Aqua Fresca de Jamaica (Hibiscus Tea): Recipe & Benefits
Posted on 01 August 2016
Popular in most Hispanic restaurants and taco stands, Hibiscus Tea or Aqua Fresca de Jamaica, is an incredibly thirst quenching and delicioso drink—especially during these hot Dog Days of Summer. Originally from Africa, these bright red, trumpet-shaped flowers thrive in any sunny, warm climate. Both the flower and the leaves are edible and have a tart, raspberry-like flavor. Approximately 15-30 percent of the hibiscus plant is made up of powerful, antioxidant plant acids, including citric acid, malic acid, tartaric acid and allo-hydroxycitric acid lactone.
Hibiscus Tea is believed to have numerous health benefits including:
Blood Pressure Management: A report from the American Heart Association published in November of 2008 states that consuming hibiscus tea may help lower blood pressure in pre-hypertensive and mildly hypertensive adults.
Cholesterol Lowering: As with any deeply colored fruit, vegetable or edible flower it is rich in antioxidants. One of these may help Agua Fresca de Jamaica to lower levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol from the body, thereby helping to protect against heart disease and protecting blood vessels from damage.
Liver: Antioxidants found in the hibiscus flower may help to protect the body from liver disease, because they neutralize the free radicals present in liver cells.
Hibiscus Tea or Agua Fresca de Jamaica (ha-my-ca) Recipe
2 quarts water
1 cup sugar or more depending how sweet you like your tea
1 cup dried hibiscus flowers
- In a large pot put water and sugar. Bring to rolling boil.
- Turn heat off, then add 1 cup packed dried hibiscus. Let steep for 20-30 minutes. Place in large pitcher and refrigerate.
NOTE: You can find dried hibiscus flowers in most Hispanic markets. Look for dried, edible hibiscus flowers often called “flor de jamaica” or you can order online from Amazon. (However, you’ll pay A LOT more.) Check to make sure that it was grown without the use of toxic pesticides or herbicides.