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Everything You Need to Know About Dried Hibiscus Flowers | AFRIVANA - Wholesale Bulk African Superfoods

Everything You Need to Know About Dried Hibiscus Flowers

Everything You Need to Know About Dried Hibiscus Flowers


Hibiscus is a plant, and it has a flower. This flower, when dried, is used for several purposes ranging from medical to snacking. For example, roselle tea commonly called “zobo” in Nigeria is a refreshing drink that is obtained from the dried flowers of the hibiscus sabdariffa species.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Two common extracts of dried hibiscus flowers are the roselle tea and hibiscus. Roselle tea is most times confused with hibiscus tea as they both have similar taste characteristics and similar tea color. They are both in the genus hibiscus with different species. Hibiscus tea is under the species hibiscus rosa-sinensis and roselle tea is under the species hibiscus sabdariffa. 

We would base our discussion on the roselle tea, which has different names in different parts of West Africa and is popular as a healthy soothing tea taken very chilled during the dry seasons.

It is known as Bissap in Senegal, Karkade tea in North Africa and South Africa, Sobolo in Ghana, Groseille in Guinee and has other names which include sour tea, red tea, rouge, etc.

Uses of Dried Hibiscus Flowers 

Dried hibiscus flowers are made into tea and are mostly taken for refreshing purposes, but this tea is also believed to have some health benefits.

Health benefits of dried hibiscus flowers

Very little research has been made on the health benefits of dried hibiscus flowers, but old studies show that roselle tea gotten from dried hibiscus flowers is beneficial to health in the following ways:

  • High blood pressure: Studies show that blood pressure of people with high blood pressure decreases a little when they take roselle tea for 2-6 weeks. It was also shown that roselle tea might be as effective or even more effective than most drugs for reducing high blood pressure.
  • Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs): Research done earlier has shown that people who live in long-term care facilities with urinary catheters have up to 36% lower chances of having urinary tract infections when they drink roselle tea.
  • Dyslipidemia (abnormal level of cholesterol and/or blood fats): In addition, studies show that roselle tea can also lower cholesterol and blood fat level in people with metabolic disorders like diabetes. It does not increase cholesterol levels in people with normal cholesterol levels.
  • Diabetes: Recent studies show that roselle tea may help diabetic patients keep their blood sugar level in check by reducing the blood glucose by 12%. Interestingly, people who don't have diabetes do not experience any change in their glucose level when they take roselle tea.
  • More: It is believed that roselle tea prevents heart disease, constipation, obesity, loss of appetite, cold and stomach irritation. Although not enough evidence has been shown to prove these beliefs.

Does Dried Hibiscus Flowers have Side Effects?

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

When dried hibiscus is made into tea, most people find it safe when taken in food size amounts. Problems only arise when taken excessively.

Side effects of dried hibiscus flowers are few and uncommon. But the side effects from excessive consumption may include nausea, headache, stomach pain, dizziness, fatigue,  painful urination, and tinnitus (ringing in the ear). Regular use can alter the effects of estrogen-based birth control pills in women because of the plant-based compound phystrogen hibiscus contains.j

Special warnings:

  • Pregnant women are advised to cease consuming dried hibiscus flowers (and its extracts) as medication or food because the tea induces menstruation, increasing the chances of miscarriage.
  • Hypertensive patients taking roselle tea may have to adjust their medications as co-administration of the tea with their regular medication can lead to hypotension (low blood pressure).
  • Diabetic patients taking roselle tea may also have to adjust their medications as co-administration of the tea with their regular medication can lead to hypoglycemia (low blood pressure).
  • People who are about to be operated on are advised to stay away from dried hibiscus flowers before and after the surgery as it might make blood sugar levels difficult to control by doctors.

It is advisable to always speak with your doctor before you embark on using the dried hibiscus flowers as a home remedy.

Preparation of the Roselle tea

The roselle tea can be prepared in different ways according to different tastes. Preparing it involves boiling the dried hibiscus flowers with any spice or flavour of your choice. After it has boiled it is left to cool and then sieved. Sweeteners are added or not added, depending on the choice of whoever is making the tea.

Roselle tea (Flickr)

The tea is most times put into cups and/or mugs and put into the fridge to cool. This refreshing tea is mostly taken with snacks like meat-pie in Nigeria.

People who take this tea as medication are not advised to take over 2 cups per day.

Hibiscus OilHibiscus Oil

Aside from being made into tea, oil can be extracted from hibiscus flowers and used on the hair and the skin. The flower is rich in vitamin A and C and also full of Alpha-Hydroxy Acids and Amino acid, which is great for the hair and skin.

It is said to boost hair growth, increase hair thickness, reduce dandruff, add shine to hair and reduce premature hair greying. It also exfoliates the skin, keeps it looking bright and feeling soft, infuses anti-aging properties into the skin and also helps in healing cuts and bruises a lot faster.

It should be noted that hibiscus oil can be made with a fine paste of dry hibiscus flower and leaves, and can also be made with the fresh hibiscus flowers.


Dried hibiscus flowers have a lot of health benefits. But that doesn’t mean you should binge on it. There are side effects that occasionally come with excessive consumption. All in all, it is a great blessing from nature.

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