Hibiscus ๐ŸŒบ๐ŸŒบ๐ŸŒบ


Jamaica, or Agua de Jamaica, is a popular, refreshing beverage in Mexico, one of the agua frescas enjoyed as an afternoon beverage. It is made with the flower (specifically calyx) of Hibiscus sabdariffa, also known as Flor de Jamaica or Roselle. The red stem of hibiscus is used as a fiber in place of jute for weaving burlap, but it is the pink or purplish red flower that holds the medicinal value. ๐ŸŒบ๐ŸŒบ๐ŸŒบ Hibiscus mildly lowers blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and LDL cholesterol while increasing HDL cholesterol. As such, a tea of the flower is useful for someone with metabolic syndrome. It is also an anti-inflammatory and regular consumption can stabilize mast cells and lower histamine production, so it is a great addition to a seasonal allergy protocol. It can enhance uric acid secretion, so may be useful for someone with gout. ๐ŸŒบ๐ŸŒบ๐ŸŒบ Hibiscus is used as a beverage throughout the world, especially in tropical areas where it grows. In many places other items are added to the tea: sugar, spices such as bay leaf, cinnamon, and cloves, citrus or other fruit juices, or even a liquor such as rum. Alone it has a tart or sour flavor, similar to cranberry juice. ๐ŸŒบ๐ŸŒบ๐ŸŒบ Hibiscus tea may be made as either an infusion or a decoction and served either hot or cold. When using therapeutically for metabolic syndrome or high blood sugar leave out the sweetener entirely or sweeten only with stevia.

Agua de Jamaica ๐ŸŒบ๐ŸŒบ๐ŸŒบ Boil four cups of water. Add 1/2 to 3/4 cup of dried hibiscus flowers and allow to steep for an hour, then strain. Stir in sweetener to taste. Use as a concentrate to add to sparkling water or drink as is.

Bevin Clare