Cooling Hibiscus Tea

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by Jennifer Fugo on June 9, 2011

When the temperature rises outside, especially before your body has had time to properly adjust, the heat of the summer can feel incredibly oppressive.  One of the best things to do to keep cool is to use certain ‘cooling’ foods and drinks to refresh your body from the inside out.  And that, my friends, is where Hibiscus Tea comes in!

Actually known as Jamaica (pronounced ‘Ha – My – Kah’) Tea, this incredibly tasty and simple drink comes from Mexico where hibiscus flowers are quite abundant.  (Yes- the island of Jamaica means hibiscus in Spanish!)  The blossoms are dried and then brewed into a deep magenta-colored tea that is not only beautiful to serve on your table during a party, but is something that you can drink throughout the summer thanks in part to how easy it is to make a large batch of the ‘concentrate’ to keep in your fridge.

Jamaica or hibiscus is very inexpensive! (Ignore the mis-spelling in the sign)

This recipe was taught to me by my Spanish teacher’s mother – a native to Oaxaca, Mexico.  She shared with me that this lovely tea is also extremely healthy!  Hibiscus flowers are very high in Vitamin C as well as powerful flavanoids (antioxidants).  It’s also said to help with lowering high blood pressure as well. (1) My sister (a Five Elements Acupuncturist) often suggests it to clients who are overheated much of the time because of it’s incredible cooling properties.  Plus, it’s completely caffeine-free!

In order to make this recipe yourself, you’ll need to visit a local Mexican grocery store and ask for Jamaica (see pronunciation above).  Many stores will carry them since this drink is very popular in the summer months in that community.



Rinsed flowers placed in water before boiling. Already they are turning the water magenta!

Jamaica (Hibiscus) Tea

  • 3 handfuls of dried blossoms, rinsed well under cool water
  • 6 to 8 cups of water
  • Optional – stevia, fresh mint, lemon or lime slices

Place blossoms and water in a pot and bring to a boil for about 8 minutes.  Turn off heat and allow to steep for another 15 to 20 minutes.  Strain liquid and place in a container that you’ll be able to put in the fridge.  At this moment, you’ve got the concentrate.

I personally like starting with about 1/3 glass filled with the concentrate and then adding cool water and adjusting from there.  If you want it a bit sweeter, add a serving of stevia (I’ve also tried agave and find that it doesn’t combine very well).  You can also garnish with some fresh mint or citrus slices.  Enjoy!!!

FYI – Just be careful that you do not stain your clothes, so avoid wearing white when making the concentrate.


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