If You Aren't Sipping Hibiscus Tea, You're Missing Out on Major Health Benefits

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

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

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 participants' systolic blood pressure by 7.2 mmHg, while participants that drank a placebo showed a 1.3 mmHg drop."

In addition to its blood pressure-reducing effects, Ehsani notes that, when consumed without added sugar or dairy, hibiscus tea (made from the flower's petals) serves as the perfect hydration motivator for those who struggle to reach their daily water intake.

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 linked to aging, cardiovascular disease, and inflammation. To err on the side of caution, Ehsani recommends drinking two to four cups a day and consulting your primary healthcare provider or registered dietitian nutritionist for individualized support; especially if you're pregnant, lactating, or taking medication that potentially interacts with the effects of consuming hibiscus.

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

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Hibiscus Liqueur

DIY Homemade Hibiscus and Herb Liqueur
Like a bouquet in a bottle, this brilliant pink homemade liqueur combines fortified hibiscus tea with warming spices and brown sugar syrup. Try sipping it chilled, in small glasses, or mixed with sparkling wine as a spritzer, or as a substitute for Campari in a negroni. Get the recipe:Hibiscus Liqueur. Philip Friedman

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

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Hibiscus and Mint Lemonade

Hibiscus and Mint Lemonade
James Wojcik

Made with just three simple ingredients (hibiscus, mint, and lemonade), you'll turn this refreshing beverage into a year-round refrigerator staple. Served in a glass pitcher with fresh lemon slices, it makes a beautiful beverage centerpiece that your friends will assume it took hours to make.

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Lemon-Hibiscus Italian Ice

Lemon-Hibiscus Italian Ice
Anna Wolf

Bring the state fair to your kitchen with this fun and easy homemade Italian ice that kids and adults will enjoy. Best of all, there's no fancy equipment needed to make this three-ingredient refreshing treat that keeps you cool and hydrated on a hot day.

To make, simply boil water and sugar together until dissolved, and 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, blend in a food processor until slushy, and enjoy.

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Hibiscus Lemon Iced Tea

The gorgeous color of Hibiscus Lemon Iced Tea comes from dried hibiscus flowers.
Greg DuPree

Looking for a boost of antioxidants? This drink is for you. Dried hibiscus flowers add a vibrant fuchsia color, and lemon juice and peels add a bright flavor that you'll want to sip 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.

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  1. Diane L. McKay, C-Y. Oliver Chen, Edward Saltzman, Jeffrey B. Blumberg. Hibiscus Sabdariffa L. Tea (Tisane) Lowers Blood Pressure in Prehypertensive and Mildly Hypertensive Adults. The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 140, Issue 2, February 2010, Pages 298–303. doi: 10.3945/jn.109.115097.

  2. Khoo HE, Azlan A, Tang ST, Lim SM. Anthocyanidins and anthocyanins: colored pigments as food, pharmaceutical ingredients, and the potential health benefits. Food Nutr Res. 2017 Aug 13;61(1):1361779. doi: 10.1080/16546628.2017.

  3. Rouhi-Boroujeni H, Heidarian E, Rouhi-Boroujeni H, Khoddami M, Gharipour M, Rafieian-Kopaei M. Use of lipid-lowering medicinal herbs during pregnancy: A systematic review on safety and dosage. ARYA Atheroscler. 2017 May;13(3):135-155. 

  4. Showande SJ, Adegbolagun OM, Igbinoba SI, Fakeye TO. In vivo pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic interactions of Hibiscus sabdariffa calyces extracts with simvastatin. J Clin Pharm Ther. 2017 Dec;42(6):695-703. doi: 10.1111/jcpt.12629.

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