I have a tall hibiscus shrub in my front yard – it produces beautiful pink flowers that remind me of a tropical oasis. Recently, I was surprised to find out that the unopened buds of these pretty flowers can actually be used to make a richly colorful and pleasantly tart hibiscus tea.
The flowers, buds, leaves and seeds of the Hibiscus sabdariffa L. plant (more commonly known as hibiscus) have been used throughout the world to make fragrances, natural dyes, jams and herbal teas.
Hibiscus tea (or herbal infusion if you want to get technical) is made by infusing a part of the bud known as the calyx. The result is a richly colored red drink that offers a sweet, tart taste comparable to cranberries.
Here’s the lowdown on hibiscus tea:
- Nutrients: Hibisicus tea is said to contain vitamin C, minerals and other plant compounds – most notably anthocyanins.
- Global phenomenon: Beverages brewed from hibiscus are enjoyed throughout the world, especially in Mexico, Jamaica, Panama, Egypt, Italy, Thailand and Malaysia.
- How to enjoy: This beverage can be served either hot or cold. In some countries, hibiscus is combined with other herbs and flavored with ginger, cloves, mint or lemon.
If you’re shopping for a hibiscus tea, look for a product made from organically grown plants.
Did you know? Hibiscus extract is also available in supplement form.