hibiscus tea

11 Health Benefits Of Hibiscus Tea (+Possible Side Effects & Easy Recipe)

Hibiscus tea is a delicious and refreshing drink that offers many health benefits. It has been known to help with digestion, cholesterol levels, decrease inflammation, and much more! This tart flavor but tasty drink is the perfect way to start your day or relax after a long day at work.

In this article, we’ll go over an easy recipe for hibiscus tea as well as discuss what you need to know about possible side effects and easy recipes.

hibiscus tea

Ready to get started? Great!

Here’s what we’ll go over:

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What Is Hibiscus Tea?

Hibiscus tea is a tea made from the dried petals of Hibiscus sabdariffa. It’s slightly tart and sour tea but has an amazing fruity flavor that makes this herbal tea really unique.

In addition to the refreshing flavor, hibiscus tea is often consumed for its many health benefits and is a very common drink in many parts of the world due to the vitamins and minerals it provides.


Health Benefits Of Hibiscus Tea

There are quite a few health benefits associated with drinking hibiscus tea.

Here are just a few

  • Anti-inflammatory properties
  • Helps lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure
  • High in Vitamin C, A & K
  • Rich in antioxidants
  • Can help aid in digestion
  • Helps support the body during times of sickness and disease
  • Rich in iron
  • Contains important minerals like zinc, calcium, magnesium, and potassium

As you can see, hibiscus tea is a very powerful drink that has a whole array of amazing health benefits.

But don’t take my word for it, let’s go over a few of the specific benefits in more detail and studies that have proven its effectiveness.

dried hibiscus flower petals

Specific Benefits And Scientific Studies Related To Hibiscus Tea

1. Lowers Blood Pressure

A 2010 study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that after 6 weeks of including hibiscus tea in their daily diet, both systolic and diastolic blood pressure was reduced.

And participants with higher blood pressure numbers seemed to show a greater response.

2. Improves Insulin Resistance And Helps With Blood Sugar Control

There are a few studies involving rats that show promise for the use of hibiscus on insulin resistance and blood sugar control.

In one study, the rats were fed a high-fructose diet and after 3 weeks of taking a hibiscus extract, many of the blood levels measured returned to normal or were significantly lowered.

Another review published in 2020 compiled data from 68 research articles and concluded that “Hibiscus was often equally or more effective than pharmaceuticals in improving some biomarkers of metabolic syndrome, especially blood glucose and insulin sensitivity.”

3. Lowers Cholesterol

There have actually been a few studies on hibiscus tea and cholesterol levels and the results have been mixed. In a 2011 study, after 30 days participants did not see a change in bad (LDL) cholesterol levels but did see an improvement in good (HDL) levels.

A second study in 2013, found that there was no significant change in the cholesterol levels of participants.

But, in 2014 a review of clinical trials it was found that drinking hibiscus tea or the extract did increase good cholesterol along with decreased bad cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

4. Weight Loss

Studies suggest that hibiscus tea may be associated with weight loss and offer some protection against obesity.

One study with 36 participants found that after 12 weeks of taking a hibiscus extract there was a reduction in weight, BMI, and overall body fat.

In addition to the previous study, an animal study that was performed had similar findings. It was reported that overweight mice had a reduction in overall body weight when given the extract for 60 days.

5. Offers Anti-Cancer Properties

In addition to anthocyanins, hibiscus tea also contains polyphenols, both of which have been shown to contain anti-cancer properties.

While most of the research is still done in test tube studies, it has been noted that mouth cancer, stomach cancer, and prostate cancer cells may have limited growth and ability to spread when Hibiscus tea is introduced.

6. May Aid Liver Health

In recent studies, it has been found that hibiscus tea may help in treating liver diseases and aiding in overall liver health.

According to a small study in 2014, 19 people took hibiscus tea extract for 12 weeks and saw a significant improvement in liver steatosis.

Two other animal studies showed that rats and hamsters given hibiscus extract experienced decreased markers of liver damage and increased drug-detoxifying enzymes.

And since we know that the liver affects almost every other area of the body, and its good function is essential for a healthy life, these are important findings!

