When we think of hibiscus, we often think of the delicate, crepe like leaves – bright and big and bold. Possibly swaying in a warm, tropical breeze. A symbol of femininity, a hibiscus behind the ear of a Polynesian woman can denote if she is married or single, depending on which side she places it. Did you know the origin of the hibiscus is a bit of a mystery, but likely comes from South China? Or that there are over 200 species of hibiscus? And something I never realized, even though I have one in my own backyard, is that Rose of Sharon is a hibiscus. I see the similarities, but since I never bothered to learn its botanical name, it was news to me. *shrug*
Something else… although the bright and big and bold flower petals are sometimes candied as a dessert garnish, those aren’t the ones you’re likely drinking in your tea. Hibiscus tea is made from roselle, which really doesn’t look like a hibiscus at all, and it typically isn’t given any credit in pictures on tea boxes. Still, it’s potent, beautiful, and loaded with benefits.
Hibiscus tea contains malic, tartaric, and citric acids – all of which are great for skin. These constituents are all naturally occurring alpha hydroxy acids, which act as a gentle chemical exfoliator. The ruby red color of hibiscus tea also denotes its high antioxidant value, and it has wonderful anti-inflammatory properties as well.
Although a bit sour, it is still a popular drink for many, with more beauty and cosmetic applications than we can cover. What is your favorite way to use hibiscus?