus as the first ingredient. This inexpensive, zero calorie, readily available and caffeine-free beverage may change your life.

Hibiscus sabdariffa (also known as roselle or red sorrel) is an easily recognizable tropical flower. The plant traditionally used for tea has yellow flowers with a red center. The sepal, a small structure at the base of the flower, contains the nutrients and benefits.  It is a rich source of ascorbic acid (vitamin C), an essential antioxidant that boosts immune activity. It is also high in manganese, zinc and iron.  Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) is present in impressive amounts.  You can tell from the intensity of color that it is high is flavonoids, polyphenols and proanthocyanidins, providing strong protection and support for the entire body.

The Top 10 Recognized Benefits of Drinking Hibiscus Tea are:

  • One of the most significant benefits of drinking hibiscus tea, beyond its powerful antioxidant properties, relates to its proven effects on lowering blood pressure, by up to ten points.** Published studies show that 2 teaspoons of dried flowers, brewed as a tea, taken two to three times per day may be as effective as some blood pressure medications. It is theorized that this may be due to hibiscus increasing nitric oxide levels in the bloodstream and its anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Traditionally, hibiscus has been used in India for Types 1 and 2 Diabetes. Modern research validates this belief.
  • It can satiate thirst and rapidly cool the body; this iced tea is great as a sports drink.
  • Moderately lowers LDL cholesterol and triglycerides
  • Supports and protects the liver
  • Hibiscus tea contains hibiscus protocatechuic acid which has anti-tumor properties, which induce apoptosis of cancer cells.
  • It may help reduce anxiety and depression.
  • Delivers diuretic effects, while conserving potassium
  • Hibiscus inhibits the production of amylase thereby lowering the absorption of dietary starch and glucose. This may support weight loss beyond its diuretic effects.
  • Supports hormonal balance and relives menstrual pain and cramps.

Important: ** If you have low blood pressure, use hibiscus tea with care.

As helpful as hibiscus tea is, care should be taken to drink it in moderation. Due to the high acid level (citric acid, ascorbic acid) it is recommended to drink no more than 32 ounces of hibiscus tea per day. Avoid brushing your teeth within an hour after drinking any acidic beverage: lemon water, orange juice, vinegar water, coffee, soft drinks, etc. Tooth enamel softens when consuming acidic beverages (unless you use a straw) and it takes about an hour for the enamel to re-harden. Brushing during this interval may remove the top layer(s) of enamel.

Excessive consumption may increase aluminum levels. Rarely, some people have reported a feeling of intoxication after drinking hibiscus tea. Don’t drive or do anything dangerous until you know its effects on you. Because of the generous amounts of manganese in hibiscus tea it is contraindicated to over-do it.

Hibiscus tea is not recommended during pregnancy.

Don’t take aspirin or Tylenol at the same time you drink hibiscus tea because it will shorten the effects of the medication.

Avoid drinking this tea if you are taking the diuretic medication hydrochlorothiazide.

Occasionally, people may develop hay fever type symptoms. If that happens you may be allergic to hibiscus.