Hibiscus tea is an herbal tea made as an infusion from dried hibiscus flowers. Hibiscus tea is common world wide and enjoyed as both a hot beverage and refreshing cool drink.
I first learnt about hibiscus tea and its health benefits when travelling around Latin America. Typically known as aqua de flor de Jamaica, this chilled beverage is one of many aguas frescas served on the side of the street and in inexpensive restaurants in Mexico, Central America, and the more northern parts of South America. Both in Latin America and Asia, street side chilled hibiscus tea typically has a fair amount of sugar in it, and I never used to enjoy it. However, I later learnt about the simple infused tea (with no added sugar) when living in Uganda, where it was easy to find in the markets. Hibiscus tea (both hot and cold) is very popular in Sudan (and South Sudan), Uganda’s northern neighbour.
This rich purple coloured infused tea is most famously known for helping to decrease blood pressure in people with mild to high BP if drunk for 2-6 weeks.
There is less evidence about its other health benefits, which includes helping with fluid retention (acts as a diuretic), constipation, stomach irritations, and loss of appetite.
Overall, hibiscus tea is refreshing and good for you! And especially good for a loved one with high blood pressure.
I typically use about 5-7 dried flowers for one pot of tea. Try it out yourself and be the judge of how strong you would like it. If you find its tart taste to overbearing, try adding a little honey to sweeten it up.