The flowers and leaves of the hibiscus plant are widely known to have an abundance of benefits for the skin and hair. In fact, at home in India, we often make a concoction of coconut oil simmered with hibiscus flowers and curry leaves to apply on the hair.

Having beenĀ in the UAE for more than a decade now, I have always seen dried hibiscus flower petals in the supermarkets and the spice markets which have bags full of dried fruits, flowers and spices on sale. The shop sellers informed me that the hibiscus flowers help lower blood pressure. A little research on the internet revealed I had stumbled upon hibiscus tea and it seems to be a popular drink in several parts of the world, hot or cold. Especially in the scorching heat these days I enjoy sweet hibiscus tea as a refreshing drink served over plenty of ice. The color of the drink is particularly inviting and it has a deliciously crisp, tangy, and tart taste.

Hibiscus tea may be prepared by adding dried or fresh hibiscus flowers to boiling water until they release their colorful and flavorful essence. I like to add a small cinnamon stick while brewing the tea and sometimes a dash of lime before serving. The rosy red colour of hibiscus is in itself stunning. The tea could be made more inviting by using dried rose petals for decoration. One may garnish with any other ingredient such as mint.

It is known to have an abundance of health benefits including the management of cholesterol levels and is also rich in several vitamins and minerals.

Now, sipping on a glass of chilled hibiscus tea and settling down with a nice book is one of my favorite things to do during the long summer days.

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