Herbal Insights Deep Dive: How To’s and Benefits of Hibiscus

Specific Herbs
Herbal Insights Deep Dive: How Tos and Benefits of Hibiscus

You may recognize the hibiscus flower as the beauty that graces Hawaiian shirts, board shorts, or anything tropical and beachy. More recently, and where our interest lies, hibiscus has been a featured ingredient in new products like sparkling waters, mood-enhancing drinks, gut-friendly kombucha, yogurts, and superfood powders. It has also been named as one of the top 10 food trends for 2022 by Whole Foods, so considering its growing popularity, we thought it was time for an herb-deep-dive. Let’s explore the benefits, uses, and all of the well-deserved hype surrounding this versatile plant.

THE BASICS

Hibiscus is native to parts of Africa, Europe, and Asia, but is now cultivated around the world in tropical and subtropical regions. The showy, vibrant flower is also known around the world as sorrel, roselle, and Flor de Jamaica and is commonly used to make delicious herbal tea. The taste is wonderfully sweet and tart, often compared to the tanginess of cranberries with a similar deep-pink color to match. Hibiscus can be mixed with green tea or other fruits and herbs that offset or complement the sharp taste.

Hibiscus Flowers

BENEFITS OF HIBISCUS FLOWER

The benefits of hibiscus go beyond its beautiful color and taste. This powerful herb is rich in antioxidants, fighting free radicals which ultimately helps the body function well. It contains several immune-boosting vitamins like C and B while offering up other important vitamins like iron, calcium, and magnesium. In addition to all of the great nutrients, studies have shown that drinking hibiscus tea is possibly effective for treating high blood pressure. Other alluring benefits include the potential to reduce sugar and fat levels in your blood, reduce swelling, and act as an antibiotic.

Some Ayurvedic medicine treatments claim that hibiscus has the ability to strengthen your hair and even help hair regrowth. When fresh hibiscus flowers are mashed, they have a slimy, slick consistency that can be a chemical-free way to condition your hair—another bonus if it proves true to also make hair stronger and grow faster.

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  • Hibiscus Tea
  • Hibiscus Powder
  • Hibiscus in Food

USES FOR HIBISCUS:

THE TYPICAL, THE UNIQUE, AND TRENDING

There are a multitude of ways that hibiscus can be used other than in teas, beers, and cocktails. It is used to flavor jams, baked goods, and even makes an excellent marinade or dry rub for beef because of its tangy taste and high tannin content (similar to red wine). You can reference some of our other blog posts to see how food and beverage companies have more recently embraced hibiscus and its benefits by using it in exciting new products.

A notable way to use hibiscus is as a meat substitute. When the dried flower is rehydrated and sautéed, it becomes chewy and takes on a meat-like texture. In the past, this was most commonly used in Middle Eastern vegetarian dishes. You could also find chefs in Mexico, following the somewhat lost tradition of cooking with flowers, starting to use hibiscus in tacos and quesadillas instead of pork or beef. Just like the taco craze itself, this way of using hibiscus has really taken off, creating a wave of vegetarian and vegan taco recipes popping up all over the internet. This sounds like a trend worth exploring!

Roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa), the type of dried hibiscus we offer, is also used to make a variety of skincare products and cosmetics for both color and vitamins. The dried, powdered flowers are used in shampoos and conditioners, body washes, lip balms, facial scrubs, body polishes, lotions, soap, bath bombs, and more.

HIBISCUS PAIRS WELL WITH

There are a variety of herbs and spices that hibiscus mixes well with, here are just a few to start with. There is a lot of room for experimentation—create a new flavor combination!

Peppermint

PEPPERMINT

Light, refreshing taste that blends well with most herbs including hibiscus

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Chili Pepper Powder

CHILI PEPPER POWDER

Mix chili powder in with hibiscus for an exciting sweet & spicy flavor

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Dried Orange Peel

DRIED ORANGE PEEL

The tangy sweetness of citrus peel tempers the tartness of hibiscus in teas and syrups

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HIBISCUS FORMULAS AND RECIPES

Simple Hibiscus Flower Tea
For 2 servings:
1/4 cup dried hibiscus flower
16 oz./2 cups water

Add hot water over the hibiscus flower and let steep for 10–15 minutes, or longer for a bolder taste. Strain and enjoy. Hibiscus can be quite tart, especially if brewed hot. You may want to add other herbs like cinnamon or sweetener to lessen the bite. You can also add a squeeze of fresh orange or a splash of fruit juice if you don’t want to use sugar or honey.

Cold-brew method:
If you would like to try hibiscus cold-brew, add cold water instead of hot, cover, and leave in your fridge overnight. Pour over ice for a refreshing antioxidant-filled drink the next day.

Hibiscus and Mint Shampoo
1 cup filtered warm water
2 teaspoons dried hibiscus
1 teaspoon dried mint
1/4 cup liquid castile soap
2 tablespoons almond oil or other carrier oil
25 drops of preferred essential oil for fragrance

Combine the warm water, dried hibiscus flower, and mint in a small bowl and allow to steep, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Strain and discard herbs, reserving the infused liquid. Pour the infusion into a clean bottle (a recycled shampoo bottle works great). Add the castile soap, almond oil, and essential oil. Cap the bottle and turn it over a few times to mix.

HOW HERB CO. CUSTOMERS USE HIBISCUS

We are proud to provide herbs to many small businesses, and we owe a lot of our success to them. For that reason, we like to showcase our customers and their products, hoping to inspire and educate others about the power and versatility of herbs. Here are a few examples of how three of our customers use hibiscus.

Hibiscus is a star ingredient in Plum Deluxe’s Easy To Be Green Tea blend—a fan favorite mixed with green tea, blueberries, and other tart fruit flavors.

Harpoon Brewery has a seasonal beer called DragonWeisse—a slightly tart-tasting brew featuring hibiscus and dragon fruit to bring a bright, tropical flavor. Cheers to that!

Hibiscus is one of Javo's many fresh, clean-labeled botanical extracts that they offer to the food and beverage industry that go into functional beverages, ice creams, baked goods, and desserts.

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If you need any support in sourcing herbs, please feel free to reach out to us. At Herb Co. we pride ourselves on providing high quality herbs and spices to small businesses at wholesale prices.