FUN FACTS

Botanical name: Hibiscus sabdariffa (Malvaceae).  AKA Agua De Jamaica. Native to North African and Southeast Asia.

CONSTITUENTS/ NUTRITION

The flower and its base (Calyx) contains flavonoids like anthocynins.

USES/BENEFITS

(DisclaimerMildly sedative, soothing for colds, coughs, and chest problems.  Help with digestion and gently stimulates appetite.  Reduces cholesterol.  Reduces liver damage. Helps with lowering blood pressure, and reduces inflammation.  A study from the National Institute of Health found hibiscus extracts to reduce hypertension.   Another research showed hibiscus tea to type II diabetes.  Other studies found hibiscus fights leukemia cells by inducing apotosis - the process by which the body kills bad cells, and keeps good ones.  When apotosis malfunctions, then you have cancer cells that keeps replicating.

CAUTIONS

Use of hibiscus tea may impact drug levels.  Check with your doctor.  Study showed that pregnant women, children under 6 months, and children with chronic renal failure should consult with a doctor before drinking this tea. ¹  Hibiscus is an emmenagogue and can induce periods.  Do not use if you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant.

TYPES

There are 2 main types of hibiscus

— Tropical

Hibiscus (sabdariffa), AKA roselle, red sorrel and flor de Jamaica,  is the hibiscus most commonly used for tea.  The red calyxes from the flowers are used for tea, jam, and juice.

Hibiscus (rosa-sinensis) pedals can also be used for tea.  That's the hibiscus in the featured picture.  It can tolerate the Texas heat, but only with daily watering.  Flowering are the most plentiful during spring or fall (even inside the house), but slows down during the hot summers.  It's best to grow tropical hibiscus in pots where you can bring it in during the winter.  When you transition from outside to home, some leaves will turn yellow and drop, but new leaves will sprout quickly if the environment is between 50 to 70 degrees.

— Non Tropical

Hardy perennial (Hibiscus moscheutos) and Hardy shrub (Hibiscus syriacus) have many varieties and a multitude of colors.  They are primarily used for landscaping and gardening.   They are commonly called Rose Mallow or Swamp Mallow, Altha or Rose of Sharon

PRODUCTS

Hibiscus tea is very common.  Hibiscus vitamin can also be found easily online.  I only found two products for hibiscus jelly and jam.  There are lots of Youtube videos on how to make your own though.

GROWING TROPICAL HIBISCUS

 

Hibiscus plants are often found at Home Depot or Lowes during Spring.  I found mine (rosa-sinensis) in someone's trash a few years ago.  They grow easily in the Texas heat as long as you keep them watered as soon as you see the leaves drooping.  In the hot summers, they need to be watered daily.  When the weather lows starts dipping past 32 degrees, I bring them inside.  They grow quickly and requires trimming to stay healthy.  With a little care, they provide beautiful flowers for tea all year.  The bloom through the winter when I bring them inside.

EDITOR EXPERIENCE

—Recipes

Tropical Hibiscus Tea from fresh flowers recipe:

HERBarn.com

I thoroughly enjoy my hibiscus plant.  For a single serving, use the following quick recipe:

Pedals from 2 flowers (pull pedals from flower)

2 cups of water

1 tbsp of honey (less or more per taste)

Directions: Add water to small pot.  Add pedals.  Bring to boil for 5 minutes, check.  Let it boil for another 5 minutes.  You will see the red color slowly seeping from the pedals into the water.  Discard the pedals and poor tea into pot.  Add honey to taste.  Delicious!

Here a video I thought was useful.   The number of flowers and how long you boil depends on how strong you want your tea.  This video does 8 flowers per 4 cups of water.

 

—Recipe: Roselle Hibiscus Jam

REFERENCES

  1. National Institute of Health retrieved 1/7/2018

 

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