What is Hibiscus Tea?
October 1, 2015
Delightfully fragrant, exotic, and soothing, hibiscus tea delivers a unique flavor and a bouquet of potential health benefits. Hibiscus tea is cultivated from the tropical Hibiscus sabdariffa flower, and is celebrated the world over. The hibiscus flower is native to Africa, and produces tea that is bright red in color and packed with fruity flavors.
The Hibiscus sabdariffa flower is found in tropical climates around the world, including Africa, Central and South America, Mexico, and the Caribbean. It has a long history of use in both cuisine and healing, particularly in a number of African countries where it was first cultivated.
Hibiscus tea has been used in Egypt and Sudan for hundreds of years, where it is called “Karkade.” In ancient Egypt, the tea was served cold and used primarily by Pharaohs to cool off in the desert heat. Hibiscus tea played an important role in several religious and healing ceremonies in the Nile Valley during this time. Hibiscus tea remains a very popular drink throughout Africa, especially in northern and western African countries like Nigeria. Today, traditional Egyptian and Sudanese weddings still typically contain a toast using hibiscus tea.
The botanist Matthias de l’Obel was the first to publish his notes about the Hibiscus sabdariffa plant in 1576, and later scientific journals confirmed the use of the hibiscus flower as a popular ingredient in food and drink in many African countries. It is thought that the hibiscus flower first made its way into the Western World via African slaving ships. Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, farmers began cultivating the plant in Guatemala, Mexico, Australia, Hawaii, Florida, and the Caribbean.
Today, hibiscus tea has become popular in Mexico and Central America, where it is often used in aguas frescas, a type of chilled drink made from extracts or juices. In the Caribbean, hibiscus tea is sometimes combined with a variety of other herbs to created a chilled, spiced holiday beverage. Asian cultures also typically consume hibiscus tea as a cold beverage, particularly in Thailand.
Alternatively, tea drinkers in Europe and North America often sip hot hibiscus tea, sometimes with sugar or other sweeteners. No matter where you go in the world, it’s likely that you’ll find a new way of enjoying this bright red tropical tea.
Unlike true teas, hibiscus tea does not come from the Camellia sinensis plant and does not contain any caffeine. That means you can enjoy a hot mug of hibiscus tea before bed to soothe your mind and help you relax.
Hibiscus tea has been used in healing practices for hundreds of years around the globe. In Africa, hibiscus has been used for centuries to regulate the body temperature, lower blood pressure, support heart health, and alleviate upper respiratory troubles.*
Modern research has shown that hibiscus tea may in fact be an effective treatment for high blood pressure. Additionally, some researchers believe that hibiscus may be used to treat high cholesterol levels and digestive issues.
Hibiscus is rich in vitamin C and minerals, and is also revered as a mild tonic. Sipping on a steaming cup of hibiscus tea is thought to promote relaxation and ease the aches and malaise associated with colds and other illnesses. As always, check with your doctor before consuming any herbal beverages if you are pregnant or have any ongoing health conditions.
Steeping is Easy
- Fill the kettle with fresh, filtered water and heat to a boil.
- Steep tea for 5 to 7 minutes.
- Experiment to find your favored steeping time. Enjoy Sip by Sip.
Thanks to its rich, bold, citrusy flavor, hibiscus tea can be used in a variety of recipes. The Tropical Hibiscus Super Tea Booster contains finely ground Nigerian hibiscus blossoms infused with natural pineapple and lychee, and can be used in a multitude of ways:
- Add a scoop to your fruit smoothies
- Blend into agave syrup or honey
- Add into fruit sorbet
- Stir into yogurt
- Add to applesauce
From chilled hibiscus tea on the shores of the Nile to steaming mugs of hibiscus blends in Europe, hibiscus has made its way into cuisine around the globe. Between the full fruity flavors, the attractive bright red coloring, and the powerful health benefits, there is much to love about hibiscus tea. Browse through our full selection of hibiscus teas to find the one that suits your taste buds best.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.