How to Make Hibiscus Tea

It’s been hot. Really hot. Also, I live in an area that is in a drought. So it’s been really hot and dry.

While mornings are cool and pleasant at home, the afternoons become somewhat intolerable. So I live by the seasons and spend my afternoons in the only sane place: at my favorite lake.

My other strategy for cooling off has been to make a fresh garden tea every morning, and then drink it cool or iced in the afternoon. It’s refreshing and delicious! I’ve made this Hibiscus-Mint tea for several potlucks and parties and I never can bring enough – it’s always a big hit with people asking how to make hibiscus tea themselves.

But this is more than just a tasty hibiscus tea recipe. When my editor, herbalist Susan Marynowski, edited this article she wrote back, “This (or some variation) is my favorite daily summer tea in hot and humid Florida, so I love that you are putting this recipe out there! It has literally saved my life a few times when I was close to heat stroke.”

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Benefits of Hibiscus Tea

Hibiscus flowers have been cultivated around the world for thousands of years. They belong to the same family as marshmallow (Malvaceae) and are known for their moistening and healing qualities. In recent years, a few human clinical trials have found hibiscus to be beneficial for people with Type 2 Diabetes and mildly high blood pressure. Hibiscus is high in antioxidants and can help reduce excessive or chronic inflammation. Hibiscus tea is famous in many Caribbean islands. In the Yucatan where my dad lives, they call it Jamaica (pronounced hah-MY-ka).

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Benefits of Spearmint

Delicious spearmint is a cooling plant that promotes good digestion, healthy circulation, and relieves muscle tension and cramps. I gave this recipe to a friend who reported that it completely took away her menstrual cramps, which normally lasted for 24 hours! Spearmint has also been shown to help women with PCOS in clinical trials.

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Hibiscus-Mint Cooler Recipe

This delicious and refreshing drink will quench your thirst on a hot summer day. Spearmint is a cooling aromatic plant, while hibiscus gives us a slightly sour or tangy taste. Along with the mint and hibiscus, I like to throw in a handful of fresh herbs from the garden: a sprig of lavender, a nasturtium leaf, some oregano, thyme, tarragon, chives, some violet leaves, and/or a few sprigs of lemongrass. If you don’t have these fresh herbs available, then stick with the hibiscus and spearmint. If you don’t grow spearmint, you can often find spearmint (or peppermint) fresh at the grocery store or as dried herbs in a health food or cooperative stores. Here’s how to make hibiscus tea:

What you’ll need…

  • 20 grams of fresh spearmint (about a large handful)
  • 5 grams of dried hibiscus (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 15 grams of other fresh herbs (another large handful; optional, see note above)
  • 1 tablespoon of honey (or to taste)
  1. Mince up the fresh herbs finely and place them in a large jar, at least 2 quarts in size. Add the hibiscus. (I like to use a large measuring glass to facilitate pouring later.)

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  1. Pour 1.5 quarts of just-boiled water over the herbs and stir. Let this steep for 10-15 minutes, covered.

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  1. Strain into a half-gallon glass jar. (I use a strainer and a funnel.) While still warm, add the honey and stir until it is fully combined with the tea.

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  1. Let cool on the counter or in the refrigerator.
  2. About 10-20 minutes before serving, fill the rest of the jar with ice. Serve cold, preferably in a beautiful location. This hibiscus tea recipe makes approximately 2 quarts. Drink within 24 hours.

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Which herbs & remedies should you always stock in your kitchen?

38 comments
  1. Make sure you check out the new downloadable PDF recipe cards above. :-)

    • I have hibiscus and am wondering when it is best to cultivate the flower for this drink? Before or after bloom?

  2. I live in a hot drought area this year. I would like to have this tea available to me in my gallon glass dispenser in my refrigerator 24/7. Can I make this recipe as a sun tea? Can I keep it longer than 24 hours? Can I keep adding new tea to my dispenser as I use it up? Can I cold brew it with the ingredients in cold water and not boiling water, so I can just keep it going in the frig without cooking? Thanks so much . . . you are the best!

    • I wouldn’t keep it much longer than 24 hours. Because this is a simple tea infusion you run the risk of it spoiling. As for your other questions those sound like great experiments to me. Let us know what you find out.

  3. if I have flowering hibiscuses in my backyard can I use fresh flowers for this tea? Thanks

    • Make sure you have Hibiscus sabdariffa or another known edible variety. And it’s actually not the flowers that are used but the calyxes.

  4. I am so excited to find another use for my mint! Our mint has gone wild and taken over most of the area around our small pond. We have several families of rabbits who weed it for us, as they’ll eat all the grass that tries to horn in while leaving the mint alone. :-) Now to just get some hibiscus flowers…

  5. Hi Rosalee,
    Love your info & recipes. I often take hibiscus tea to share at our Rare Friit Club. It is an annual and grows well in a pot. It is popular thru-out the Carribean, Mexico & South America. I look forward to trying your recipe. I usually make it with a large slice of ginger, rose hips, a small piece of cinnamon, a few cloves and a small handful of stevia leaves from the garden. It is always popular. Your recipe looks to be wonderful for the hot summer here in FLA. I will try it for our meeting next week and take your article to share as well. Blessings to you.

    • Your recipe sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing.

