The hibiscus flower has many health benefits. It’s used in Ayurveda to improve appetite; dissolve phlegm; and help relieve colds, heart and nerve diseases, upper respiratory tract pain and swelling (inflammation), fluid retention, stomach irritation, and circulatory disorders. Hibiscus is also useful as a gentle laxative and diuretic.
As a resident of Mexico, I find that hibiscus tea—or agua de jamaica, as it’s called there—is served almost everywhere—in homes, in restaurants, and on the street. One explanation for its popularity is that people in very hot climates often lose their appetite, and this tangy, cooling, drink is just the thing to bring it back. As a diuretic, hibiscus tea also helps relieve the fluid retention that often occurs with heat exhaustion. Another likely reason for this drink’s ubiquity in tropical and subtropical regions is its antimicrobial properties, which protect against the bacteria and worms that thrive these zones.
Try our spicy twist on this traditional Ayurvedic beverage!
2 quarts water
3 tbsp dried hibiscus flowers
2 tsp dried tulsi leaf
1 tsp licorice root
3 large slices fresh ginger root
¼-inch cinnamon stick
1 tsp cardamom seed
1 tsp golden raisins
1–2 tsp coconut sugar or raw honey
Place licorice, cinnamon, ginger, and raisins in 2 cups of water, and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add all the other ingredients except the honey, and simmer for 30 minutes. Pour liquid out through a strainer into a 2-quart vessel. Now add the rest of the water. Drink at room temperature or slightly cooled.
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of Ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease.