Why Eating Dried Hibiscus is Better Than Drinking It as Tea
by Blake Cooley on November 10, 2018
The hibiscus flower boasts wide-ranging heal health benefits. It has been used since ancient times for its medicinal properties mostly in the form of tea. Hibiscus tea helps to prevent cardiovascular disease by reducing the amount of bad cholesterol in the body. It also helps to lower blood sugar levels and prevent diabetes. Today, hibiscus is popular for its ability to reduce hypertension.
Additional benefits include making digestion better, aiding in weight loss, relieving menstrual pain and being a wonderful anti-depressant. More recently, the added value of hibiscus in dried edible form has been realized. For one, eating dry hibiscus allows you to cut back on sugar that you would usually add to your tea. Here are more reasons why eating dried hibiscus is better than drinking it as tea.
Dried hibiscus gives you plenty of options to incorporate its amazing health benefits to your diet. You can eat dried hibiscus flowers as a snack, sprinkle them onto your favorite meal to give it some added flavor or add them to your fruit salad for dessert. As such, drinking hibiscus limits your options by giving you only one way of enjoying the benefits.
Dried hibiscus primary refers to whole, dried flowers. If you’re to make hibiscus tea, you’ll usually have it ground into smaller pieces, so they are a larger surface area than the flowers. A larger surface area means more opportunities for the tea to lose its flavor and aroma, leaving it rather dull.
Should you choose to buy hibiscus tea bags, be warned that having “hibiscus tea “on the label doesn’t guarantee health benefits or bioactive content. Pre-packaged teabags may be high in sugar and have limited active ingredients. Unlike dried hibiscus which is made from the dry flowers of the hibiscus plant, some hibiscus tea bags may not even contain the actual flower, so properties may vary.
Also, teabags are often blended for standardization. As a result, it’s not uncommon for a higher premium to be placed on the price of the tea-bags and standardization than on the character and quality of the flavor profile. Dried hibiscus, on the other hand, may have a flavor profile, appearance and aroma that may vary from season to season and year to year. This translates to a far wider range of aromas and flavors available from dried hibiscus than there is from standardized tea bags, for example.
Getting the maximum health benefit from hibiscus is more about how much of the nutrients you can extract from the flower than the form you choose. When comparing drinking hibiscus as tea with eating it dry, the latter gives you a better opportunity to enjoy maximum benefits from the flower. Drinking hibiscus tea means you have to wait for the water to extract all the active nutrients whereas eating the dried flowers gives you all the nutrients.
There’s also the issue of steeping times. Short steeping times are rarely sufficient to extract the beneficial nutrients from hibiscus.