Hibiscus flowers are a feast for the eyes. Large, fleshy and fragile, their bright colors open up to the world, revealing all their beauty. But hibiscus flowers are also precious health allies, as we will discover later in the article. We will see what the most recent scientific studies say about the properties of hibiscus and its beloved infusion, the hibiscus tea, and we will explain the different preparations of this drink, all to be tried. Let's begin!
Hibiscus tea, properties
Hibiscus tea contains antioxidants, including anthocyanins, but also beta carotene and phenolic acids. Not only that, this drink is characterized by high amounts of calcium and the presence of vitamin C and B vitamins, such as niacin, or B3, and riboflavin, or B2, but also zinc, magnesium, phosphorus and iron (Diantini et al. al, Biomed Rep, 2021). The hibiscus infusion can be drunk both hot and cold, has a sour taste and is a low-calorie drink (Jamrozik et al, Foods, 2022).
Hibiscus tea, the drink that reduces the waistline and protects the heart
A glass of hibiscus tea, about 200 ml, a day for 30 days is a powerful elixir of life. Indeed, this infusion has been shown to reduce, in the volunteers who had taken it, waist circumference and thus visceral fat, which is by far the most harmful and dangerous type of fat in the body, since it produces hormones, increases of inflammation and the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Not only that, taking a glass of hibiscus tea a day for a month also made it possible to increase the good HDL cholesterol and to reduce blood pressure (Diantini et al, Biomed Rep, 2021). In addition, fasting blood sugar is reduced already after two weeks of taking hibiscus tea (Jamrozik et al, Foods, 2022).
The infusion of hibiscus flowers is detoxifying and helps to remove toxins from the blood and liver (Jamrozik et al, Foods, 2022). Not only that, hibiscus increases the levels of antioxidants in the liver by putting the liver gland in the best conditions to counteract free radicals, which could undermine its various functions, including stimulating the removal of toxins as waste substances (Jamrozik et al, Foods , 2022).
Hibiscus reverses skin aging processes
Topical application of hibiscus tea to the skin has been shown to reverse skin aging processes, increasing levels of antioxidants in tissue, acting as an anti-inflammatory and counteracting dehydrated skin, wrinkles and dark spots. The anti-aging action can be traced back to one of the active ingredients of hibiscus, which is hibiscus acid (Wang et al, Molecules, 2022). Hibiscus has been shown to counteract the damage of UV rays, stimulating collagen synthesis and reducing melanin production for a more homogeneous skin color (Li et al, J Sci Food Agric, 2020). You can use hibiscus tea as a facial toner. In a spray mix 5 parts hibiscus tea with one part rose water. If you wish, for a soothing action, you can also pour a teaspoon of aloe vera gel.
Hibiscus tea, preparations
Hibiscus tea can be prepared in different ways, with a hot or a cold infusion. For the hot infusion, boiling water is poured over the hibiscus flowers, two tablespoons of dried flowers per liter of water, and left to rest for 10 minutes. The cold infusion involves pouring the flowers into water at room temperature, the same amount of flowers and water as the hot infusion is valid, for 7-8 hours or, even better, for the whole night. The hot infusion is the one most used in studies that deal with evaluating the properties of hibiscus. However, the cold infusion, which is a more recent and therefore less studied type of preparation, is starting to be increasingly taken into consideration. In fact, the cold infusion, as emerges from very recent research, helps to retain a greater quantity of beneficial compounds compared to the hot infusion, which instead could cause the degradation of some antioxidant compounds that are thermolabile (Larasati et al, Beverages, 2023). At present it is possible to find very few studies regarding the properties of the cold-prepared infusion. A noteworthy study claims that both hot and cold brews prepared with hibiscus flowers show comparable antihypertensive properties (Salem et al, Frontiers in Pharmacology, 2022). Then, to sweeten the acidic note of the hibiscus infusion, both hot and cold, other juices are often added, preferably without added sugar. For example, pouring a small glass of pomegranate juice into hibiscus tea is an excellent choice, to give it sweetness but also to enrich the drink with further antioxidant properties. Alternatively, in the preparation phase of the infusion, both hot and cold, it is possible to add other ingredients capable of giving sweet and spicy notes. For example, it is possible to add slices of orange and pineapple to the hibiscus flowers, but also cinnamon and then pour the water proceeding with the infusion (Salami et al, Journal of Food Quality, 2020).