Hibiscus: A Tasty Addition To Your Edible Landscape Or Garden
Hibiscus tea, hibiscus jelly, hibiscus relish yes, hibiscus plants dont just make beautiful flowers, they can also make wonderful edible plants! In this article, youll learn more how to ID, grow, and use edible hibiscus .
Many people have heard of hibiscus plants and can even identify a hibiscus flower. After all, the plants are quite common in traditional landscapes where theyre beloved for their large, showy flowers that bloom throughout the summer or longer in warmer climate zones.
Are all hibiscus plants edible?
While hibiscus plants are valued for their beauty, there is another side to these plants that you should know about: many of them are edible. The edible parts of a hibiscus plant are the flowers, leaves, and fruit aka calyxes.
Some people say that all hibiscus plants are edible, although given the number of varieties that abound, thats a riskier claim than were willing to make. We recommend getting hibiscus varieties that are bred and known specifically for their edibility, such as Hibiscus sabdariffa
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Ciemniak, A. . Rocz.Panstw.Zakl.Hig. 2005 56:317-322. View abstract.
El Basheir, Z. M. and Fouad, M. A. A preliminary pilot survey on head lice, pediculosis in Sharkia Governorate and treatment of lice with natural plant extracts. J.Egypt.Soc.Parasitol. 2002 32:725-736. View abstract.
Frank, T., Janssen, M., Netzel, M., Strass, G., Kler, A., Kriesl, E., and Bitsch, I. Pharmacokinetics of anthocyanidin-3-glycosides following consumption of Hibiscus sabdariffa L. extract. J Clin Pharmacol 2005 45:203-210. View abstract.
Frank, T., Netzel, G., Kammerer, D. R., Carle, R., Kler, A., Kriesl, E., Bitsch, I., Bitsch, R., and Netzel, M. Consumption of Hibiscus sabdariffa L. aqueous extract and its impact on systemic antioxidant potential in healthy subjects. J Sci Food Agric. 8-15-2012 92:2207-2218. View abstract.
Haji, Faraji M. and Haji, Tarkhani A. The effect of sour tea on essential hypertension. J.Ethnopharmacol. 1999 65:231-236. View abstract.
May Help Manage Blood Pressure
A report from the AHA , published in November 2008, suggests that consuming this tea may have high chances of lowering the blood pressure in pre-hypertensive and mildly hypertensive adults. It also states that 1/3 of adults in the United States suffer from high blood pressure, also referred to as hypertension.
A study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology suggests that hibiscus has antihypertensive and cardioprotective properties, which can be beneficial for people suffering from hypertension and those at high risks of cardiovascular diseases.
Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, hibiscus tea may reduce blood pressure by up to 10 points, according to a 2010 research done at Tufts University in Boston. For this drastic improvement to occur, you need to regularly consume three cups of this tea every day for a few weeks. Also, it has diuretic properties that increase urination and simultaneously lower blood pressure.
Freshly brewed hibiscus tea Photo Credit: Shutterstock
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Potential Risks Of Hibiscus Tea
While hibiscus tea may provide health benefits, it may also present some risks. These risks include:
Hibiscus and Mallow Allergies
If youre allergic or sensitive to hibiscus flowers , you should avoid drinking hibiscus tea.
Hibiscus tea may interact with certain medications. It can decrease the effectiveness of the malaria drug chloroquine. If you take medications for high blood pressure or diabetes, it can cause a significant drop in blood pressure. The plant also contains phytoestrogens that may decrease the effectiveness of birth control medication.
The phytoestrogens in hibiscus tea may cause complications during pregnancy. For instance, they may trigger preterm labor. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you may want to avoid hibiscus tea or look for an alternative.
Some research points toward high concentrations of hibiscus extract potentially causing liver damage.
Most of the current research on hibiscus tea is limited to animal and test-tube studies. More research is needed to fully understand the true benefits and risks the tea has to offer.
