The refreshing taste and benefits of hibiscus tea (agua de jamaica) are well known by the Mexican people, where it has been largely popularized and embraced.
Traditionally, it has been used as a thirst quencher on hot days, to which a little sweetener is added to remove its characteristic sour taste.
However, you should know that this ruby red infusion has unique health benefits, such as its ability to treat blood pressure and high cholesterol.
It can also speed up metabolism and aid in healthy, gradual weight loss. It is rich in vitamin C, minerals, and antioxidants and helps treat hypertension and anxiety.
9 Benefits of hibiscus tea (agua de jamaica)
1. It levels blood pressure
Consuming this refreshing beverage helps lower blood pressure in adults. It has antihypertensive and cardioprotective properties, which can benefit these people and those at high risk of cardiovascular diseases.
2. Lowers cholesterol
It helps reduce the body’s (bad) cholesterol levels, thereby helping to protect against heart disease and protect blood vessels from damage. Its hypolipidemic and hypoglycemic properties may be beneficial for people with diabetes.
3. Protects the liver
Its antioxidant properties also help treat liver diseases because they protect the body by neutralizing free radicals present in the body’s tissues and cells.
4. Prevents cancer
Because it contains protocatechuic acid, whose antitumor and antioxidant properties slow down the growth of cancer cells and induces them to programmed death.
5. It is anti-inflammatory and antibacterial
Being rich in ascorbic acid or vitamin C stimulates the activity of the immune system and thus protects you from a possible cold or flu. It is also used to treat discomfort caused by fever due to its cooling effect.
6. Relieves menstrual pain
It relieves menstrual pain and helps restore hormonal balance, reducing symptoms during these days, such as mood swings, depression, and overeating.
7. Acts as an antidepressant
It contains flavonoids. These substances possess antidepressant properties to help calm the nervous system, reduce anxiety and depression, and give you a feeling of relaxation.
8. Improves digestion
It regulates evacuation and bowel movements because of its diuretic properties; it is also used to treat constipation, which helps you lose weight, improve your gastrointestinal system and prevent colorectal cancer.
9. Weight loss
As you will see with greater detail below, its extract reduces the absorption of starch and glucose, so it can help you lose weight.
It also inhibits the production of amylase, which aids in the absorption of carbohydrates and starch.
Hibiscus tea benefits (agua de jamaica): why it helps to lose weight?
As you have seen, the benefits of hibiscus tea go well beyond a simple, refreshing beverage. If you’re not yet familiar with it, you should know that, for the most part, it is taken cold, like iced tea.
Drinking hibiscus tea regularly is an excellent way to facilitate weight loss and prevent obesity.
This is because it contains polyphenols, mainly anthocyanins, phenolic compounds, and flavonoids that, according to some scientific studies, could cause various effects on the body, including:
- Gene regulations, responsible for inhibiting the production of fatty acids in the liver
- Decrease the absorption of fats in the intestine and help burn fat accumulated in the body
- Inhibit the activity of some pancreatic and intestinal enzymes, which are in charge of digesting and favoring the absorption of carbohydrates, in addition to reducing insulin resistance, helping to regulate blood sugar
In addition to this, hibiscus tea (agua de jamaica) could also help regulate appetite because it could influence hormones such as ghrelin and leptin.
Unlike green or white tea, hibiscus water has a more pleasant taste. Also, it provides antioxidants that prevent heart disease and premature aging, making it an excellent choice for those who don’t like the flavor of tea that much.
How to make hibiscus tea
To make hibiscus tea, or agua de jamaica, while maintaining its benefits, place the water to low heat, and when it starts to boil, turn it off.
Then add the dried hibiscus flowers, cover the container and let it steep for 5 minutes before straining and drinking.
The correct ratio of hibiscus flowers and water is:
- 1 tablespoon of dried hibiscus flowers
- 400 ml of boiling water
3 cups of hibiscus water should be taken daily, half an hour before the main meals. It is also possible to drink it cold by adding ice or keeping it in the refrigerator.
