Hibiscus tea is very high in anti-oxidants and there is significant scientific evidence that it’s blood pressure lowering effect is similar to a diuretic or ACE-inhibitors without the sided effects of these medications.
CAUTION: If you are on medications for hypertension tell your doctor that you are drinking hibiscus tea and if necessary show your doctor the research attached to the links above. You may need a lower dose of your medications. Also hibiscus tea may stimulate menstrual bleeding, this is not usually a problem, but if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant let your obstetrician know that you are drinking it.
You can buy dried hibiscus tea in health food stores such as Sevananda in Atlanta or in pre-packaged tea bags in any grocery store. Look for any tea with hibiscus as the first ingredient. Celestial Seasonings sells hibiscus tea as Red Zinger tea and there are several nice Zinger flavor combinations. Dried hibiscus flower petals are known as sorrel in the Caribbean.
How to Make Hibiscus Tea
You can use the hibiscus flowers straight and just add hot or cold water or you can add it to other high-antioxidant spices. This is my favorite combination of hibiscus tea and spices but you can combine it with other spices such as cardamon and ginger.
1 teaspoon dried hibiscus leaves
1 teaspoon whole cloves – (USDA – highest level of antioxidants on the planet)
1 inch cinnamon stick
Add Water – how much water you add depends on how you plan to drink the tea.
Add 1 quart of cold water if you plan to drink the tea throughout the day instead of water. Let it steep for about 15- 20 minutes until the water is a light bright red. A French Press is very useful for this but not necessary. You can use any large water container with a strainer to keep the tea leaves and spices out of you drink. You can add hot water if you only plan to drink 1 or 2 cups as a warm beverage instead of tea or coffee. Hot water destroys some antioxidants, but it is faster and more comforting if you like warm drinks especially on a cold morning.
After you’re had the tea don’t discard the spices put them in an open bowl as an air freshener.