Hibiscus tea is an ancient herbal infusion or tisane with a refreshingly crisp, sweet flavor. It also is good for you. A tea containing hibiscus refers to the hibiscus sabdariffa flower, which is also called Indian sorrel or Florida cranberry.
Research demonstrates that teas brewed with hibiscus may help control high blood pressure. The study of 65 men and women with high blood pressure indicated that the herb lowered the top number in a blood pressure reading by an average of 7 points.
All it took was two cups of hibiscus juice a day. According to Diane L. McKay, Ph.D., of Tufts University in Boston, even a single-digit drop in blood pressure can help reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke.
Favored Complement in Herbal Teas
The dried hibiscus herb is contained in many commercially prepared herbal teas. It is also frequently used by tea companies as a key ingredient in their quality loose leaf herbal blends.
Quality tea shops and retailers typically offer a number of fruit and herbal tea blends that contain dried hibiscus flowers. The shrub-like flower also is found in some soft drinks.
The hibiscus tisane not only shows potential to help with high blood pressure. There are indications that it may contribute to reducing high cholesterol levels and soothing menstrual cramps.
In addition, the herbal tea also has shown to have laxative qualities and is sometimes used as a general detoxifying agent.
While experts say more study is needed before the medical establishment signs off on the actual benefits of this particular herbal tea, some countries already use hibiscus to treat high blood pressure and liver problems.
Preparing Hibiscus Tea
This herbal infusion can be served hot or over ice. It features a lovely sweet, crisp taste. The tisane is brewed in boiling water just like regular tea and can be made from loose flower petals or tea bags.
Spices such as cinnamon and clove may be added during the brewing process. Steep the tea for four-to-five minutes (longer if a stronger brew is desired). Honey, sugar, stevia or other sweeteners may be added based on taste before drinking.
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