Hibiscus tea, roselle tea or sorrel tea is a tisane, infusion or herbal tea made from the calyces or sepals of the hibiscus plants. There are more than 200 species of hibiscus flowers and they are grown around the world.
Roselle tea has a cranberry-like taste and is deep dark red in color. Even though fresh calyces make better roselle tea, most of them available in the market are the dried and dehydrated sepals. Besides its use as a hot or cold beverage to quench thirst, some cultures have been using hibiscus flower tea as an herbal remedy to treat certain conditions and ailments.
Many studies on the hibiscus sabdariffa species were already conducted and are still ongoing to determine the benefits of roselle. Hibiscus flower tea contains carbohydrates, vitamin C, proteins, anthocyanins, beta carotene, organic acids, calcium and iron.
One of hibiscus tea benefits is it acts as a mild natural diuretic. What is good about it is that it encourages the removal of fluids from the body through the urine. This is beneficial in preventing or treating fluid retention and the risk of developing edema.
And as a diuretic, it also helps remove excess salt which helps in lowering blood pressure. When the blood pressure is balanced, it is easier for the heart to pump and will reduce the risk of heart related conditions such as high blood pressure.
A research that that was carried out on 65 people in 2009 showed that those who were given 3 cups of hibiscus flower tea daily experienced drops in blood pressure. After six weeks, the readings showed that the drops ranged from 7.2 % to 13.2 % compared to only 1.3 percent drop on those who were given placebo.
The presence of vitamin C in hibiscus flower tea is beneficial for strengthening the immune system and helps prevent and fight infections such as the common cold. Furthermore, vitamin C which is an antioxidant has the potential to lower high cholesterol and high blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Hibiscus flower tea may also help in losing weight. It contains phaseolamin which is an enzyme inhibitor that blocks the production of amylase. Amylase is an enzyme that breaks starch down into sugar. If taken regularly after meals it may help reduce the absorption of both fat and carbohydrate calories. And if taken before meals, it may help reduce hunger. But bear in mind that you have to include regular exercise and good eating habits to make it work.
Hibiscus flower tea may also help as a remedy for constipation, in preventing bladder infections and kidney and liver problems.
Add the hibiscus flowers in boiling water and leave it to boil for about 10 minutes. Let the calyces steep for 45 minutes. Strain the sepals and add sugar, honey or stevia sweetener. Don't throw them because you can reuse the calyces to make another infusion. You can also add lemon or ginger. If you want to drink it cold, add ice cubes or chilled it in the refrigerator.