Hibiscus flowers have been used since the days of ancient Egyptian Pharaohs, for teas and medicinal purposes. Nowadays, it is used ceremoniously to toast weddings in Egypt and Sudan! There are roughly over 230 species of this tropical flower, and this tea is a very traditional beverage in countries like: Sudan, Mexico, Caribbean, Egypt, India, China, Europe, and Africa. It is known as "sour tea" in Iran, "agua de Jamaica" in Mexico and Jamaica, and "karkade" in India. In the United Sates, hibiscus is one of the main ingredients in the popular "Red Zinger" variety by Celestial Seasonings, introduced in 1972. Not only is this flower striking in it's beauty, but it also packs a punch in flavor and nutrition! By itself, the tea possesses a flavor that is a bit tart, and has a gorgeous red color! There are many spices and flavors that harmonize well with it, and each region/ culture has it's unique way of enjoying it- either hot or cold.
Some of the awesome health benefits are:
**May lower blood pressure, and aids in maintaining! (Studies indicated a decrease in high blood pressure patients that consumed at least 3 cups a day, especially in Type 2 Diabetes patients.)
**May aid in lowering cholesterol.
**The antioxidant properties help with cardiovascular disease prevention, cancer prevention, as well as anti-aging components.
**Is used as a cough suppressant, and as medicinal purposes for upper respiratory illness in some cultures.
***High in Vitamin C, which helps with immunity support, and speeding the metabolism.
***Contains anti-inflammatory properties that help with acne, and stomach or intestine issues.
***Is used to cool the body, (or maintain fluid levels), in warm climates, as well as aid those with water retention.
WARNING FOR EXPECTANT MOTHERS: Please consult a physician in regards to consuming this tea, or other herbal tea varieties, especially during early pregnancy.
Although there are other teas known for their healthful qualities, (such as Green Tea), you won't find one as exotic, unique in flavor and color, refreshing, or as healthy as the hibiscus! If you can't find the bagged or "loose" hibiscus teas, look for the "Passion", or "Red Zinger" varieties that contain hibiscus. You may also find supplements using the hibiscus extract, as well as concentrated hibiscus tea products, (no brewing required!)