hibiscus | hibiscus sabdariffa
Botanical / Latin Name: Hibiscus sabdariffa | Plant Family: Malvaceae | Parts Used: Flowers
The national flower of Malaysia, Hibiscus is a beautiful plant originating from Angola. The red hibiscus is the flower of the Hindu goddess, Kali, and appears in depictions of her in art, often with the goddess emerging from the plant. Because of this, hibiscus is a great flower to work with when giving offerings to Kali and Lord Ganesha.
Hibiscus flowers contain cyanidin, a naturally occurring pigment that can be found in cranberries, hawthorn, grapes, raspberry, elderberry and other healthy berries. It’s been used traditionally to support healthy fluid retention levels and overall cardiovascular health! There are 200 species of Hibiscus but some of the most popular species are hardy hibiscus,rose of Sharon, rose mallow and tropical hibiscus.
Most types of Hibiscus can live all year long but in the winter months, its important to give it as much sun as possible (2-3 hours ideally). When heating your home during the winter months, your Hibiscus will require more water in order for your baby to thrive. All you have to do is check to see if the soil is dry to the touch and nourish with fertilizer when necessary.
If yellow leaves start forming at the top of your plant this is a clear sign of dehydration so give your Hibiscus some extra love with more water. If this doesn’t help, your plant can be suffering from root damage. Yellow leaves in the middle of your plant can be a sign of overwatering. February is a great time for repotting your Hibiscus plant if need be. When it blossoms, you can plant it in outdoor soil and water daily.
Hibiscus is high in ascorbic acid, aka vitamin C. Vitamin C, a water soluble vitamin, is responsible for strengthening the immune system, assisting in the production of white blood cells. Our white blood cells fight pathogens and infections that try to creep their way in. Vitamin C also does a great job of keeping the nervous system working properly.
Also high in iron, this coupled with the vitamin C make for a great cocktail (vitamin C increases absorption of iron). You can also find small bits of potassium, magnesium and zinc in your hibiscus tea.
A recent study published in The Journal of Nutrition used a randomized controlled trial to see whether or not hibiscus tea could reduce blood pressure in those with mild hypertension or prehypertension. 100 participants, split into two groups continued their diets as normal for six weeks. One group was instructed to drink hibiscus tea. After six weeks, researchers were able to spot a substantial decrease in blood pressure in the group that drank the tea regularly. The results of this study also suggested that if consumed over time on a consistent basis, hibiscus tea can reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack.
In a study published in the Food and Function Journal, 19 overweight participants were administer hibiscus tea extract for a total of three months, with substantial improvement seen in liver steatosis, a condition all participants suffered from. Liver Steatosis is a condition which constitutes fat accumulated in the liver, which can cause liver failure.
When consumed in large amounts, hibiscus can become dangerous for the liver. Pregnant women should stay away from hibiscus anything as it can put them at risk for premature labor or bleeding.
This tea is super easy to make and absolutely delicious! All you’ll need is…
1/2 cup of dried hibiscus
2 cups of water
1-2 handfuls of ginger (sliced)
2 cinnamon sticks or 1/4 cinnamon chips
Honey to taste
In a small or medium pot, add your hibiscus, sliced ginger, cinnamon and water and bring to a boil for about 5 minutes.
While your tea is decocting, fill your mason jar or container with ice. I’m using a recycled pasta jar! Go ahead and get a little fancy and drizzle some honey over the ice while we’re waiting.
When your tea is done, strain your hibiscus ginger decoction into your ice filled container. Add more ice if necessary.