Scientists at Southern University Ag Center are investigating and conducting research on Hibiscus sabdariffa, also known as Roselle, and its nutritional value under various growing conditions. The project plans to introduce its products to food markets and to reach our small farmers.
Many parts of Roselle including seeds, leaves, fruits and roots are used in various foods. Among them, the fleshy red calyces are the most popular. They are used fresh for making wine, juice, jam, jelly, syrup, gelatin, pudding, cakes, ice cream and flavors and also dried and brewed into tea, among other things. The red calyces contain antioxidants including flavonoids, gossypetine, hibiscetine and sabdaretine.
Caffeine Free Hibiscus Tea
Hibiscus tea is a caffeine free herbal tea from a special type of hibiscus, called Roselle. The scientific name is Hibiscus sabdarrifa. Specifically, the tea is made out of the dried fruit part of Roselle, called calyx. It is in red color and tastes like berries.
The hibiscus tea contains high levels of antioxidants, such as flavonoids, which are good for our hearts and bodies. Flavonoids comprise a group of compounds that give the color to red wine, watermelon, and grapefruits. These antioxidants help our bodies fight the harmful molecules known as free radicals, which can cause cell damage leaving the body in a diseased state. By taming free radicals, antioxidants help maintain the body's good health. Studies show it may also lower blood pressure as much as 65 percent. How? By acting as a diruetic, removing salt and water from the body, which helps relax blood vessel walls. In one study, sipping three daily 8-ounce cups of hibiscus tea lowered systolic blood pressure an average of seven points in six weeks.
- Research shows that drinking two cups of black tea a day provides as many heart healthy flavonoids as a serving of fruits and vegetables.
- Drinking tea may lower bad cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease according to a USDA study.
Hibiscus may also prevent bad cholesterol from hurting you. Hibiscus is available in supplement form, but experts suggest you drink the tea instead; have a cup a day. Drinking tea can enhance body's ability to fight stress and help maintain good health.
How to prepare hibiscus tea?
To get what you want, the best thing is to grow your own Roselle and make your own hibiscus tea.
First, collect the hibiscus fruits and wash them clean, and air dry or dry them in an oven at 70 degrees C for 3 days, then peel off the calyx and store them in air-tight containers.
To make tea, simply take 2 grams of the dried calyx, and crash them into small pieces using a wooden roller, then put them in a tea bag or a net. Bring out your favorite mug and add 8 ounces of boiling water, steep it for 2 to 4 minutes, add sugar if desired, or add other flavors of your choice such as few drops of lemon juice. Here you go, you have lemon zinger tea. You can also refrigerate it and make hibiscus iced tea.
See also: Healthy Tea Recipes
Food for Thought
Supplement Safety: The American Association of Poison Control Centers, published in the journal "Clinical Toxicology," no deaths have ever been found from vitamin or mineral supplements.
Another study discovered there were about 100,000 deaths per year from pharmaceutical drugs and none for natural supplements. Over a 10 year period, pharmaceuticals killed 1 million people.
Putting this into perspective: That is more than all the Americans killed in World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and the Gulf War - combined.
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