Thursday, August 29, 2013

Hibiscus ~ If You Must Belong to a Club

There is something about the hibiscus blossom that catches most eyes, be it the simple and oh so common single petal red or the dinner-plate-sized multi-colored hybrid. I'm sure those people are out there, but I've never heard anyone say 'I don't like hibiscus flowers.' Their brightness, with deeply colored centers, that brilliant yellow pistil on so many of them; most humans are drawn like kids to swings.

Hibiscus belong to the 'here today, gone tomorrow' family of blooms. From the tightly closed bud to the blossom, and then, once again, closed, a frankly unattractive blown beauty past its prime all too quickly. Almost ephemeral in the rolling seasons, yet seemingly, at least in our tropical clime, always there. Plus, they are edible!

From Hidden Valley Hibiscus:

photo credit: unknown (source)
Tea makers report that all parts of the hibiscus plant can be used, but that the flowers make a sweeter tea, and the leaves make a more astringent tea. Hibiscus tea was traditionally used to soothe or help a variety of ailments, from coughs and skin diseases to high blood pressure, gallbladder attacks, heart disease, and even some cancers. Whether these claims have any basis in science or fact, we have no idea. It is known that hibiscus leaves and flowers do contain certain antioxidants, such as flavanoids, and proanthocyanidins, and have a kind of diuretic effect on at least some animals. There have even been a few recent medical studies with animals on the effects of using Hibiscus rosa-sinensis flowers as a treatment for certain medical conditions because of these antioxidants, some with successful results.

Over at Zaco's Taco's you can try hibiscus tea or have it in a margarita, just in case you want to experiment before plucking all the petals off your neighbor's hibiscus plant.

Interested in finding out more? Check this out. And remember, there are a lot of varieties  of hibiscus! If they can be grown in the UK, you can probably grow them where ever you are. Well, unless you live in Antarctica, in which case you'll have to do more reading on your own anyway.

Have a try-out Thursday! Do something taste full.

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