Beat the Heat with Hibiscus Tea
8 cups water
2 Tbsp. or more dried hibiscus flowers*
Rapadura, jaggery, or dark brown sugar
(optional) fresh mint leaves
(optional) thinly sliced fresh ginger
(optional) fresh or frozen berries
Hibiscus tea can be steeped or cold-brewed. (Studies show you get its beneficial properties with either method. )
To cold brew, simply combine all ingredients in a pitcher and put in the fridge overnight. To steep, make a concentrated syrup with 1 cup water plus the other ingredients and steep for 5 to 10 minutes, dilute with the remaining water and pour over ice to serve. The tea will keep in the fridge for a few days.
whole hibiscus flowers can be purchased online or at in bulk at many Hispanic or African markets
About Hibiscus Tea
This tea is absolutely delicious and refreshing on a hot day, and is enjoyed in many parts of the world. It has a light cranberry-like flavor. The hibiscus sabariffa plant also called Roselle originated in West Africa and is drunk throughout West and North Africa, but has also made it's way to South America and Mexico where it is consumed as an aqua fresca called Jamaica (Ha-my-ee-kah) and in Europe where it is typically enjoyed as a hot brewed tea. Hibiscus is sometimes enjoyed on its own, but is often combined with ginger, cinnamon, clove, and sugar, sometimes even rum.
Why It's So Good for You
Chemical analysis shoes that hibiscus sabdariffa contains anti-bacterial, anti-oxidant, kidney and liver protective, and diuretic compounds. It is astringent in nature and lowers blood pressure slightly so it is great for the kind of heat edema or swelling we sometimes experience in very hot humid climates. Enjoy this drink frequently in summer!
According to studies it has an "excellent safety and tolerability record". Of course if you take medications or have cardiovascular disease exercise caution when introducing something new to your diet.
I highly recommend the addition fresh mint to this drink. The cool spicy flavor of the mint is a great compliment to the tangy hibiscus flowers. Mint is used frequently in Chinese medicine and, when fresh, is cooling and dispersing and "releases the Exterior" meaning it helps you sweat more efficiently.
This drink is, in fact a balanced herbal tonic!