Last summer, I brewed an ol’ magical recipe of hibiscus and rose. It had been several years since this intoxicating pinkish-red tonic touched my lips. Oh, how I missed it! This summer it has returned again. Exciting my eyes every time I open the fridge and tingling my nose with every sip. While cooling the body and mind from the heat of the sun.
In reducing excess heat from the body, hibiscus also are a supports the first two chakras. Balancing feminine energy to enhance beauty internally resulting in an external glow. A gentle, detoxifying beverage, hibiscus evokes sattva—purity, harmony and balanced energy. This summer time brew is for all the goddesses, the Aphrodites. Here’s to embracing and balancing the divine feminine energy that births the population.
Hibiscus through the lens of Ayurveda
Dried hibiscus is widely used in Chinese medicine, Latin America, known as jamaica, the Caribbean, the Middle East and South Asia. In Ayurveda, hibiscus is referred to as japa (sanskrit). Commonly enjoyed in the summer for it’s cooling energy, this non-aromatic flower helps cleanse the blood, liver and gallbladder of excess heat. Which tends to accumulate over the summer aka pitta season. As heat increases in the body, it can lead to pitta (fire + water) imbalances, such as heavy and rapid menstrual bleeding, acnes, blemishes, redness, water retention, inflammation, hair-loss, pre-mature greying, anger and impatience.
Combined with it’s cooling energy, hibiscus has an astringent taste (air+ water) like apples, pomegranates and lentils. Leaving the mouth with a slightly dry sensation. The drying quality of the astringent taste helps to purge heat by helping releases excess water from the body. It is similar to how sweating is known to help cool down the body. Astringency can also help with drying and releasing congestion that may have accumulated over the fall, winter and early spring season. This is one of the reasons why Ayurveda recommends increasing the quantity of the astringent taste during the spring and summer seasons.
Keeping the body naturally cool, not with ice, but with refringent type herbs like, hibiscus can help reduce pitta dosha’s fiery nature. At the same time, serving as an option that counterbalances with the qualities of the summer season. Living in harmony with the season based on hibiscus’ taste and energy is why I like to add this infusion to my late spring and summer menus. It’s a tasty, healthier beverage option that is naturally cooling and gently supports detoxifying the body throughout the season. In allopathic terms, hibiscus is commonly known to be rich in antioxidants and vitamin C. Helping to strengthen the immune system and prep the body for the next season.
Enjoy the present, while being aware of how it impacts the future. Happy brewing, happy digesting.
Please note: Hibiscus tea has the ability to lower blood pressure, especially in patients with mild to moderate hypertension. If you have low blood pressure, enjoy this beverage in balance, use a less concentrated option to still enjoy the flavors and cooling, aromatics. If you are pregnant or trying to conceive, talk to a doctor to see if hibiscus is an approved beverage option.
Hibiscus-Rose Infusion for the Aphrodites
Dosha: PKV* Season: Late Spring and Summer Energy: cooling, What you need: a jug or large jar
- 1/2 cup dried hibiscus flowers
- 3T dried rose petals (heaping)
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 4 pods crushed cardamom pods
- 2 T misri/sucanat/maple/raw cane sugar/coconut/date sugar*
- 1/4 cup dried orange rinds or 2T dried orange peel
- 1 1/2 tsp ginger powder
- 6 cups water*
- 1/4 cup rose water
- a few sprigs of mint (optional)
1.Add all ingredients except rose water to a large mason jar, jog or big mixing bowl.
2. Pour in 6 cups of boiling water and let steep for 10-15 minutes. If you have added in the mint, remove at this time. Continue to steep until infusion cools completely. I usually let mine steep for a minimum of 4 hours with a maximum of overnight. This allows it to have both a hot and cold infusion.
3. Strain. Add in rose water and serve as is or diluted to your preference.
*Notes: Sometimes I use 4 cups of water, let cool completely, strain and re-infuse with 2 more cups of boiling water to do a final ‘rinse’ and extract all the goodness. 4 cups of water makes a richer infusion, which can be diluted down later if space is a concern. Hibiscus is naturally tart, I added a minimum amount of sweetness to enhance the flavors of the spices. It’s summer and a good time to embrace the sweet taste as it cools the body. Feel free to add sweetness to your preference. If you like to drink a diluted version, like I do, additional sugar may not be needed as the water helps mellow the tartness. I recommend tasting it and adding simple syrup or maple with each serving. Natural sugar also helps quench the thirst and provides electrolytes.
Rose Water/Petals: I usually get the water from a local Middle Eastern or Indian shop, but I have also seen it at Whole Foods, Berkeley Bowl (if you are from the East Bay) and Amazon. Edible rose petals are usually available in the bulk section or Mountain Rose Herbs. The bulk price seems high, but that is because dried rose petals barely weigh anything. I get over a cup full for a few bucks at my local.
*vata constitutions or imbalances: I recommend drinking a diluted version of this infusion and adding a touch more sweetener. Balance is key.