Updated: Jul 26, 2021
Step into any authentic Mexican taqueria and you will notice the continuous flowing fountains of Agua Frescas lining the counter. One of the most common drinks available (and a personal favorite) is Agua De Jamaica, a dark red, refreshingly tart Hibiscus tea full of flavor and antioxidants!
In Chinese Medicine, sour or tart flavors are associated with the liver and help improve the health and functions of the liver organ. Sour flavors also have an astringing quality, meaning it helps to keep fluids in. Just think of how your mouth puckers up whenever you taste lemons. Fruits such as lemons, plums, raspberries, and Schisandra berries which naturally have a sourness to help nourish the liver.
Full of antioxidants:
Antioxidants help prevent cellular damage and diseases from free radicals. One study found that extract from Hibiscus flowers helped increased the number of antioxidant enzymes and reduced the harmful effects of free radicals by up to 92%
May help Lower Cholesterol:
Studies have found that hibiscus tea help lower cholesterol, or the level of fats in the blood. Participants of a study who drank hibiscus tea for one month saw a reduced overall level of cholesterol, and a significant increase in the levels of 'good' cholesterol HDL.
May help lower blood pressure:
Several studies have found that hibiscus tea may lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. One study found that prehypertensive and mildly hypertensive people who drank hibiscus tea regularly for six weeks had a significant decrease in systolic blood pressure.
Another study also found that hibiscus tea decreased systolic by an average of 7.58 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure by an average of 3.53 mmHg!
Boost Liver Health:
Your liver is an important organ that produces many enzymes and proteins that help maintain the overall health of your body. It play a role in the detoxification of many harmful substances from the body. Also, it is an important organ in digestion because it helps produce bile, a substance that breaks down fat from foods.
There are studies that showed that hibiscus extract increased the levels of concentration of several drug-detoxifying enzymes in the liver by up to 65% .
Another study supported hibiscus' ability to produce liver-protecting properties and decreased markers of liver damage.
Promote Weight Loss
It was found that hibiscus tea may be associated with weight loss and protect against obesity. A study done with participants who were obese found that hibiscus extract helped reduce body weight, body fat, body mass index and hip-to-waist ratio.
In Chinese, these berries are called Wu Wei Zi 五味子, meaning the Five Flavored Berry. The five flavors in Chinese medicine are Sour, Sweet, Acrid, Bitter, and Salty. These berries primarily have sour and sweet flavors, with tiny notes of the other remaining flavors.
Schisandra Berries have medicinal qualities such as:
Stop coughing: the sour flavor helps to astringe/hold Lung Qi and stop coughing
Supports and tonify weak kidneys and adrenal glands: nocturnal emissions, spermatorrhea, vaginal discharge and urinary frequency
Stops Sweating and retain fluids: excessive sweating or night sweating
Calms the Heart and Mind, Support Heart Qi: symptoms such as irritability, palpitations, dream-disturbed sleep and insomnia
Support and tonify Spleen Qi: frequent diarrhea
It modulates endocrine and immune functions by tonifying the adrenal cortex and Liver
This herb has restorative effects on the brain and central nervous system
This is my take on the popular Agua Fresca: Agua De Jamaica with added Pomegranate juice for extra antioxidants and Schisandra Berries, a medicinal herb in Traditional Chinese Medicine known for having all five flavors. The berries are quite potent in flavor so a little goes a long way!
64 oz. of water (8 cups)
3/4 to 1 cup sugar (depending on desired sweetness)
1 cup dried hibiscus flowers
1/2 cinnamon stick
A few slices ginger
8-16 oz of Pomegranate Juice (1-2 cups)
5-7 Schisandra Berries
Lime or Lemon juice
2-4 Tablespoons of Honey
Orange or Lime slices for garnish
Boil water with sugar and spices: Put 32 oz (4 cups) of the water and the sugar in a medium saucepan. Add any spices if you'd like: cinnamon, ginger slices, a few allspice berries. Heat until boiling and the sugar has dissolved.
Steep with hibiscus flowers: Remove the saucepan from heat and stir in the dried hibiscus flowers and Schisandra Berries. Cover the pot and let sit for 20 minutes.
Strain: Strain the concentrate into a pitcher and discard the used hibiscus flowers, ginger, cinnamon, and/or allspice berries. This concentrate can be used immediately or chilled and served later.
Add water and Pomegranate Juice: Add remaining 32 oz (4 cups) of water, or if you want to chill the drink quickly, ice and water to the concentrate, and chill.
(Alternatively, you can add ice and soda water for a bubbly version.)
Add 8-16 oz. of Pomegranate Juice and a squeeze of fresh little lime or lemon juice for a more refreshing flavor.
Serve over ice with a slice of orange or lime for garnish.
*Disclaimer: This blog is for educational and entertainment purposes only, and is NOT intended as medical advice. If you or any other person have a medical concern, please seek guidance from a medical professional.