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Hibiscus Tea: Benefits of Hibiscus Tea

Hibiscus Tea: Benefits of Hibiscus Tea

Let’s Explore Hibiscus Tea

Who would have thought that such a seemingly insignificant flower could hold the key to countless health benefits? When drinking hibiscus tea, hibiscus is a truly wonderful plant, capable of providing relief from high blood pressure. It is also know to maintaining healthy immune and digestive systems, and even aiding with weight loss!

While scientific studies are conducted on a yearly basis, these positive effects from frequent consumption are merely scratching the surface of what hibiscus tea can truly offer in our day-to-day lives.

After thousands of years of consumption helping to develop this delicious brew, it is no surprise that hibiscus flower tea is now known as one of the healthiest beverages currently available on the market!

Hibiscus Tea Flowers

What is Hibiscus?

There are an estimated three hundred species of the hibiscus plant; a genus of flowering plants in the mallow family, Malvaceae. It can be found growing around the entire world, including many countries in Africa, Europe and North America. The hibiscus plant is generally native to temperate, subtropical and tropical regions, although under the right conditions, it can also thrive in indoor environments, making it especially versatile.

Perhaps most notably, this plant is widely recognised from the stunning hibiscus flowers; ranging in colours from white to pink, red to orange, peach to yellow, and even purple hibiscus! Depending on the variant of hibiscus plant, the flowers will often range from 4 to 18 centimetres across.

The variant used for tea production is called: ‘Hibiscus sabdariffa’. It is these flowers that, when infused in boiling hot water, create a unique tart flavour, similar to the taste of cranberry or pomegranate. Hibiscus tea has often been described as bitter, or even slightly sour in flavour, and can also be infused with other herbs and fruits, such as lemon, ginger, or dried spices.

Although it is the flowers which are used in Hibiscus Tea, the plant’s leaves are also used in many culinary dishes. In Burma, these leaves are used as a key ingredient in chin baung kyaw - a well-known Burmese curry. In the Philippines, meanwhile, Hibiscus leaves can be incorporated into a traditional tinola - or, ‘Polynesian chicken stew’. The stem of the plant is likewise usable, and is often utilised in the production of natural fabrics, such as burlap.

Practicing Hindus from India are especially fond of the Red hibiscus flower. This is because they represent the Hindu Goddess, Kali, and are often used as an ‘offering’ during worship. Meanwhile, in Hawaiian culture, the hibiscus flower is likewise more than just a delicious ingredient! When the flower is placed behind the right ear of ‘a maiden’, this indicates that she is looking for a partner! However, if the hibiscus flower is placed behind the left ear, this means she is ‘taken’! (It is absolutely vital that you do not mix this up… be warned!)

It is no surprise, then, that a variant of Hibiscus is Hawaii's state plant, while in Senegal, West Africa, another variant is the country’s National Plant. In Malaysia, Southeast Asia, meanwhile, the Hibiscus rosa-sinensis variant also shares this honour!

Hibiscus Tea

Hibiscus Tea Around the World

While here at the Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company, this beverage is known simply as ‘hibiscus tea’. This is the name predominantly used in the UK and the US, although it can also be referred to by many other names across the globe, including:

Australia - ‘Rosella Tea’.
The Caribbean - ‘Sorrel Tea’.
Egypt (and Sudan) - ‘Karkade Tea’.
Ghana - ‘Soobolo Tea’.
India - ‘Gudhal Tea’,
India (Hindi speaking regions) - ‘Arhul Ka Phool Tea’.
India (Bengali and Sanskrit speaking regions) - ‘Java Kusum Tea’.
Iran - ‘Chai Torsh Tea’.
Iraq - ‘Chai Kujarat Tea’.
Italy - ‘Carcade Tea’.
Latin America (excluding Panama) - ‘Agua de Jamaica Tea’, or Rosa de Jamaica Tea’.
Panama - ‘Saril Tea’.
The Philippines - ‘Gumamela Tea’.