How To Make Hibiscus Tea
To make this hibiscus drink, start by taking 3-4 flowers per cup of tea. I took 8 flowers to make 2 cups of tea. Remove the calyx or the green part from which the flower is attached to the plant.
Also remove the stamen, the part from which the yellow seeds are attached.
Wash the petals well under running water and add them to a medium-sized glass bowl.
Boil 3 cups of water in medium-sized saucepan water and once it comes to a rolling boil, remove it from heat.
Pour the boiling water over the petals.
Cover the bowl and let the colour from the flowers steep into the water. Steep for 10-12 minutes.
Strain the tea using a tea strainer. Add lime juice to it and mix well. Add honey or sugar if you wish to at this stage and mix well.
Now add some ice cubes to the serving glasses, pour the tea and serve.
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Nutritional Value Of Hibiscus Tea
Does caffeine make you jittery and anxious?
Would you prefer a cup of tea without caffeine?
Well, if you do, then you can go for hibiscus tea as an alternative. Green and black tea are made from the Camellia Sinensis plant that contains caffeine. As such, whether you take them either hot or cold, you will have a level of caffeine.
As such, if you completely want to avoid caffeine, you should stay away from black and green tea.
Hibiscus tea is decaffeinated which comes with a lot of health benefits. It is also calorie-free.
Additionally, a cup of hibiscus in the morning offers you a dose of manganese. Manganese is an essential mineral in your body as it activates your metabolic reactions. The mineral is also vital in aiding blood clotting, bone formation, and boosting the bodys immune system.
Also, a cup of hibiscus tea will offer you a daily dose of the essential calcium and potassium, which are major minerals in the body. The two minerals aid in bone formation and strengthening. Potassium also works to provide you with the necessary energy that your body needs.
You will also get zinc and iron, which help to boost the immune function, muscle contraction, and formation of proteins.
Whats more? Hibiscus tea also offers you two essential vitamins: vitamin B3 and B9. The vitamins are essential in aiding metabolism. Vitamin B9 is vital during pregnancy, and a deficiency of the vitamin can lead to babies born with congenital conditions.
Hibiscus Tea: The Antioxidant Therapeutic Agent You Should Be Drinking
I think C.S. Lewis may have been speaking directly to me when he said, You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me. One of the teas that crosses my mind reading that is the powerfully beneficial hibiscus tea.
Hibiscus tea is one of those incredible, yummy teas that is high on the list of drinks to keep around the house, like matcha green tea and yerba mate. Thats because hibiscus tea benefits are so numerous the large amount of antioxidants found in this beverage earn it the status of a therapeutic agent for a number of issues, according to an article published in the Journal of Experimental Pharmacology in 2012.
Find out below how to include hibiscus tea on your list of must-have teas.
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The Top 6 Benefits Of Hibiscus
I have fallen in love!
Specifically, I have fallen in love with a certain brand of a certain tea.
Ill get to the brand and why in a moment, though I will let you know Im not the only one head-over-heels for it.
It won a gold medal in the Global Tea Championship, an independent competition judged by tea professionals to distinguish the highest quality & best tasting teas
The type of tea is hibiscus, and because it really is a superfood, I want to briefly share the benefits of hibiscus with you.
Hibiscus goes by other names, too, such as roselle, rosella, sorrel, rosa de Jamaica, sour tea, zobo, and bissap.
And due to the incredible benefits of hibiscus, this tea has been consumed in cultures around the world for eons.
The research-based benefits of hibiscus are only now making it into the mainstream .
Hibiscus tea is made from the dried form of the flower, and it has a flavor reminiscent of cranberry.
I personally enjoy drinking the Gold-winning brand Im about to share on its own.
Yet, with its touch of tartness similar to cranberries, some may enjoy consuming it with a small amount of honey or mint to tame the tartness.
And lately, even Western science has begun to catch up with the long-held knowledge regarding the benefits of hibiscus.
