Hibiscus the acclaimed “Super Flower”
Hibiscus subdariffa (used in many teas around the world) to our surprise was not the big bush with large petalled, multi - coloured flowers which we are all so used to seeing in our mountainous home town forming hedges and trees in almost every garden.
I was rather dismayed actually to discover a rather spindly and scruffy looking bush not even higher than my knee. This is one of my most favorite herbs, and however humble it looks it packs a mean punch with taste and medicinal benefits!
Hibiscus Sudariffa infusions are made with the vibrant red roselle part of the flower and are drunk traditionally by young and old around the world, as a tea, cold- drink and is so packed with taste it is even used as a natural flavoring in the food industry.
Hibiscus is much loved for it’s bright red colour and tart tangy taste, and is traditionally complimented by other herbs and spices like mint, cinnamon and citrus, and almost always sweetened Unless you are sweet enough of course!
“Around the world in many cups”
Egypt, Sudan, Caribbean, South America, Asia, Mexico, Madagascar, Thailand and other warm climates all traditionally brew this festive cheerful herb and drink it ceremoniously and medicinally – and serve it both hot and cold.
This delicious and medicinal herb has recently gained “Super Flower status” in the Health world and for good reasons:
Sweet and sour taste together are well known in Ayurvedic medicine to have a calming effect on people experiencing stress of the nervous system, so in itself a cup of this tea can be a medicine of which Hippocrates would no doubt be nodding to us agreeably about from the beyond.
See how happy i was to discover Hibiscus flowers growing in the wild on our recent trip to India !
Of course in these modern times a potent age old remedy like this would receive scientific attention and has conclusively been studied for its medicinal benefits.
The tart and tangy taste of Hibiscus is due to its high percentage of organic acids, including citric acid, hydroxycitric acid, hibiscus acid, malic and tartaric acid, oxalic and ascorbic acid. link
It has been found to have such a good effect on high blood pressure that it is advised to be used with caution for those on conventional blood pressure medicine, for the danger of lowering blood pressure too much.
A daily consumption of 3 servings of hibiscus tea, an amount readily incorporated into the diet, effectively lowered BP in pre- and mildly hypertensive adults.
Results showed antibacterial, anti-oxidant, nephro- and hepato-protective, renal/diuretic effect, effects on lipid metabolism (anti-cholesterol), anti-diabetic and anti-hypertensive effects among others.
The action on lowering high lipids, and high sugar levels in the blood have been journalled in may countries of the world.
It also is very useful for bladder infections and you will find it on chemist’s shelves as a highly effective over the counter natural medication for such.
Like cranberry, Hibiscus sabdariffa prevents bacteria that cause UTIs from adhering to the linings of the urinary tract and bladder wall and also possess bacteriocidal effects. link
Drinking hibiscus tea is very useful for colds and flu and all ailments requiring a boost of the immune system, this is due to its high vitamin c contents and certain flavonoids and anti oxidants called anthocyanins – which give hibiscus its vibrant red colour.
Due to the gorgeous colour of hibiscus it is also used for the making of cocktails, cool drinks, and sweets.
So in a nut shell or rather in a hibiscus roselle shall we say, are the following reasons to consume hibiscus tea for pleasure or for its medical benefits:
- Relaxing high stress levels.
- Lowers lipids in the blood reducing blood pressure and preventing heart problems.
- Maintains blood sugar levels, and thus helps prevent diabetes.
- Fortifies the immune system with natural vitamin C and antioxidants – thus strengthens the immune system.
- Cleanses the bladder and helps prevent and treat bladder infections.
- Also used to treat herpes zoster – shingles and chicken pox (all the same virus)
- Good for liver and kidney health
- Antibacterial and antioxidant properties strengthen the immune system.
Raise a hearty glass of Hibiscus tea, hot or cold to all of our good health!