Hibiscus tea is prepared by boiling the flowers of the hibiscus plant (Hibiscus sabdariffa). The hibiscus flower--and the tea derived from it--has various local names in the regions where it is indigenous. In the English language, "roselle" is the common alternative name.
Hibiscus tea can be drunk hot or cold. As iced tea, the infusion is known to satiate thirst quite effectively. It is often recommended as an alternative to artificially made commercial "sport drinks" that are marketed to physically active individuals. Hibiscus tea's ability to cool the body is well documented by cultures that include it in their diet or medicinal practices. This benefit is probably associated with the diuretic properties of hibiscus, a property that helps in the excretion of excess fluids from the body.
The antihypertensive properties of hibiscus tea were noted by a study in which 70 people were involved; half of them drank hibiscus tea once daily and the other half took 25 mg of antihypertensive medicine twice daily. After a month, 79 percent of the tea drinkers experienced a ten point reduction in blood pressure, 84 percent of the ones that took pharmaceutical medicine also experienced the same reduction in blood pressure. Hibiscus is an antioxidant. It has properties that prevents the oxidation of low-density lipoproteins; a substance in our blood that if increased beyond normal quantities may cause high blood pressure.
Some tea drinkers use hibiscus tea to aid in weight loss. The body produces an enzyme known as amylase which functions to break down complex sugar and starch molecules in food. When a person consumes too much carbohydrate-rich food (full of sugar and starch) that individual is most likely going to gain weight. According to pubmed.gov, hibiscus contains a substance that can inhibit the production of amylase. A person regularly drinking hibiscus tea can thus prevent too much absorption of carbohydrates and consequently not gain excess weight.
According to the book "Healing Herbal Teas," fresh hibiscus flowers contain around 6.7 mg of ascorbic acid, a form of vitamin C, which is one of the more essential nutrients needed by the body. Along with this significantly beneficial substance, hibiscus is known to have anti-inflammatory and mild anti-bacterial properties. Thus hibiscus tea is often used as a supplement to help treat coughs and colds. Because of its cooling effect, it is especially effective in reducing the discomfort of fevers that may accompany such ailments.
Besides containing a significant amount of ascorbic acid, hibiscus is made of the following nutritional substances: 1.145 g of protein, 2.61 g of fat, 12.0 g of fiber, 1,263 mg of calcium, 273.2 mg of phosphorus, 8.98 mg of iron, 0.029 mg of carotene, 0.117 mg of thiamine, 0.277 mg of riboflavin and 3.765 m of niacin. Given all this, it can be said that hibiscus tea can serve as an excellent food supplement and an aid to boost the body's immune system.