So, lets look take a brief look at what the actual benefits of hibiscus are including how it can help you feel happier, be healthier, and even look younger.
How To Find And Make
Like most supplements, its important to purchase hibiscus leaves, powder or extract from trustworthy sources with a good reputation. Some experts suggest that, if you purchase hibiscus in extract form, it should be in an airless pump that hasnt touched the air so you still get the full hibiscus tea benefits.
If you purchase dried hibiscus, you are actually getting the calyces of the plant, which surround the petals, rather than the petals themselves.
All hibiscus teas are caffeine-free, so feel free to try a variety of them to find your favorite.
Its pretty easy to make your own hibiscus tea. After boiling water, place the dried calyces of the plant into the water and wait until it turns deep red. This will produce concentrated hibiscus tea, so then add about half the amount of water in cool.
Sweeten with raw honey or stevia to your desired taste when its warm, but not hot. Optionally garnish with mint or a slice of lime, and youve got a healthy, delicious beverage that can be served hot or cold. Some recipes recommend adding a cinnamon stick for flavor.
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Can Be Effective For Improved Digestion
Many people drink hibiscus tea to improve digestion as it regularizes both urination and bowel movements. Since it has diuretic properties, it may also be used to treat constipation and improve the health of your gastrointestinal system, says a study published in the IOSR Journal of Biotechnology and Biochemistry.
Hibiscus Tea Health Benefits
What is Agua de Jamaica?
Agua de Jamaica is one of Mexicos most popular agua frescas. This well known Mexican drink is made from infusing hibiscus flowers. It translates to hibiscus water that is sweetened with sugar.Typically in Mexico Agua de Jamaica is very sweet and served in pitcher loaded with ice. This cold brew hibiscus flower tea is one of the most popular summer drink.
Hibiscus Tea Benefits
Hibiscus flower is grown in tropical and semi-tropical countries. My garden is loaded with this medicinal flower all year round. It finds its use in more than one way. Apart from using it for brewing tea, there are so many more health benefits of this floral tea.No doubt hibiscus flower tea delicious and all healthy for you! You get a drink with no chemical, no food colors and a drink not loaded with sugar. High sugar and preservative added drinks be gone, say hello to a calorie free hydration that is caffeine free too.
BENEFITS For Hair Care
Hibiscus also acts like a miracle hair conditioner. Apply a mask of freshly ground hibiscus flower on your hair for 30 minutes, rinse it off. It prevents your hair from dryness, frizz and breakage.My mom always plucks the flowers that are drying out or about to fall off the plant, dries it completely in sun and adds it to hot coconut oil. Hibiscus flower has amazing medicinal properties that helps boost hair growth. Its rich in vitamin C that boosts collagen a kind of amino acid that gives hair the strength.
BENEFITS Body Coolant
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What Is Hibiscus Used For
The hibiscus has had a lengthy history of use in Africa and neighboring tropical countries. Its fragrant flowers have been used in sachets and perfumes. In areas of northern Nigeria, this plant has been used to treat constipation. Fiber from H. sabdariffa has been used to fashion rope as a jute substitute. The fleshy red calyx is used in the preparation of jams, jellies, and cold and warm teas and drinks. The leaves have been used like spinach. The plant is used widely in Egypt for the treatment of cardiac and nerve diseases and has been described as a diuretic. In Iran, drinking sour tea for the treatment of hypertension is a popular practice. It has been used in the treatment of cancers. Research reveals little or no evidence of these medicinal uses of hibiscus. The mucilaginous leaves are used as a topical emollient in Africa. In Western countries, hibiscus flowers often are found as components of herbal tea mixtures. In Thailand, people consume roselle juice to quench thirst. Karkade seed products have been studied for their nutritional and functional value.
Aqueous extracts of hibiscus appear to exert a slight antibacterial effect. In laboratory and animal studies, worms were killed by hibiscus extracts. Research reveals little or no clinical data regarding the use of hibiscus as an antibacterial or vermifuge .
