How to Make Hibiscus Tea (2 Ways)

Nutrition / August 23, 2016

You may be familiar with the hibiscus flower, Hibiscus sabdariffa, which is made into a popular tea and makes for a refreshing summertime drink. In other parts of the world, it is also known as bissap, roselle, red sorrel, agua de Jamaica, Lo-Shen, Sudan tea, and sour tea.(1) It does indeed have a sour taste, similar to cranberry juice. But it’s low in calories and caffeine-free – making it a fantastic choice for every day (and all day) consumption.

Hibiscus imparts a vibrant red color when steeped that not only looks beautiful but also boasts beneficial health properties. Published research on hibiscus have focused on its effects on blood pressure and cholesterol, in particular:

  • Blood Pressure: One study found that consuming hibiscus sadariffa (HS) tea was just as effective at lowering blood pressure as a common blood pressure medication known as Captropril, but less effective than Lisinopril.(2)
  • Cholesterol: A 2009 study looked at HS tea’s ability to support cholesterol maintenance.(3) Participants were given either HS tea or black tea for one month. After the month, researchers saw that participants who drank HS tea were able to help maintain total, LDL, and HDL cholesterol levels. Black tea on the other hand only impacted HDL levels.

Hibiscus is safe and has shown no adverse side effects.

However, positive studies have used the following doses:

  • For blood pressure maintenance: One cup of hibiscus tea 2x daily
  • For cholesterol maintenance: One cup of hibiscus tea 2x daily

This is my current go-to tea when I want something refreshing. I even make a big batch of it iced (recipe below) and take it in my water bottle to the gym or on hikes. Let me know what you think in the comments below!

Lemon Hibiscus Tea

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp. dried organic hibiscus flowers
  • 1 slice or 1/2 tbsp. organic fresh lemon juice

Directions:

  1. Using a single serve tea steeper or tea bag, place hibiscus flowers in the steeper
  2. Squeeze fresh lemon juice into your cup
  3. Add hot water
  4. Let steep for 5 minutes (or longer for strength)
  5. Enjoy!

Hibiscus tea is just as wonderful cold and can be made into a refreshing lemonade, too!

Lemon Hibiscus Tea

Hibiscus Mint Ice Tea

Ingredients: 

  • 1 tbsp. dried organic hibiscus flowers
  • Handful of ice
  • 4 cups of cold water
  • 1/4 cup mint leaves
  • Optional: 1/4 cup simple syrup to sweeten

Directions: 

  1. Place hibiscus flowers in a tea bag
  2. Add tea bag, mint leaves and water to a pitcher
  3. Stir briefly to combine and then place in the fridge overnight to steep
  4. When the tea is finished steeping (when the flavor and color is to your liking) add your ice and serve!
  5. If you’ve decided to sweeten, use simple syrup as regular honey and sugar won’t dissolve well in the cold tea. To make simple syrup heat equal parts sugar (I use coconut sugar) and water in a pan.  Stir until the sugar has dissolved and then add to your ice tea.

Have you tried hibiscus tea before? Let me know in the comments below.

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Sources:

  1. jn.nutrition.org/content/140/2/298.full
  2. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3593772/
  3. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19678781

Monica

8 thoughts on “How to Make Hibiscus Tea (2 Ways)

Carrie McGee

I’ve been drinking hibiscus tea for several months, as part of a plan to manage my blood pressure through diet and exercise. I find the tea beautiful and satisfying in the way red wine or cranberry juice can be, and perhaps it makes a difference in my blood pressure, which has improved. I like to think so! During cooler times of year I add chopped cinnamon stick to the mix. I’m looking forward to trying your summery additions of lemon and mint – sounds delicious!

Gaila Moore

I’ve been drinking hibiscus tea for months and I prefer to brew in the refrigerator like your recipe above. Sometimes I mix a little of the cold tea in my blender with fresh mint leaves and then add that to the whole pitcher. It is delicious. And I’ve noticed an improvement in my blood pressure. The tea is beautiful and children can also drink it. I add very little sweetener and if I do, I use Erythritol (Wholesome Zero).

Thank you for all the good tips you provide for those of us who have osteoporosis. I am also vegan and welcome any tips for vegans who have osteoporosis.

sandy

I have been drinking Jamaica as it called in Mexico for literally years. I brew it cold in the summer and add a couple sticks of cinnamon and leave it overnight. I make it by the pitcher. I like it pretty dark red. If you are in Mexico, you can buy the flowers in the produce department or at a local market for around 7$ per kilo so it is good thing to bring back as here it can be a lot more expensive. I think my blood pressure over the years has come down to the point where i now have low blood pressure; i used to be around 120/70 and now i am around 98/58. I drink a minimum of 2 tall glasses per day but often more. I always drink it everyday. It is also a very popular drink in Egypt- drank both hot and cold there too. High blood pressure seems uncommon in Egypt. Other people in my family mix an ounce or two of pomegrante juice with it or use a bit of honey, Some people carbonate it by using a soda stream machine.

Monica

Hi Sandy,

Mixing with some pomegranate juice and carbonation sounds lovely! Thanks for sharing 🙂

– Monica from AlgaeCal

Judy

I will definitely try the hibiscus tea to help lower my blood pressure. Does it help to lower blood sugar?

I would like to know your preferred brand and where it can be purchased.

Thanks much.

Monica

Hi Judy,

Hibiscus tea has mostly been studied for cholesterol and blood pressure and it doesn’t look like there is any research looking at blood sugar. So unfortunately, I can’t say.

As for the brand, I have been buying the dried hibiscus tea leaves in bulk at my local health food store. The most important thing to look for is it being organic if possible, as you are steeping the leaves and then drinking it.

Hope this helps!

– Monica from AlgaeCal

Shahnaz

I got a hypertension in 2011. Doctor gave me prescription, that I took for just a few days and found this amazing tea info online. Started taking that immediately and high blood pressure was gone. It’s been 5 years and I never need to take any medicine for my hypertension. It’s gone, no more high blood pressure.

Monica

Wow – thanks for sharing Shahnaz! So wonderful to hear you found a natural treatment (tea!) for your high blood pressure.

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