What is Hibiscus? What You Need To Know.

Hibiscus tea has many uses and health benefits—the caffeine-free, sugar-free brew is anti-inflammatory, is a powerful antioxidant, and can improve digestion, promote circulation and blood flow, lower cholesterol, and regulate blood pressure. And while the health benefits of hibiscus tea are plentiful, the uses of hibiscus tea are just as versatile.

 

 Hibiscus is really a flower.

Around the world, the hibiscus plant thrives in tropical, subtropical, and warm temperate climates. There’s a Hawaiian tradition that says that if the hibiscus flower is worn behind the left ear, the woman is in a relationship. If the flower is worn on the right, she is single and available.

In continuing our brief history of hibiscus, the plant has symbolic meaning across many cultures: Hibiscus is the national symbol of Haiti, the symbol of Hindu goddess Kali in India, and the national flower of Malaysia and South Korea.

 

How to grow hibiscus.

While beautiful, hibiscus is actually a very hardy plant. It can grow anywhere from lush gardens to cramped urban balconies. The hibiscus flower is a perennial and flowers through the year. Because of its beautiful and bright flower, it also acts as an attractive signal for butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds.

What hibiscus tea tastes like.

Just like cranberry juice, hibiscus tea has a zing to it; you’ll want to try it a few times and make your own decision on the flavor profile.

As with anything, adjust the level of added sweetness to your liking. Over time, as your taste buds adapt, continue to reduce your added honey or stevia or natural sweetener of choice.

How to brew hibiscus tea.

The most important thing to remember when brewing hibiscus tea is not to over-steep it. If you let the petals brew too long, you’ll end up with a tea that’s bitter to the taste.  Here are step-by-step instructions for brewing the perfect steaming mug of hibiscus tea:

  1. Boil water.
  2. Add approximately 2 teaspoons of hibiscus tea leaves to your loose-leaf teapot, individual tea strainer, tea strainer mug, travel mug, or reusable tea infuser—really any of those will work in this case!
  3. Add boiling water to hibiscus tea and let it steep for five minutes.
  4. If you like strong tea, steep for a bit longer; if you prefer weaker tea, steep for a bit less time. But remember, don’t over-steep! So if you want stronger tea, don’t steep it for more than an extra minute.
  5. Strain the tea using a mesh strainer.
  6. Sweeten or garnish with stevia, raw honey, coconut sugar, lemon, ginger, or mint.

If this whole process feels like too much, I promise it’s not. Sometimes all you need is a little practice: If you feel intimidated by the steeping process, why not start by buying pre-made hibiscus tea bags and enjoy your self-care moment and a chance to breathe? You won’t regret it.

Health benefits of hibiscus tea.

Hibiscus is a great tool for:

  • Hydration
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Loading you up with vitamin C
  • Increasing immunity
  • Improving digestion
  • Promoting circulation
  • Regulating blood pressure
  • Lowering cholesterol
  • Fighting cancer-causing chemicals with all those antioxidants

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