Tea or to be more precise, an infusion of hibiscus flowers is not only a delicious and refreshing drink but also contains some medicinal benefits. There are no less than three hundred species of hibiscus growing in tropical and subtropical regions of the world and because it's so beautiful, rosa-sinensis is probably the most widely cultivated. This member of the species has profuse and brilliantly coloured large blossoms in orange, red and purplish shades. The flowers usually only last a day but more buds appear every morning.
Rosa sinensis is said to be an astringent and the roots contain mucilage which helps to sooth the mucous membranes lining the digestive and respiratory tracts. The seeds act as a stimulant and are said to be effective for cramps and in some parts of Asia women make a decoction from the bark to help restore normal menstruation.
The tea is also a popular diuretic and contains Vitamin C and health giving minerals. In 2008 a USDA study showed hibiscus tea lowers blood pressure - the data supports the idea that drinking the tea as part of a normal diet may play a role in controlling blood pressure although more research is needed.
In Ayurvedic medicine the roots of rosa sinensis are believed to cure coughs, and hair loss or graying.
Hibiscus tea is slightly tart and blends well with other teas while adding a warm pinkish colour. To make the tea pour 250ml boiling water over one teaspoon of dried blossoms or 3 teaspoons of chopped fresh blossoms and allow it to infuse for ten minutes.