The search for the fountain of youth, the magic herbs, the tinctures, tonics, and elixirs with supernatural and unexplained cures has been going on relentlessly for millennia.

It seems many people want to live forever. Many desire immortality, and most people truly want to be healthy. The search goes far and wide and great sums of money are paid for longevity. Most people will try almost anything at least once.

Those of us in the tea industry feel we have solved a bit of that mystery with tea, and with our love and dedication to tea, we “pooh-pooh” many of the herbs that make the news or cause a sensation as merely unsubstantiated hype.

“I am in no way interested in immortality, but only in the taste of tea.”

Lu T’ung ~

Quite a few of our tea friends and colleagues have adjusted their thinking and business practices to include several of the popular herbs and now sell them in their tea shops. Customers ask for these herbs, berries, flowers, and seeds by name. Thus, many shop owners have learned to adjust to the trends, while various others will choose to remain loyal to their tea-and-tea-only beliefs. Such is free will, and such is consumerism.

Hibiscus is definitely one of the “herbs” causing a great sensation for sure!

A few years back there were several booths at the World Tea Expo featuring Hibiscus – scores of us walked right by. I say this because I was one of them.

I’d steeped and served many tea blends over the years that contained Hibiscus but I’d never researched the flower, nor paid attention to the health benefits of it because I considered it an herb, not a tea. Yes, I was a pooh-pooher!

Here is a portion of the Wikipedia definition of Hibiscus:

Hibiscus tea is a herbal tea made as an infusion from crimson or deep magenta-coloured calyces (sepals) of the roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa) flower. It is consumed both hot and cold.

It has a tart, cranberry-like flavour, and sugar is often added to sweeten it. The tea contains vitamin C and minerals, and is used traditionally as a mild medicine.

Hibiscus tea contains 15-30% organic acids, including, citric acid, malic acid, and tartaric acid. It also contains acidic polysaccharides, and flavonoid glycosides, such as, cyanidin and delphinidin, that give it its characteristic deep-red colour.

The drink is sometimes called Roselle (a name for the flower) or Rosella (Australia); Sorrel, in Jamaica, Belize, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago; Red Sorrel in the wider Caribbean; and Agua or Rosa de Jamaica, or simply Jamaica in the United States, Mexico, and Central America. It is also known as Zobo in African countries like Nigeria.”

Are all Hibiscus products the same? Just as tea varies in quality, so does Hibiscus.

For a better explanation of Hibiscus from someone with years of experience with the plant, I’d like to introduce you to Ralph Kenney.

After receiving an entire pound of organic and truly a superior product from Ralph, owner of IMMORTALITEA, I am thrilled to share my experience.

For over two years, I’d succumbed to the hype of Hibiscus. I purchased it in bulk from a local upscale grocery store, and I’d been preparing and enjoying it in various ways, but avoiding the last two sips in my cup.

I learned the hard way that the last two sips contained grit. I can only describe it as such – I’m not entirely sure what it was but it felt like dirt or sand – whatever it was – it was NOT pleasant. The cup was brilliant and tasty until you got to the last two sips. It certainly leads one to wonder about the growing, cutting, and drying processes of whomever, from wherever this product was obtained. I continued to buy it because it was labeled as organic. Silly me!

Here is a video from Ralph Kenney of IMMORTALITEA which perhaps explains why other products are, or could be, inferior.

Is it truly a prolonged life sought,

or is it a longing for life that keeps one searching?

Stay tuned for part two of my IMMORTALITEA Hibiscus tasting experience, along with all the health benefits of this amazing flower!