These are just some of the names used around the world, with some regions, states and areas adopting their own, individual labels for ‘Hibiscus Tea’. No matter which name you personally use for this beverage, they all mean the same thing, a flavoursome and mouthwatering brew, fit for a king!

When infused, hibiscus in ‘tea’ form isn’t technically a ‘tea’, at all! Owing to the fact that no leaves from the Camellia Sinensis plant are used in its production, this beverage is largely known as a ‘herbal tea’. For those looking to cut down on their caffeine intake,

Hibiscus tea is also an excellent alternative to Black and Green Teas, as it is completely caffeine-free. It can also be further sweetened with the addition of honey or lemon, if it’s trademark bitterness is not to your taste. Choosing between a steaming hot brew in the winter, or a refreshing Iced Tea in the summer, Hibiscus can, without a doubt, be enjoyed season-round!

It is important to note that not all variants of the hibiscus plant are used in the production of tea. Please consult a specialist before attempting to make your own blend. Alternatively, The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company are here to provide you with all your hibiscus tea needs!

Hibiscus Loose Tea

History of Hibiscus Tea

Despite there being hundreds of variants as of the 21st Century, Botanists believe that the Hibiscus plant’s ancestors began at just eight; evolving over time to become the striking hybrids now scattered across the globe.

Similar to their successors in many ways, these eight variants of hibiscus trees were easily identified by the colour of their flowers. Meanwhile, the consumption of Hibiscus Tea can be almost dated back to the very beginnings of human civilisation! Thought to be originally native to the African continent, the Egyptian Pharaoh’s favoured this beverage to combat the fierce scorn of desert heat whilst cruising along the River Nile.

It was likewise used to treat heart and nerve diseases, and even as a diuretic to increase urine production. (Today, not-so-ancient Egyptians still consume Hibiscus Tea for these very same reasons!) Deeper into Africa, this tea was used to treat constipation, liver disease and cold symptoms, which has since passed down the generations, and is still practiced in modern society.

Eventually spreading to India, China, Mauritius, Hawaii, Fiji and Madagascar in its early days, Hibiscus would be first introduced to Europe during the 18th Century, and to the United States in the 19th Century. Soon, this beautiful plant would take the world by storm, as the tea industry began to accommodate its delicious produce on a far larger scale.

Hibiscus Tea with Hibiscus Flower

Benefits of Hibiscus Tea

It seems as if the Egyptian Pharaohs were onto something when they began consuming Hibiscus Tea, thousands of years ago. However, this is just the ‘tip of the iceberg’, as this beverage has since been vigorously studied by countless scientific institutes to determine everything it has to offer. Every year, these studies discover new and amazing benefits of hibiscus tea associated with the frequent consumption of this indulgent beverage.

From lower blood pressure to weight loss; menstrual pain relief to anti-aging properties - Hibiscus Tea is the perfect accompaniment to any healthy and active lifestyle! In fact, the wealth of vitamins and minerals found within Hibiscus Tea - including magnesium, potassium, calcium, iron, zinc and phosphorus - mean that just three cups a day may have the ability to completely change your life!

hibiscus tea and blood pressure

Hibiscus Tea and Lower Blood Pressure

It is estimated that 1 in 3 UK adults suffer from high blood pressure. This is identical to studies conducted in the United States, where the American Heart Association (AHA) have been able to formally confirm their findings. Hibiscus Tea is perhaps most famously associated with the lowering of blood pressure when consumed at least three times a day. This may reduce the risks of kidney disease, heart disease and even strokes. According to one study published by the AHA, sixty-five people aged between 30 to 70 - all of whom were considered “at risk” from their high blood pressure - were split into two groups.

The first group consumed Hibiscus Tea three times a day, while the second group were given a placebo. After a six week period, the results determined that the Hibiscus Group “showed an average fall of 7.2 per cent in blood pressure, with some recording a 13.2 per cent drop. The placebo group recorded a 1.3 per cent drop.”

