Aside from looking beautiful in the garden, hibiscus flowers also offer a variety of health benefits when consumed. 

By Maki Yazawa
September 08, 2020
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If you’re looking to try something new aside from your usual matcha green tea latte, you may want to consider hibiscus tea instead. Served hot or cold and packed with a medley of health benefits, this tart and flavorful herbal tea is the perfect naturally caffeine-free, sugar-free drink to help you stay hydrated all day long.

Hibiscus Tea Benefits

According to Roxana Ehsani, RDN, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, studies have shown that “drinking three 8-ounce mugs of hibiscus tea for six weeks lowered participant’s systolic blood pressure by 7.2 mmHg, while participants that drank a placebo had a 1.3 mmHg drop.”

In addition to its blood pressure-reducing effects, Ehsani notes that, when consumed without added sugars or dairy, hibiscus tea (made from the flower’s petals) can act as the perfect hydration motivator for those that struggle to reach their daily quota of water intake every day.

Best of all, this tart, deep red, cranberry-like tea is loaded with immune-boosting vitamin C and antioxidant-rich anthocyanins that help neutralize free radicals and reduce oxidative stress that is linked to signs of aging, cardiovascular disease, and inflammation. To err on the side of caution, Ehsani recommends drinking two to four cups a day and to consult your primary healthcare provider or registered dietitian nutritionist for individualized support, especially for those that are pregnant or lactating or are taking any medications that may potentially interact with the effects of consuming this plant.

Aside from its more popular tea form, this tropical plant can also be consumed as an extract, dehydrated, or in powdered form. If you’re looking for some inspiration on how to use hibiscus, add a pop of color to any drink or dish by steeping it to make the popular Mexican beverage, agua de jamaica, dehydrate it to garnish a foamy hibiscus latte, or even blend it in a hibiscus berry smoothie. Read on for more great recipes on how to get the most out of this show-stopping plant that just keeps on giving.

Philip Friedman

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Transform your home bar setup with this fancy (yet incredibly easy) craft hibiscus liqueur to add to sparkling wine for an easy spritzer or to use as a Campari substitute for a new take on the classic negroni. We also won’t stop you from making hibiscus liqueur-filled chocolates to enamor your special someone—or yourself.

James Wojcik

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Made with just three simple ingredients (hibiscus tea, mint, and lemonade), this refreshing beverage will become a refrigerator staple all year round. Serve it in a glass pitcher with slices of fresh lemon for a beautiful beverage centerpiece your friends will think took hours to make.

Anna Wolf

Bring the state fair to your kitchen with this fun and easy homemade Italian ice kids and adults will enjoy equally. Best of all, there is no fancy equipment required to make this three-ingredient refreshing treat that will keep you cool and hydrated on a hot day. To make, simply boil water and sugar together until melted, then add lemon juice. Pour half of the mixture into a baking dish and steep hibiscus tea bags in the remaining sugar water until bright pink. Finally, freeze until firm and blend in a food processor until slushy consistency, and enjoy. 

Greg DuPree

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If you’re looking to get a boost of antioxidants, this drink is for you. Made using dried hibiscus flowers that add a vibrant, fuchsia color, and lemon juice and peels that add bright flavor, you’ll want to sip on this refreshing drink all day long. For a more health-conscious alternative, reduce the amount of sugar and add a splash of sparkling water to liven things up.