Friday, December 16, 2011

Cinnamon Hibiscus Tea for the Holidays

The holiday season can frankly be a drag. It's not hard to get overwhelmed planning, shopping, baking, visiting with family. Even good stress can overwhelm the body and when overwhelmed, this is the perfect tea to savor. It's even pretty enough to serve at your next holiday gathering! 

Both hibiscus and lemon balm are folk remedies to help soothe nerves. Hibiscus is high in Vitamin C and antioxidants (just look at that lovely color), helping ward off colds that we are more susceptible during these wintry days. It also contains hydroxycitric acid (HCA) which scientific studies prove that stops the conversion of carbohydrates in food to body fat and can also discourage appetite. Since holiday season is frequently laiden with cookies, sweet breads, and treats, this is the perfect time to indulge in some herbal tea!

Hibiscus flower tea is usually served cold with tons of sweetener due to its tartness in places like Mexico and Latin America. This summer, I drank my fair share of hibiscus with agave nectar over ice. However in this recipe, I include cinnamon and licorice root as a natural sweetener and forgo any caloric sweetness.
 Lemon Balm is well-known in the herbal world, dating back to ancient times where they used it to treat any disorder of the central nervous system. This herb is extremely calming to the nerves. It has been used to help treat sleeping disorders - I included it in a sleep tea I made for Christmas two years ago. Tincture of Lemon Balm can also be very restorative for those women dealing with post-partum depression.

 Cinnamon Hibiscus Tea
3 heaping tablespoons Hibiscus flowers
1 tablespoon lemon balm
1 cinnamon stick
2 slices of licorice root

1. Boil filtered water.
2. Pour over herbs and let steep fifteen minutes for best nourishment and to enjoy all the herbal properties of each plant.
3. Strain and enjoy!

This is delicious iced with or without sparkling water as well as hot.

All herbs can be found at your local health food store. You may already have some in your pantry or growing in your yard during the summer! I harvested lemon balm from my husband's Granny's garden this summer. There is nothing quite like enjoying your own harvested herbs. They always have more flavor.

May you have a Hibiscus Holiday!

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