The Herbal Artist: Hibiscus Tea Recipe For Your Health

| 8/6/2012 5:00:07 PM

Poppy Swap HeadshotBecki Garza is a community herbalist in Tucson, Arizona. She grew up in a south Texas border town on the Gulf of Mexico, and is a former biology teacher. She is a wife and mom to two grown-up children. Her online business, La Yerberia Herbals, takes its name from the tiny yerberias of the lower Rio Grande Valley.  

In the border town where I grew up, standard selections at a restaurant were sweet tea, Coca-cola and aguas frescas. Literally translated as “fresh waters,” aguas frescas are actually herbal teas sweetened with sugar. Each state in Mexico has their own traditional flavor. In the United States the three common flavors are Horchata (cinnamon rice water), Tamarindo (a tea of Tamarind pods), and Jamaica (pronounced Ha-my-kah, a tea of hibiscus calyces—the collective sepals of a Hibiscus sabdariffa).

Prosecco 8-7-2012 

Aguas frescas originated as household refreshments often made as a way to use up ripe fruit. They are served by street vendors in Mexico and at most taquerias in the southwestern United States. Mexican grocers in the U.S. sell the dried calyces by the pound in open bins alongside the beans and rice.

Imagine my delight when I stumbled across an article discussing the healing properties of hibiscus. The article talked about research in which an infusion of H. sabdariffa lowered blood pressure in patients with mild hypertension. My curiosity peaked, I began to read more about this household herb.

I learned that researchers are studying water extracts (or teas) of the H. sabdariffa calyx as prevention for kidney stones, for protecting the liver from toxins, to reduce insulin resistance in type 2 diabetics and to lower triglyceride levels.