Chemopreventive effectsLaxative effectsOther uses
Which Hibiscus Is Good For Tea
The best and the most common hibiscus tea is made from Hibiscus sabdariffa or roselle. Its deep purplish red and has a unique tart flavor. The other popular edible hibiscus is Hibiscus acetosella or the false rosella with pink flowers. Its more commonly used for preparing dishes and decoration than making tea.
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How Is Hibiscus Used Traditionally
Traditionally, hibiscus has many uses in medicine, food, drink and otherwise. Farmers often use leaves and seeds to feed both people and livestock. Many farmers depend on sorrel for income as its known as a cash crop in Sudan, Senegal and Mali. Its seeds are harvested and eaten roasted, used for oil, or when ground, added to soups or sauces. Its leaves and shoots are cooked or eaten raw as a bitter vegetable or dried and ground to be added as sour flavoring for vegetables.
Its bracing tartness lends fresh flavor to foods: When incorporated with simple syrup or sweetener, it finds its way into many sweet treats as flavoring for jam, jelly, ice cream, tarts, chocolate, puddings and cakes it also complements savory foods like chutneys, marmalades, butters, sauces and even pickles. In Sudan, it is often cooked with onions or groundnuts.
Fresh or dried, the calyces of the roselle flower are used commonly in hot and cold beverages, including non-caffeinated teas, soft drinks, wine and other drinks to add a kick . In Sudan and Nigeria, it is boiled with sugar to make a popular non-alcoholic cranberry drink called zoborodo in Egypt, it is used to make a tea called karkade.
Finding The Right Hibiscus Flower For Tea
My garden has a hibiscus tree with abundance of hibiscus flower all year long. I always reap its benefits.
Note there are close to 40 different varieties of hibiscus flower plant that is grown in India. Not all of them are edible. If you are using fresh hibiscus flower to make tea, please note some of the varieties can get you sick.
There are many colors of hibiscus and I prefer the red ones to make tea. Varieties Roselle, Cranberry Hibiscus , Chinese Hibiscus are some of the edible hibiscus varieties and safe to use.
If you live in a country where hibiscus tree is not seen commonly, you can always purchase dried hibiscus petals or hibiscus powder from any Mexican market or a good reputed source. A lot of varieties are now easily available online.
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Controls The Cholesterol Level
This benefit is not as well known as the previous two, but it is scientifically proven. A study carried out in 2009 proved that patients with type 2 diabetes who made use of hibiscus tea were able to reduce the rate of bad cholesterol .
While decreasing about 8% of bad cholesterol, the same study proved that hibiscus tea increases good cholesterol by 16.7%. But of course, this when we talk about regular tea consumption.
May Help Lower Blood Fat Levels
In addition to lowering blood pressure, some studies have found that hibiscus tea may help lower blood fat levels, which are another risk factor for heart disease.
In one study, 60 people with diabetes were given either hibiscus tea or black tea. After one month, those who drank hibiscus tea experienced increased good HDL cholesterol and decreased total cholesterol, bad LDL cholesterol and triglycerides .
Another study in those with metabolic syndrome showed that taking 100 mg of hibiscus extract daily was associated with decreased total cholesterol and increased good HDL cholesterol .
However, other studies have produced conflicting results regarding hibiscus teas effects on blood cholesterol.
In fact, a review of six studies including 474 participants concluded that hibiscus tea did not significantly reduce blood cholesterol or triglyceride levels .
Furthermore, most studies showing a benefit of hibiscus tea on blood fat levels have been limited to patients with specific conditions like metabolic syndrome and diabetes.
More large-scale studies examining the effects of hibiscus tea on blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels are needed to determine its potential effects on the general population.
Summary Some studies have shown that hibiscus tea may reduce blood cholesterol and triglycerides in those with diabetes and metabolic syndrome. However, other studies have produced conflicting results. More research is needed in the general population.
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