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Iced Rosella Tea. Naturopath Kirily Thomas. Gut health, polyphenols, hibiscus tea, blood pressure, healthy drink

My Iced Rosella Tea is a refreshing summer drink that also supports our beneficial microbes!

After a cool summer drink, that will also support the beneficial flora in your microbiota as well? Then may I introduce you to the beautiful rosella (Hibiscus sabdariffa)! 

A strong brew of rosella tea is lovely and refreshing when it’s cold from the fridge, and it also has the added benefit of being chock full of polyphenols, which are a tasty treat that many of our beneficial microbes love to eat. Rosella can also be a helpful support in metabolic syndrome, helping to reduce blood pressure, total cholesterol, triglycerides and blood glucose. (1, 2)

Rosella tea is tangy and tart, but not excessively so, so it is great if you’re not a fan of sweet, but you can sweeten it a little if you prefer using maple syrup, honey or fresh stevia leaves (much nicer than the processed stevia sweetener). Adding some red/pink dragon fruit powder is also an option for some additional polyphenols, and it tastes great too.

How to make Iced Rosella Tea

What you need:

  • 3 tablespoons of dried rosella (Hibiscus sabdariffa)
  • 1 litre of boiling water
  • 1-2 teaspoons of maple syrup, honey or a couple of fresh stevia leaves
  • Mint sprigs

Optional Additions

  • 1-2 teaspoons of pink/red dragon fruit powder for a flavour and polyphenol boost
  • Sparkling water or mineral water
  • Ice

What you need to do:

  • Infuse 3 tablespoons of dried rosella (Hibiscus sabdariffa), and the fresh stevia leaves if you’re using them, in 1 litre of boiling water for an hour or so, until it has cooled considerably and is a deep red in colour.
  • Strain and add the maple syrup or honey if you are using these (make sure you tasted it before deciding if you need a sweetener) and put in the fridge to cool.
  • Once cool, you can either drink it as it is with some chopped or crushed mint leaves, which is quite strong, but still pleasant to drink. Or you can choose to add half a glass of the strong infusion, and then add some ice, mint leaves, and top up with extra water to dilute to make the strong infusion last for more of the day. 
  • You can also add sparkling water or plain mineral water instead to add some spritz.

Alternative option:

  • 1 teaspoon per glass of pink/red dragon fruit powder can be added to the cold rosella infusion once you have poured it into the glass and it will dissolve quite well once stirred. This adds to the flavour and vibrancy of the colour of your refreshing drink, not to mention boosting the polyphenol content. Mint is nice with this version too.
  • You can add ice and plain water to this mix or add sparkling water instead for a frothy/fizzy delight. 
  • Note: if you are adding sparkling water, make sure you stir in the dragonfruit powder first and then add the sparkling water slowly otherwise it will overflow the glass and you’ll have dark pink/red drink everywhere (if you are an Aussie, and old enough to remember “spiders” as a dessert type drink, the frothing can be similar)! This *may* have happened to me when I was testing the dragon fruit powder as a possible option – lucky I don’t have a white kitchen!

I hope you all enjoy – Iced Rosella Tea is certainly going to be on high rotation in my household over summer this year!

***Please note if you have mild/moderate hypertension Hibiscus sabdariffa (rosella) may lower blood pressure when drunk regularly, so caution is advised to those who may be taking prescribed medication to manage their hypertension due to possible additive effects. Please seek advice from your healthcare provider before drinking rosella on a regular basis.

References

  1. Yusni Y, Meutia F. Action Mechanism of Rosella (Hibiscus sabdariffa L.) Used to Treat Metabolic Syndrome in Elderly Women. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2020 Sep 14;2020:5351318. doi: 10.1155/2020/5351318. PMID: 33005201; PMCID: PMC7509568.
  2. Ellis LR, Zulfiqar S, Holmes M, Marshall L, Dye L, Boesch C. A systematic review and meta-analysis of the effects of Hibiscus sabdariffa on blood pressure and cardiometabolic markers. Nutrition Reviews. 2022;80(6):1723-37. 
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