Other studies, including one published in the July 2004 edition of “Phytomedicine”, found that “subjects who took an infusion prepared with 10 grams of dried calyx from Hibiscus sabdariffa for four weeks experienced reduced blood pressure.” In Taiwan, hibiscus is already formally recognised as a treatment to high blood pressure.

Hibiscus Lower Cholesterol

Hibiscus Tea can Lower Cholesterol

Another common issue found in thousands of UK adults, high cholesterol which can lead to a number of ailments, including cardiovascular disease and strokes. Hibiscus Tea has been proven to lower levels of LDL cholesterol (or, “bad” cholesterol) in the body, while protecting blood vessels from further damage.

This is largely due to the incredible antioxidant properties found in Hibiscus Tea. One study, published in the June 2010 edition of “Phytomedicine”, establishes that “patients who suffered from metabolic syndromes experienced a decrease in overall cholesterol levels after taking a daily dose of 100 grams of Hibiscus sabdariffa extract powder”. Further to this, another research study conducted on patients with type II diabetes suggested that the consumption of Hibiscus Tea “lowers cholesterol, triglycerides and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol.”

Weight Loss with Hibiscus Tea

Hibiscus Helps with Weight Loss

The average diet of a UK adult is rich in carbohydrates, which means that it contains high levels of sugar and starch, often resulting in considerable weight gain. The frequent consumption of Hibiscus Tea has been proven to lower the absorption of starch and glucose which, in turn, leads to excellent weight management.

Further to this, Hibiscus Flowers are a diuretic herb, and has the ability to flush out unwanted toxins and excess fluids from the body. In one study published in the Journal of Food & Function in 2014, it was established that Hibiscus Tea consumption could “reduce obesity and abdominal fat, and improve liver damage in obese individuals.

If this wasn’t enough, then Hibiscus tea has been noted to be exceptionally low in calories, making it a viable alternative to many other tea blends. However, it is important to recognise that all of these results have been obtained from individuals leading a generally healthy and active lifestyle. So, don’t expect to escape that early morning jog!

Hibiscus Tea, Liver Disease

 

Hibiscus Tea and Liver Protection

Those wonderful antioxidants strike again - this time providing you with vital liver protection! The high levels of antioxidants found in Hibiscus Flowers have been credited with combating free radicals present in the body. One such component found in abundance in Hibiscus Tea, anthocyanins, helps to reduce liver inflammation, according to a study published in the Journal of Food and Chemical Toxicology in 2000.

It reads: “Anthocyanins in Hibiscus Tea could significantly reduce inflammatory liver lesions and oxidative liver damage in rats with toxic livers”. While further studies conducted on humans are, without a doubt, required to confirm these findings, this study clearly establishes Hibiscus Teas capabilities with regard to liver-related ailments.

Hibiscus Helps with Period Pains
Hibiscus Tea and Menstrual Relief

Hibiscus Tea may be the answer to the great uncomfort caused by monthly menstrual cycles. Amazingly, the frequent consumption of this beverage has the ability to balance your hormones, thus easing cramps, as well as reducing common symptoms such as mood swings, severe depression and overeating.

However, it must be noted that studies have been generally inconclusive, and The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company advise that you consult a doctor, nurse or other medical professional before you consider consuming Hibiscus Tea for period pain relief.
Hibiscus Tea Depression

Hibiscus Tea for Depression Sufferers

We all have our moments when we feel ‘down in the dumps’, but for some, depression is a part of daily life. Hibiscus Tea may not be able to ‘cure’ symptoms of depression and anxiety, but it can certainly help to calm the nervous system. In fact, one study published in the Indian Journal of Pharmacology in 2012 about the health benefits of Hibiscus Tea indicated that “The flavonoids, anthocyanins and anthocyanidins in hibiscus have potential antidepressant activity”.

In another, lesser known study published that same year, it was subsequently established that other hibiscus species can help reduce depression in lab mice. Again, more research is required before these findings can be officially confirmed.

Hibiscus Improves Digestion

Hibiscus Tea Helps Improved Digestion

Due to its incredible diuretic properties, this beverage has the ability to normalise bowel movements, and even increase urination. These properties have also been noted to treat constipation, similar to its use on the African continent for centuries.

