Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Experimenting with Hibiscus

I was torn about how to use my hibiscus buds from the farmer's market last week. So after doing a little bit of research, I learned that hibiscus can be ate raw, dried, candied, made into tea, or incorporated into hair oils. As for health benefits, the USDA published data supporting the idea that hibiscus tea can actually lower blood pressure, and in India, the plant is said to help with hair loss (hell yea!) and graying. It can also be used for inflammation, stomach irritation and as a diuretic in some cases. I did read something about how pregnant women should NOT drink hibiscus tea, so keep that as a precaution if you have something growing in your belly.

So, with all this in mind I spread the buds out in 3 different ways:

I split and dehydrated the buds overnight in order to save them for later.

 I chopped and mashed about 8 buds into a bowl and added one cup of coconut oil. I kept the bowl over a pot of boiling water for about 20 minutes.  I let the oil cool, but not solidify, and then strained the buds out. Now I have hibiscus coconut oil that I can use in recipes, homemade deodorant, and skin and scalp moisturizer!

3. TEA

After dealing with Penny turning into a monster at the vet's office, a good cup tea was needed!

Hibiscus Tea
-2 hibiscus buds, chopped and mashed
-1/2 lemon, juiced
-1/2 t orange zest
-1/2 t honey
-dash of cinnamon

Soak the buds in a cup with boiling water for at least 15 minutes.  Strain out the flowers and stir in the remaining ingredients.

I would love to hear if anyone else has planted, grown or used hibiscus any other ways! The plant is so versatile that I'm thinking about planting it next year!

Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul. 
-Luther Burbank

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