Sunday, October 23, 2011

Hibiscus ... more than just a pretty flower

Hibiscus sabdariffa, a native to the tropical and subtropical parts of the world and member of the Mallow family of plants, is finding its place in the United States, not only as a delicious beverage, but also as an elixir of sorts.

Studies have show that hibiscus when consumed as a tea can be effective in reducing blood pressure. It has also been show to reduce cholesterol levels, thereby reducing the risk of heart disease.

According to a 2004 study published in the journal Phytomedicine (2004;11:375-83) people suffering from hypertension can lower their blood pressure significantly by drinking hibiscus tea daily. The study included seventy people -- half of whom drank 16 ounces (2 measuring cups) of hibiscus tea before breakfast daily or ingested 25 mg. of an antihypertensive medication (captoproil) twice daily. At the end of the study, results shows that the hibiscus was as effective as the medication.

It is also known to be a natural diuretic and is also rich in vitamin C.
In Jamaica and Mexico it is known as Jamaica Red flower tea (flor de Jamaica), while the Egyptians call this tea karkade and believed it to be the preferred beverage of the pharoahs. In India, it is known as gudhal (गुड़हल) and in Brazil it is known as gongura. It may also be called Roselle.

Effective hot or iced it is a delicious way to be healthier and feel better, without medications and their costly side effects!

How to make karkade:
First, of course, buy your organic hibiscus from SensibiliTeas! :0)

1 cup of hibiscus flowers
5 cups of water
sugar or honey to taste
(I use simple syrup so the sugar will be dissolved. I use less sugar that way)
Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 15 - 20 minutes.
Delicious with a squeeze of lime.

Simple Syrup
Add 1 cup of boiling water in 1 cup of sugar. Stir until dissolved.

Enjoy and be well!

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