A magical infusion of hibiscus, rose, and cinnamon. It’s been several years since this intoxicating pinkish-red tonic touched my lips. Oh, how I missed it! This summer it returns. Exciting my eyes and tingling my nose. While cooling the body and mind from the fiery heat of the sun.
Know for reducing excess heat from the body, hibiscus supports the first two chakras and balances feminine energy. In enhancing internal beauty is aids in producing an external glow. A gentle, detoxifying flower, hibiscus also evokes sattva—purity, harmony and balanced mental energy. A flower 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 later spring and summer for it’s cooling energy. This non-aromatic flower helps to cleanse the blood, liver and gallbladder of excess heat. Which tends to accumulate as the temperature rises. An excess of internal heat 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.
Along 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 helps to purge heat by helping releases excess water from the body. Astringency can also help with drying and releasing congestion that may have accumulated over the fall, winter and early spring season. 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, counterbalancing with the summer season’s heating qualities. Harmonizing with the season through hibiscus’ taste and energy is why I like to add this infusion to my late spring and summer menus.
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 the rose water to a large mason jar, jug or mixing bowl.
2. Pour in 6 cups of boiling water. Let the mixture steep for 10-15 minutes, removing the mint within 5 minutes. Continue to steep until infusion cools completely, preferably 4 hours or overnight.
3. Strain. Add in the rose water and serve as is or diluted by adding additional water.
- To ensure the maximum benefit of the herbs is captured, use 4 cups of water, let cool completely. Strain and re-infuse with 2 more cups of boiling water for a final ‘rinse’.
- To make a richer, denser infusion, use 4 cups instead of 6 cups water. Additional water can be added upon serving. This also takes up less room in the fridge.
- Hibiscus is naturally tart, adding a sweetener helps balance the astringency and ensure all six tastes are present for balance. More or less sweetener can be added based on preference. Keep in mind, similar to salt, sugar will enhance the flavors of the spices. Natural sugar also helps quench the thirst and provides electrolytes
- Additional sugar may not be needed if drinking a diluted version. Water helps mellow the tartness.
- Natural sugar also helps quench the thirst and provides electrolytes.
- Rose Water/Petals: Can be found at Middle Eastern or South Asian markets. Whole Foods, Berkeley Bowl (if you are from the East Bay) and Amazon also carry rose water. Edible rose petals are usually available in the bulk section or Mountain Rose Herbs. The bulk price is high, but that is due to how light the petals weigh. One cup will weight less than 1/8 pound.
*vata constitutions or imbalances: drink a diluted version of this infusion and adding a touch more sweetener. Balance is key.