The hibiscus is native to tropical regions of the world, though to pinpoint its exact origin, is unknown. The plant will grow in some arid regions, like California. In the USA, the hibiscus grows well in Florida, and Hawaii.
Medicinal Benefits of the Hibiscus
The hibiscus has medicinal benefits, as it a good therapeutic for the heart, and kidneys (diuretic). Medical studies have documented that the hibiscus potent antioxidant activity and beneficial effects on blood pressure and cholesterol. Antioxidants help to boost cell growth, immune system and decreases the risk of cancer and cataracts.
It appears the flower has beneficial effects on blood pressure as it is a diuretic, and the compounds in the flower bud inhibits angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE), a chemical compound that can increase blood pressure.
Purchasing and Using the Hibiscus
The hibiscus can be purchased dried, as a tincture, or in capsule form. Buying it dry has a great benefit as you can make a tea with it. To receive the health benefits of hibiscus if using it as a tincture, it is recommended to take 1 teaspoon twice a day, and in capsule form, take 1,000 mg 2 to 3 times a day.
There are no known detrimental side effects to using this elixir from the tropics. It is advised though, to have caution when consuming it if you are taking doctor prescribed diuretics.
Hibiscus is a great skin cleanser. Scrubbing the hibiscus leaves on the face and neck helps to remove dead skin, and can help to clear up acne, as the leaves can also remove blackheads and whiteheads.
Hibiscus has anti-inflammatory properties and anti-aging properties, helping to slow the aging process of the skin.
The hibiscus acts as an antispasmodic, reducing muscle cramps, stomach cramps and menstrual cramps.
It is highly effective in losing and controlling weight. The flower bud has an enzyme called amylase, and it breaks down the starch and sugar in the body, thus helping to loss and reduce weight.
Preparing Hibiscus Tea
Hibiscus is sold prepared in tea bags, though it is better to buy the whole flower dried and prepare the tea yourself. There are several different recipes for making homemade Hibiscus tea, also known as Agua de Jamaica (Hibiscus Water).
If you want to make an individual cup of tea, just pour 1 cup of boiling water over 1 tablespoon of chopped hibiscus. Let steep for about 15 minutes, then strain, and add raw honey or coconut sugar. You can also pour it over ice to drink cold.
6 cups water
2 cups dried hibiscus petals
1 cinnamon stick
1 pinch ground cloves
1 pinch ground nutmeg
1 pinch ground allspice
1/2 cup chopped piloncillo (Mexican raw sugar cones)
1 1/2 cups white sugar optional to use coconut sugar
Place 6 cups of water in a large saucepan, and bring to a boil.
Stir in the hibiscus, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and allspice.
Reduce heat to medium-low, and gently simmer until the water has turned a deep red, about 30 to 45 minutes.
Stir the chopped piloncillo into the hibiscus water until dissolved, then set aside to cool 15 minutes.
After cooling, strain the warm liquid into a 1 gallon pitcher through a wire mesh strainer. Squeeze as much liquid from the petals as you can, then discard the petals.
Stir in the white sugar or coconut sugar until dissolved, then pour in enough cold water to fill the pitcher, but be careful not to dilute the flavor. Serve immediately or let stand overnight for best flavor.
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