Further to this, the frequent consumption of Hibiscus Tea (at least 3 cups a day over the course of several weeks) can help to strengthen the gastrointestinal system, the group of organs that work together to convert food into energy and basic nutrients.

This, in turn, may help with weight management, providing the tea is consumed alongside a healthy and active lifestyle. Other studies have likewise indicated that Hibiscus Tea can have an antispasmodic effect on the body, which can be useful for symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome.

Hibiscus Helps Improve Your Immune System

Hibiscus Tea Improves the Immune Systems

Hibiscus Tea is rich in vitamins and minerals, including the all-important Vitamin C. Also known as ascorbic acid or L-ascorbic acid, this essential nutrient can help to protect cells and maintain their health.

Drinking this beverage on a regular basis can help fulfil your daily intake of Vitamin C, resulting in the improvement of your Immune System. Ultimately, this will improve your ability to combat viral infections, mild fevers and many other Immune System-related ailments.

Further to this, Vitamin C can help with wound healing, while also increasing the amount of iron we absorb from plant sources, such as broccoli and sprouts. If this wasn’t enough, the Vitamin C found in Hibiscus Tea, as well as traces of Vitamin A, can help to improve skin conditions, such as acne, eczema, and mild skin allergies.

Thousands of years after the age of the Pharaohs, Hibiscus Tea is still used in many sports drinks to cool the body, as well as satiating thirst. It may sound ridiculous, but remember that this beverage can also be consumed as an Iced Tea!

This can take, on average, 20 minutes to make, but if you plan ahead, you will have a delicious and thirst quenching Iced Tea to enjoy after that early morning run! (We weren't kidding about that!) As well as this, Hibiscus, as stated above, has been largely recognised for its diuretic properties. These properties can help flush your body of harmful toxins, while simultaneously keeping you exceptionally hydrated!

Anti Aging Hibiscus Flower Tea

Hibiscus Tea and Anti-Aging Properties

Yes - you read that correctly! Hibiscus Flower Tea may have the ability to revitalise your skin and provide you with that youthful look once more!

Hibiscus Tea is rich in antioxidants, which can help to remove visible signs of aging from our face, including loss of moisture, elasticity and, of course wrinkles! Due to the slightly exfoliating effect of the organic acids found in Hibiscus, this tea can also break down unwanted dead skin and increase cell turnover. Who needs £90 skin cream when you can simply brew up a nice, hot cup of this flavoursome brew?

Hibiscus at The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company

Now that you know the fascinating history and unbelievable health benefits of drinking hibiscus, this wonder-brew, it is finally time to explore The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company’s wide range of Hibiscus Tea products.

Let’s help to kickstart your journey with our traditional Hibiscus 50 Tea Bags. Made from the Hibiscus Sabdariffa flower, this brew is the perfect starting point for anyone who hasn’t yet tried any other form of Hibiscus Tea.

Naturally caffeine free and jam-packed full of beneficial organic acids and flavonoid glycosides, this beverage is easily recognisable from its rich, deep red liquor, and delightful aroma, so hibiscus tea bags is a convenient healthy option .

Prefer loose leaf? Then perhaps our Hibiscus Flower Tea is the one for you! This brew, in particular, is a real herbal gem! Again originating from the Sabdariffa Flower, Hibiscus Flower Tea has a soft, slightly sweet flavour and is, without a doubt, one of our most popular choices!

Alternatively, you may decide upon our Lemon Verbena, Hibiscus and Ginger Tea! Our tea-tasting team are always creating new herbal blends, and this tea combines the lemon taste and scent of Lemon Verbena (Aloysia triphylla), the deep, rich-tasting and colourful Hibiscus (Sabdariffa flower) and powerful notes of Ginger Root!

Available online or through our Kent-based factory shop, you can certainly rest assured that we will have the blend that meets all of your Hibiscus Tea needs, whatever they may be!

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