7. Assists Digestion

Many people enjoy the taste of hibiscus tea but some may also see an improvement in regular elimination.

According to a study published in the IOSR Journal of Biotechnology and Biochemistry, this is due to the diuretic properties in the tea which can have positive effects in treating constipation along with improving the overall health of your gastrointestinal system.

8. May Inhibit Kidney Stone Formation

One study, performed on rats, showed that hibiscus “significantly lowered the deposition of stone-forming constituents in the kidneys”.

And while more human studies need to be done, it is definitely something for those who suffer from kidney stones to consider!

9. Anti-Inflammatory & Antibacterial

Since hibiscus tea is a great source of vitamin C (and other helpful vitamins, minerals, and compounds), it’s no surprise that it may offer anti-inflammatory and antibacterial potential.

An interesting study published in 2009 found that extracts of hibiscus may have the potential to kill MRSA-a bacteria that causes staph infections linked to serious conditions like sepsis, pneumonia, skin infections, and abscesses.

In another research study, rats were given hibiscus extract and the number of antioxidant enzymes in their bodies increased while the harmful effects of free radicals decreased significantly.

10. Antidepressant Potential

Hibiscus tea contains vitamins and minerals, flavonoids, and anti-inflammatory properties which have shown promise as an antidepressant in some studies.

Drinking hibiscus tea has been shown to calm the nervous system, reduce anxiety and depression, and help to relax both mind and body.

And since there is evidence that depression may be connected to inflammation levels, an anti-inflammatory tea may be something to consider for relief of symptoms related to depression.

11. Possible Aphrodisiac

Hibiscus is often used in aphrodisiac tea blends, and for good reason. It has shown promise in lowering blood pressure, cholesterol, and weight issues, along with anti-inflammatory properties, a wide variety of nutrients, and flavanoids- all of which lend to better overall health.

But, in addition to youthful vitality, it seems that a comparative study has shown that (at least in rats), hibiscus may be an aphrodisiac plant that “enhances sexual ability”.

hibiscus flower tea

Potential Side Effects Of Hibiscus Flower Tea

Even though hibiscus tea is generally considered safe and side effects are rare, there are a few conditions and situations that should be taken into consideration before enjoying a cup of this delicious tea.

And as always, please do your own research and check with your health care provider to see if it’s safe for you.

1. Drug Interaction

If you are taking medication for high blood pressure or high blood sugar, drinking hibiscus tea is something you would definitely want to speak to your doctor about because there is the possibility of low blood pressure or sugar levels.

There is also the possibility of interaction if you are taking Tylenol as well.

So, as a general rule, if you take any medication you should check for drug interactions before drinking hibiscus tea.

2. Birth Control, Pregnancy And Breastfeeding

Hibiscus tea is not recommended for pregnant women or those who are breastfeeding. In addition, if you take hormonal birth control you should speak to your health care provider before drinking this tea because there is some discrepancy over whether it may or may not cause heavier bleeding.

3. Surgery

Since this tea could cause blood pressure or blood sugar levels to go down, it is best to talk to your doctor if you have surgery planned just to make sure that it is safe for you and your specific situation.

4. Allergy

As with any substance, there is always the possibility of an allergic reaction. Feeling itchy, swelling, hives, symptoms similar to hay fever are all possible reactions. And if you are allergic to ragweed be cautious- this tea may cause similar symptoms.

5. Hallucinations

Ok, now this one might sound a little crazy, but people have actually reported that they have felt strange, dizzy, intoxicated, and there are even stories of hallucinations after drinking this tea. There’s even a name for this feeling, “Hibiscus drunk”.

While I don’t doubt people have had this experience, there seems to be a lack of scientific research to back up the claims.

One theory is that since hibiscus tea can lower blood pressure and blood sugar or interact with some medications, what people are experiencing is actually related to those side effects. After all, if blood pressure or blood sugar levels get too low it is very possible to experience dizziness, confusion, blurred vision, and even feeling intoxicated.


