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Hibiscus Tea

Wikipedia: Hibiscus_tea | Teaviews: hibiscus-tea 
Updated: Jul. 18, 2012 

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About Hibiscus Tea | Best (Top-Rated) Hibiscus Tea

About Hibiscus Tea

Glass of iced hibiscus tea
Image by Meutia Chaerani / Indradi Soemardjan, CC BY-SA 3.0.
Hibiscus tea, also called roselle tea, is an herbal tea made from hibiscus flowers. This drink is often consumed iced, and is often sweetened. It has a sour flavor and bears some resemblance to fruit juices.

Large Hibiscus Flowers
Hibiscus Flowers
from Upton Tea
Although the dried tea looks like it is made from petals, it is actually made from the sepals (calyces), the small structures at the base of the flower. Many species of hibiscus are grown ornamentally, but the species Hibiscus sabdariffa (also known as roselle) is the most common one used in herbal teas. Chinese hibiscus, or Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, is also sometimes used to produce herbal teas, but this article focuses on the sabdariffa species.

The roselle species can be grown commercially, as a perennial, in hot tropical areas, or as an annual in colder climates. Hibiscus tea is produced only from certain cultivars or varieties of Hibiscus sabdariffa; other cultivars of this plant are used to produce fiber, or for ornamental purposes such as landscaping and gardening.

Hibiscus is also one of the most common ingredients in herbal blends; it even occurs as the main ingredient in many herbal blends widely available in supermarkets in the U.S. Hibiscus is rather acidic, and its most common use in blends is to impart a sour taste and dark red or purple color, although it also imparts aroma as well.

A drink of many names:

Purplish Hibiscus Flowers
from Shanti Tea
Hibiscus tea is widely consumed as a drink on its own from Southeast Asia to Africa and the Caribbean; each of these regions puts their own unique twist on how the drink is prepared. In Latin America, the drink is known as agua de flor de Jamaica, sometimes shortened to agua de Jamaica, rosa de Jamaica, or just Jamaica. In Panama, hibiscus tea is called saril. In North Africa, especially Egypt, the drink is called karkadé(كَركَديه‎) which just means hibiscus in Arabic; this region has a long history of the use of this drink.

In some regions, hibiscus is also blended with black tea.

Medicinal uses and health benefits of hibiscus tea:

Hibiscus planted in rows, being harvested
Roselle plants being harvested.
Public domain image courtesy of Wikipedia User Mbopar
Hibiscus tea has traditionally been used to treat hypertension (high blood pressure), lower fever, and treat liver disorders. Hibiscus is also rich in vitamin C and other antioxidants.

A human study has validated that hibiscus tea, in an amount easily incorporated into the diet, is effective at lowering blood pressure in people suffering from hypertension[1]. The extract of the hibiscus sabdariffa plant has been studied more extensively and compared to various drugs used to lower blood pressure: it was found in a 2004 study to be roughly comparable in effect and tolerability to captopril[2], and a 2007 study found it to be less effective than lisinopril, but it showed 100% tolerability (absence of intense side effects) in this study[3]. It is likely that hibiscus acts to lower blood pressure through being an ACE inhibitor.[3]

There is evidence both from studies on rats and rabbits, and more recently, human studies, that hibiscus sabdariffa can lower cholesterol levels[4].

Studies in mice and rats have also validated that hibiscus has a fever-lowering (antipyretic) effect, and the evidence suggests that the mechanism by which it acts is different from that of aspirin.[5]

A study in mice found that hibiscus sabdariffa can prevent liver damage caused by acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol and a number of other pain-killers, which is known to cause liver damage in high enough doses.[6]


1. Diane L. McKay et. al., Hibiscus Sabdariffa L. Tea (Tisane) Lowers Blood Pressure in Prehypertensive and Mildly Hypertensive Adults, Journal of Nutrition, Vol. 140, No. 2, pp. 298-303, Feb. 2010.

2. A. Herrera-Arellano, et. al., Effectiveness and tolerability of a standardized extract from Hibiscus sabdariffa in patients with mild to moderate hypertension: a controlled and randomized clinical trial., Phytomedicine, Vol. 11, No. 5, pp.375-82. Jul. 2004.

3. A. Herrera-Arellano, et. al., Clinical effects produced by a standardized herbal medicinal product of Hibiscus sabdariffa on patients with hypertension. A randomized, double-blind, lisinopril-controlled clinical trial., Planta Med; Vol. 73, No. 1, pp. 6-12, Jan. 2007.

4. Tzu-Li Lin et. al., Hibiscus sabdariffa extract reduces serum cholesterol in men and women, Nutrition Research, Vol. 27, No. 3, pp. 140-145, Mar. 2007.

5. Wantana Reanmongkol, Arunporn Itharat, Antipyretic activity of the extracts of Hibiscus sabdariffa calyces L. in experimental animals, Songklanakarin Journal of Science and Technology, Vol. 29, Suppl. 1, pp. 29-38, 2007.

6. Liang-Chi Liu et. al.,
Aqueous extract of Hibiscus sabdariffa L. decelerates acetaminophen-induced acute liver damage...
, Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, Vol. 90, No. 2, Jan. 2010, pp. 329-337.

Best Hibiscus Tea

The notion of the "best" Hibiscus Tea is subjective, because different people have different tastes. We present the most often-rated and highest-rated teas in this category, and allow you to draw your own conclusions.

Most Often-Rated Teas

Picture of Tropical Hibiscus Herbal Tea

Tropical Hibiscus Herbal Tea

Brand:Simply Balanced
Caffeine:Caffeine Free
3 Ratings
Picture of Pink Lemonade

Pink Lemonade

Caffeine:Caffeine Free
1 Rating
Picture of Hibiscus Herbal Tea

Hibiscus Herbal Tea

Caffeine:Caffeine Free
1 Rating
Picture of Hibiscus Flowers, Cut & Sifted, Organic

Hibiscus Flowers, Cut & Sifted, Organic

Caffeine:Caffeine Free
1 Rating
Picture of BH60: Hibiscus Flowers, Coarse Cut

BH60: Hibiscus Flowers, Coarse Cut

Brand:Upton Tea Imports
Caffeine:Caffeine Free
1 Rating

Top-Rated Teas

Picture of Tropical Hibiscus Herbal Tea

Tropical Hibiscus Herbal Tea

Brand:Simply Balanced
Caffeine:Caffeine Free
3 Ratings

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