  6. Looks like a great summertime recipe. My hibiscus plant is about ready to bloom and the large red blossoms are so beautiful. Can I use the fresh blossoms? Any modification in the amount of a hibiscus used?
    Thank you, Patty

    • It’s actually the calyxes that are used, not the fresh. I’ve never worked with fresh so I’m not sure how the amounts would change.

  7. Thanks for the great recipe!

    Hibiscus is not a perennial here in Oklahoma due to the cold winters, but Rose of Sharon is. Do you know whether it can be substituted?

    • I’m not sure, sounds like something to look into though.

  8. Last year my daughter brought me some hibiscus flowers from Egypt where she was living. I knew about it but didn’t really know about the benefits. Ever since I am in love with this plant. In Egypt they drink it all day long to keep cool. It is such a cooling plant that even when drunk warm it cools you off!! Apparently the women also mix their henna with hibiscus tea.
    She also told me that they boil the hibiscus for quite a long time before serving it. She saw them make it on the felouks, those beautiful sail boats that take you up and down the Nile.
    Thank you for this beautiful recipe, Rosalee. You are always so inspiring.

    • What an adventure! Thanks for sharing that additional information.

  9. A couple of fresh culinary sage leaves is wonderful in this tea. I have to buy dried hibiscus from our local apothecary so my go to tea is spearmint and lemon grass leaves or lemon balm. The hibiscus makes the tea so pretty and I love it’s cooling effects. Thanks for sharing!

  10. how do you know if its Hibiscus sabdariffa? or an edible variety?
    i have “hardy” hibiscus but do not know beyond that?

    • You would need to botanically ID the plant. I wish I could give you some tips but I don’t live near the plant and so I am unfamiliar with it.

  11. Can I use dried spearmint instead?

    • Sure. You will probably need to change the amount and since I don’t use dried spearmint I’m unable to offer any suggestions. Experiment and find what you like!

    • I am wondering the same thing because I’ll be using dried peppermint. Everything I’m finding from a quick Google search says that you should use 1/3 the amount if you are using dried herbs instead of fresh. So instead of 20 grams of fresh, you would use 6-7 grams of dried. That answer was found on several sites, but all relating to cooking, not to tea making. But maybe it’s a good place to start. I, for one, can never get enough peppermint, so I’m guessing I can’t really mess this up :)

  12. what are those green circles in the jar?

    • That’s the design on the cup.

  13. Hi , i live in Florida and roselle grows wonderfully here. It is what hibiscus is. They grow so big they fall over and than the trunk grows roots too. The flowers are lovely and the calyx after the flower is done swells to a wonderful incredible deep red globe. They look really pretty also. It is my favorite thing to grow and use. Sage

  14. This is kind of off-topic, but I’ve been looking for my pdf of that herb wheel you produced that showed which herbs are hot or cold, dry or moist. I thought the wheel would be helpful to pick out herbs for cooling herbal teas and also match healing or beneficial properties for various people. I have lost your herb wheel. Is there a way I could access another copy of this? Thanks so much for all you do!

    • You can just log into your Herbal Cold Care course or Taste of Herbs (we have wheels for both) and download another copy. Other than that, these are not posted at the moment.

  15. Very beautiful. The combination of herbs sounds great. What are the yellow rings in the glasses of tea?

    • That’s the design on the cup. It was made locally by a woman who blows glass, but I’m not sure how she gets those rings in there.

  16. Last year did you send out a recipe for a gel to make a non greasy lotions?

  17. I have both spearmint and peppermint in my garden. Is there a specific reason you use spearmint instead of peppermint? I actually prefer the peppermint to the spearmint as far as taste is concerned. Also, I was looking up hibiscus on Mountain Rose Herbs and they have it from 2 different locations, Egypt and Germany, with the one from Germany being slightly more expensive, can you tell me what the difference would be since all the information seems to be the same except location? Thanks.

    • You can easily substitute peppermint for the spearmint in this recipe. Please direct your questions about Mountain Rose Herbs to them as they will be better informed to answer questions about their products.

      • Thank you for your prompt reply. I will ask Mountain Rose Herbs about that. And I will get some hibiscus and try this.

  18. I sat down to read my email while drinking a glass of hibiscus tea, how funny! I make mine with hibiscus, lemon balm & cinnamon. Delicious! I’ll make yours tomorrow, thank you!

  19. Roselle is a wonderful herb. Here in Florida that is what we call it to distinguish it from the patio hibiscus sold at Lowe’s. There is a definite difference. We also have a wild hibiscus species of our own (though it may be a naturalized plant).

    They are generally harvested late summer for the calyxes. Last year was the first time I had enough on my plant (I’m in N. Fl.) to make a harvest. You dry the calyx out and we have to watch out for mold due to the humidity issues in late summer. My van made a great dryer. Then you split the calyx open and harvest the seeds. They are much easier to clean when dry than wet. I was thrilled to harvest a quart of my own homegrown.

  20. My boys (we have 4!) and I have been enjoying playing Wildcraft. They are interested in how to use the herbs, so it has inspired us to do more research. What a wonderful game! I ordered supplies to make the hibiscus tea, and I know they will be thrilled to make it and try it out.

  21. I have hibiscus but it’s orange. Can I use that.

  22. Hello

    Do you think that i can use bugambilia instead of hibiscus??

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