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.”
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).
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.
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)
- 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.)
- Pour 1.5 quarts of just-boiled water over the herbs and stir. Let this steep for 10-15 minutes, covered.
- 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.
- Let cool on the counter or in the refrigerator.
- 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.