Hibiscus

In the language of flowers, hibiscus symbolizes “Delicate Beauty.” That makes sense! If you give a loved one a hibiscus plant, you might be telling them that you think they are beautiful, at least that’s how it would have been interpreted in the Victorian age.


Now you tell me! Which one is the most delicate beauty here? (By the way, that’s my daughter on the right!)


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Hibiscus flowers come in many colors, like this one on my front porch:


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But it is the dark pink or deep magenta flower of the Hibiscus sabdariffa that is used for tea. That’s right, I said tea. These flowers are more than simply a plant to adorn your patio. Tea made from hibiscus petals is refreshing and healthful!


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This bag of hibiscus petals was given to me on a recent trip to Costa Rica. After much discussion, we figured out that they call it Rosa de Jamaica which also seems quite fitting. These dark pink flowers are found throughout Central America and the Caribbean, including Jamaica. 


You can find the recipe for Agua (or Flor) de Jamaica in my blog entry titled “Rain, Rain, Go Away!”


Hibiscus tea is used in warm climates as a cooling herb, useful for fevers and inflammation. It’s traditionally used for respiratory problems, fluid balance, skin health, constipation, restlessness and sleeplessness.


A 2007 study found that drinking hibiscus tea was comparable to the drug, Lisinopril in lowering blood pressure, but with no side effects. Another study on type-2 diabetics also showed a decrease in blood pressure. The dose was 3 cups a day for 6 weeks. 


Hibiscus contains high levels of antioxidants, which is more than green tea! Now that’s good news to me because I’m still not a big fan of green tea. This tasty flower is also packed with numerous flavonoids and minerals, especially manganese and iron. It’s high in vitamin C, A, and thiamine.


It appears that hibiscus might lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, increase HDL levels, and increase the removal of uric acid (good for those with gout). It has been shown to kill cancer cells in a petri dish. Further research is recommended.


In the meantime, hibiscus is considered to be safe and gentle. It tastes great, and is a low calorie beverage that can help with weight loss. So, drink up! (By the way, the tea is quite tart. You can steep it along with some stevia leaves to sweeten it without calories.)


Bobbi Mullins

June 1, 2015


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References:


Shaudys, P. Herbal Treasures. 1990. Garden Way Publishing. Vermont.

http://www.gaiaherbs.com/articles/detail/42/The-Surprising-Health-Benefits-of-Hibiscus

http://nutritionfacts.org/2012/01/08/hibiscus-tea-flower-power/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hibiscus_tea

http://www.livestrong.com/article/329717-rosehip-and-hibiscus-tea-benefits/

http://www.livestrong.com/article/68832-benefits-hibiscus-tea-weight-loss/


© Bobbi Mullins 2011, All rights reserved. FOOD FITNESS FAITH™