Although we have been having unusually cool weather for July in Barcelona, I predict that things will change next month and that the heat will be on. A great alternative to drinking water during the summer, is to chill your favourite tea or herbal infusion and drink that instead. One of my favourite herbal teas to drink cold is Hibiscus tea, which I first discovered through my dear Mexican friend, Chio. Bring a big pot of water to the boil. Turn off the heat and then add the Hibiscus petals to the water and leave to steep for 15 or 20 minutes. You don’t need a huge amount of petals, but the water should turn an amazing ruby-red colour. If you would like to sweeten it slightly, you can add honey or stevia at this point and then pour it into pitchers or bottles through a sieve. When it has cooled, store it inside the fridge and enjoy! It has a lovely fruity taste.
Aside from Mexico, it is also popular in many other countries around the world and has the following super-powers which people experience from drinking 1 – 3 cups daily:
- reduces high blood pressure
- lowers high cholesterol levels
- is rich in Vitamin C and helps to prevent and fight infections
- is a mild diuretic, which helps expel toxins from the body and decreases bloating
- has antioxidants which provide cardiovascular benefits
- helps with weight-loss by affecting the way the body absorbs carbohydrates and fats
- keeps the body’s bladder function healthy and prevents constipation
- helps alleviate mild depression
As always, there are side-effects, and people who suffer from high blood pressure, need to consult their doctor, before commencing with the tea as part of their treatment. Women who are pregnant, breast-feeding or on hormone replacement therapy should not drink Hibiscus tea, as it affects the hormone function of the body. Also be sure to drink the tea of the red Hibiscus flower, as there are many varieties and not all of them have been studied.