Ideally, it should be ingested without adding sugar to achieve the expected effect, in addition to pairing it with a healthy diet, low in fats and sugars, and the practice of physical activity.
Hibiscus flower in capsules for weight loss
In addition to tea, hibiscus flower can also be consumed in the form of dry extract in capsules.
For weight loss, the dose that is usually recommended is 2 capsules of 450 mg, 3 times a day for at least 12 weeks, to be taken 20 to 30 minutes before the main meals, and should be taken under the guidance of a nutritionist or physiotherapist.
These capsules can be purchased in some supermarkets, health food stores, pharmacies, and online stores.
Other exciting and refreshing recipes with hibiscus flower
In addition to tea or water, the hibiscus flower can also be used to prepare fruit juices, such as passion fruit, pineapple or strawberry, or greens.
It is also possible to prepare other delicious recipes with this medicinal plant, as indicated below.
1. Hibiscus ice pops
Each popsicle provides only 37 calories and can be eaten as a dessert during main meals or as a refreshing snack, for example.
- 2 large slices of watermelon with seeds
- 1 cup of water or hibiscus tea with ginger
- 1 tablespoon of chopped mint leaves
How to prepare:
Mix all the ingredients in a blender and fill the popsicle molds. As an option, you can also place pieces of fruit, such as kiwi or strawberry, inside the molds before filling them, as it will add more nutrients to the popsicle and give it a prettier appearance.
2. Hibiscus flower soda
Each glass of agua de jamaica provides 14 calories, and it is great to accompany meals or drinking during the day.
- 1 cup of agua de jamaica or hibiscus tea
- Sparkling water
How to prepare:
Prepare your hibiscus infusion the same way we explained before with 2 tablespoons of dehydrated hibiscus flowers in 500 ml of water.
Let the water boil, remove heat, add the hibiscus flowers and let it steep for 5 minutes. Once cold, add it to a pitcher and keep it in the refrigerator.
For making this soft drink, place 1/3 of the hibiscus water in a glass and top it off with sparkling water.
3. Hibiscus jello
A cup of 100 ml of hibiscus jelly provides about 32 calories and can be consumed as an afternoon snack or dessert at lunch or dinner.
- Water or hibiscus tea
- Unflavored gelatin
- Stevia to taste
How to prepare:
Dissolve the gelatin according to label directions, using hibiscus tea instead of plain water. Sweeten with sugar or another sweetener, and put it in the refrigerator until it has a gelatinous consistency.
4. Light summer juice
Each glass of this juice provides about 105 calories and can be used in snacks along with some whole-grain crackers.
- 500 ml of water or cold hibiscus tea
- 500 ml unsweetened red grape juice
- 1 squeezed lemon
- 1 sliced lemon
- 3 mint sprigs
How to prepare:
Place your agua de jamaica in a pitcher and add the grape and lemon juice, mint sprigs, and lemon slices. Store in the refrigerator and serve chilled.
Hibiscus tea side effects
Although the hibiscus flower is a plant with magnificent properties to help you lose weight, it is also true that it has some contraindications that should be taken into account.
Generally, It is considered to be quite safe, but excessive consumption could bring about certain inconveniences.
- Reproductive problems: Excessive consumption of hibiscus-infused beverages could cause problems in both men and women. In women, miscarriages. In men, low sperm count
- Attention with low blood pressure: If you are hypotensive, you should be cautious with the anti-hypertensive effect of this plant
- Demineralizing effect: Being a diuretic plant, prolonged consumption could generate a certain deficit in essential minerals for health, such as potassium or sodium. It can also cause diarrhea, as it has depurative and somewhat laxative properties
- Allergic reactions: As with most plants, the consumption of hibiscus flower may cause allergic reactions in people with unknown sensitivity to it
Although the side effects have not been fully demonstrated, hibiscus should not be abused (as with any other plant or substance).
Taking rest periods in the consumption of hibiscus might be a good idea.