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Monday, June 25, 2012

It is so HOT, It must be SUMMERTIME!

Roselle or Hibiscus sadariffa
The flowers only last a couple hours
but they sure are gorgeous!
Good afternoon, All!  Summer has arrived!  And is it hot!

I know what we need on a hot day like today!  A glass of iced Hibiscus Ginger tea!  Oops, we don't seem to have any fresh ginger....but Hibiscus tea is delicious all by itself.

"Hibiscus tea is popular as a natural diuretic; it contains vitamin C and minerals, and is used traditionally as a mild medicine. (Diuretic....diuretic herbs help the body shed excess fluids.) 

Dieters or people with kidney problems often take it without adding sugar (be prepared to pucker up, talk about tart!) for its beneficial properties and as a natural diuretic.

Dried Hibiscus Flowers
begging to become a delicious tea!
A 2008 USDA study shows consuming hibiscus tea lowers blood pressure in a group of prehypertensive and mildly hypertensive adults.  Three cups of tea daily resulted in an average drop of 8.1 mmHg in their systolic blood pressure, compared to a 1.3 mmHg drop in the volunteers who drank the placebo beverage.  Study participants with higher blood pressure readings (129 or above) had a greater response to hibiscus tea: their systolic blood pressure went down by 13.2 mmHg.  These data support the idea that drinking hibiscus tea in an amount readily incorporated into the diet may play a role in controlling blood pressure."wikipedia

Refreshing and healthy, plus this Iced Hibiscus
Tea gets the Garden Fairy's Seal
of Approval!

         Iced Ginger Hibiscus Tea

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
one3" piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1/2 cup dried red hibiscus petals
8 cups water, room temperature

Make the ginger simple syrup:  Combine the sugar and 1/2  cup of water in a 2-quart saucepan.  Bring to a boil and let syrup cook for 3 minutes, stirring until all the sugar is dissolved.  Remove the pot from heat and add the grated ginger.  Let syrup cool completely and strain.  Set the syrup aside.

Make the hibiscus tea:  In a 4-quart saucepan, pour 4 cups of water over the dried hibiscus petals and place the pot over low heat.  Bring the water to a slow simmer and let cook for 5 minutes.  Turn off the heat and let the tea steep for another 5 minutes.  Strain into a pitcher (When I don't use the ginger syrup, I add 1/4 cup honey and 2 packets of Stevia) and add in the remaining 4 cups of water.  Fill the pitcher with ice (I do not add the ice).

To serve, pour tea into glasses and stir in ginger syrup, sweetening to taste.

Oil painting of a White Hibiscus
"In the Indian traditional system of medicine, Ayurveda, hibiscus, especially white hibiscus and red hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis), is considered to have medicinal properties.  The roots are used to make various concoctions believed to cure ailments such as cough, hair loss or hair graying.  As a hair treatment, the flowers are boiled in oil along with other spices to make a medicated hair oil.  The leaves and flowers are ground into a fine paste with a little water, the resulting lathery paste is used as a shampoo plus conditioner." wikipedia

The Hibiscus family is very large and not all the members are edible.   The Hibiscus sadariffa is edible and medicinal.  Quite a versatile and beautiful plant.  Roselle or hibiscus is an aromatic, astringent, cooling herb that is much used in the Tropics.  I believe it, because it is the "tea" of choice here on the farm during our long, hot and humid summers!

StarDragonfly Herb Company
"The Little Herb Shop on Elm Street"
Winnsboro, Texas

We have dried Hibiscus flowers in stock and can sell all our dried herbs and herbal teas by the ounce.  Besides dried herbs, we now have hand-spun yarn from local animals and will soon have relishes, jams, jellies, herbal soaps, therapeutic bath salts and aromatherapy candles.  Products will always be changing, so stop by often to see what is new.

Until later....stay cool, love your heart by drinking lots of Hibiscus tea and have a lovely week!  Herbally, Susan

"it's a smile, it's a kiss, it's a sip of wine....it's summertime!
Kenny Chesney
Rose of Sharon
Chinese Hibiscus


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