Published January 20, 2018 In traditional medicine, Hibiscus flowers are used to regulate the menstrual cycle and help alleviate cramps, PMS, and mood disturbances. In Chinese Medicine, the liver meridian is responsible for “spreading” the Qi (the body’s energy/heat) and hormones. When this Qi is “stuck,” heat builds up in the liver leading to irritability/PMS, and the body lacks the smooth flow of energy it needs to release blood (which is where the cramping comes in!) Hibiscus flower tea cools your liver and releases stagnation by purging ‘hot’, stagnant bile from the gall bladder. This leads to a smoother flow of digestive juices, a better/shorter period, and more even emotions (because remember – the liver is the seat of anger! Many cultures have this association. For example, my boyfriend’s Ecuadorian grandmother used to say “bilis” – bile in Spanish – to his father when he got angry.) HOW TO TAKE HIBISCUS TEA It’s best to start drinking hibiscus tea ~7 days before you know your cycle is supposed to start. I make a huge batch by simmering a large handful of flowers in a soup pot. Then, on the first day of your period, you can brew a strong batch of both hibiscus flowers and fresh ginger to alleviate discomfort. Other uses of this plant are for the treatment of weight gain, headaches, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, boils, and inflammation. For these cases, a cup can be taken daily in the morning before food. ADDITIONAL BENEFITS Hibiscus Tea contains potent antioxidants called anthocyanins (the pigments responsible for the red color) which reduce systemic inflammation and lymphatic congestion. A 2000 study found that the anthocyanins reduced oxidative damage and inflammatory lesions in the livers of rats Hibiscus also boosts circulation & acts as a light diuretic, which increases metabolism and aids weight loss. An Indian study published in 2012 discovered that certain bioflavonoids in hibiscus tea had antidepressant potential.