Hibiscus Tea Recipe

So, if you’ve read the benefits and possible side effects and feel that this delicious tea is something you’d like to try, here is an easy recipe to get you started.

Ingredients

Optional Ingredients

  • 1/2 tsp raw honey or your favorite sweetener (or add to taste)
  • cinnamon stick or ground cinnamon
  • cloves
  • ginger
  • mint leaves
  • lemon or lime juice

Instructions

  1. In a small-medium saucepan heat water until boiling
  2. Turn off the heat and add 2 tsp of dried hibiscus to the hot water (or add water to your mug and use a tea ball to steep right in your favorite cup)
  3. Let the petals steep for 5-10 minutes
  4. After your tea has reached the desired strength, pour through a small strainer into your favorite mug
  5. Add your favorite sweetener if desired
  6. Enjoy!

Helpful Tips– If you have never had hibiscus tea before, start with a 5 minute steep as that may be long enough. Steeping 10 minutes creates a very strong tea (at least in my opinion).

If you would like to reuse the hibiscus petals feel free to remove them from the strainer or cup and set them aside for another cup of tea (it may be a little weaker), or put them in a cup or small glass jar with cold water, cover, and set it in the fridge for a few hours (or overnight).

Then you can strain the petals, add a few ice cubes if you like, and have hibiscus iced tea the next day!


Printable Hibiscus Tea Recipe

hibiscus tea

Hibiscus Tea

Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 7 minutes

Hibiscus tea is a delicious and refreshing drink that offers many health benefits. It has been known to help with digestion, cholesterol levels, decrease inflammation, and much more! This tart but tasty drink is the perfect way to start your day or relax after a long day at work

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp dried hibiscus flowers
  • 1 cup boiling water

Instructions

  1. In a small saucepan heat water until boiling
  2. Turn off the heat and add 2 tsp of dried hibiscus to the hot water hot water
  3. Let the petals steep for 5-10 minutes
  4. After your tea has reached the desired strength, pour through a small strainer into your favorite mug
  5. Add your favorite sweetener if desired
  6. Enjoy!

Notes

Optional Ingredients:

  • 1/2 tsp raw honey or your favorite sweetener (or add to taste)
  • cinnamon stick or ground cinnamon
  • cloves
  • ginger
  • mint leaves
  • lemon or lime

  • Helpful Tips:


    FAQ’s About Hibiscus Tea

    Still have a few questions? No problem! I’ll try to answer them here 🙂

    1. Where Can I Find Dried Hibiscus For Tea?

    You may be able to find dried hibiscus petals at a bulk food or health food store, but if you can’t get it local you can always try these dried, organic Egyptian hibiscus flowers found online.

    2. Can You Drink Hibiscus Tea Every Day?

    As long as you have no health issues or allergies that would be exacerbated by hibiscus tea, it is generally safe to drink daily (in moderation of course).

    I personally wouldn’t drink more than 1-2 cups per day, but that is something to decide for yourself or talk with your health care provider for a more individualized recommendation.

    3. When Is The Best Time To Drink Hibiscus Tea?

    You can drink this tea any time of the day. Some people prefer to drink it before bed because it is somewhat calming, especially if it’s warm, but feel free to enjoy it whenever you’d like.

    4. What Does It Taste Like?

    Hibiscus tea has a taste similar to cranberry juice. It’s somewhat tart which is why people often choose to add honey or their sweetener of choice or balance the flavor with other add-ins like lemon, lime, or cinnamon, but that’s really a personal preference.


    Last Thoughts About Hibiscus Tea

    Hibiscus tea is a delicious and refreshing drink made from beautiful flowers that offer many health benefits. And while there are possible side effects, it’s generally considered safe to consume as long as you check with your health care provider if you have a health condition or concerns.

    On the bright side, if you are looking for a unique tea that is packed with vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, this is it!

    This tart but delicious is perfect any time of the day. If you haven’t tried this amazing herbal tea yet I highly recommend giving it try- especially if you’re interested in boosting your immune system during cold and flu season.

    Have you tried hibiscus tea? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Feel free to leave a comment or send me a message and tell me all about it.

    hibiscus tea recipe

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