Does hibiscus flower tea have calories?

Quick Answer

Hibiscus flower tea does contain calories, though the number of calories can vary depending on the specific tea blend. On average, an 8-ounce cup of hibiscus tea contains around 20-40 calories. The calories come primarily from natural sugars found in the hibiscus flower as well as any added honey or sweeteners. However, hibiscus tea is still generally considered a low-calorie beverage option.

Calorie Content of Hibiscus Tea

The calorie content of hibiscus tea can range depending on the specific ingredients used:

  • Plain hibiscus tea (made from dried hibiscus flowers steeped in hot water): Approximately 20-30 calories per 8 oz cup
  • Hibiscus tea with added honey or sugar: Up to 40-50 calories per 8 oz cup depending on amount added
  • Flavored/blended hibiscus teas (with fruit juices, spices, etc.): 30-60 calories per 8 oz cup
  • Bottled/canned hibiscus iced tea: 15-90 calories per 8 oz serving depending on brand and recipe

The natural sugars found in the hibiscus flowers account for most of the calories. Hibiscus tea contains some glucose, fructose, sucrose and maltose. The exact sugar composition can vary based on the variety of hibiscus, growing conditions, processing methods, and brewing time and temperature.

Any additional ingredients like honey, sugar, fruit juices or nectars added to enhance the flavor will also increase the calorie content. Pre-made bottled hibiscus tea products are often sweetened with added sugars or contain juice blends that boost the calorie count compared to plain hibiscus tea.

So in its pure form without any sweeteners, an 8-ounce cup of hibiscus tea typically provides 20-30 calories. This is still considered low-calorie, as a cup of coffee with cream and sugar can range from 50-100 calories while sweetened iced teas often exceed 100 calories per 8 ounces.

Hibiscus Tea Nutrition Facts

Here is the nutrition breakdown for a typical serving of unsweetened hibiscus tea brewed from dried flowers:

Nutrient Per 8 fl oz serving
Calories 25
Protein 0 g
Carbohydrates 6 g
Sugars 5 g
Fat 0 g
Vitamin C 14 mg
Calcium 32 mg
Iron 0.25 mg

As shown, hibiscus tea is low in fat, protein and calories. Its main nutrient contribution is vitamin C, providing 14 mg per 8-ounce cup which is 14% of the Daily Value. It also contains trace amounts of calcium, iron, and potassium. The calories come mainly from natural carbohydrates, specifically the 5 grams of sugars.

Hibiscus Tea Benefits

Drinking hibiscus tea offers several health benefits beyond simply its light, refreshing flavor. Here are some of the top benefits associated with regular hibiscus tea consumption:

Rich in Antioxidants

Hibiscus tea contains various antioxidant compounds such as anthocyanins that help combat free radical damage that can lead to chronic disease. The antioxidants in hibiscus help decrease inflammation, boost immunity, and may lower risk of cancer, heart disease and neurological decline.

May Help Lower Blood Pressure

Some studies indicate the antioxidants in hibiscus may help lower blood pressure, particularly systolic blood pressure. Drinking a few cups of hibiscus tea daily may benefit people with hypertension.

May Lower Cholesterol

The potential cholesterol-lowering effects of hibiscus tea are also being studied. Animal studies suggest hibiscus can reduce overall cholesterol, triglycerides and LDL “bad” cholesterol while increasing “good” HDL cholesterol. However, more robust human studies are still needed.

May Aid Weight Loss

Replacing high-calorie beverages with hibiscus tea could support weight loss goals. Since it is low in calories but provides satiety from its water content, hibiscus tea can help reduce overall calorie intake without sacrificing fullness. The potential diuretic effects of hibiscus may also minimize water retention.

May Help Manage Diabetes

Some early evidence shows hibiscus might help support blood sugar control, likely due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. More studies are needed, but hibiscus shows promise for improving insulin sensitivity and reducing complications of diabetes like kidney damage.

Is Hibiscus Tea Safe?

For most people, moderate consumption of hibiscus tea is considered safe with few side effects. However, some precautions are needed:

– Hibiscus may interact with certain medications, including blood pressure and diabetes medications. Those on medication should consult their doctor before drinking large amounts of hibiscus tea.

– Hibiscus tea should be avoided by pregnant women as it may increase menstruation and possibly lead to premature labor.

– Some sources suggest avoiding hibiscus if you have low blood pressure, as the tea’s potential blood pressure lowering effects could cause excessively low blood pressure.

– Hibiscus tea may cause hypotension or hallucinatory effects in large doses. Excess consumption should be avoided.

– Hibiscus contains natural plant compounds that could trigger allergies in some people, though allergic reactions are uncommon. Discontinue use if any reaction occurs.

As with any tea or herbal supplement, it is best to start with small amounts of hibiscus tea to assess your personal tolerance. Speak with your health practitioner before making hibiscus tea a regular habit if you have any ongoing health issues or are taking medications.

How to Brew Hibiscus Tea

Brewing hibiscus tea is very similar to brewing any herbal tea. Here is a simple hibiscus tea recipe:

– 2 tsp dried hibiscus flowers
– 8 ounces freshly boiled water
– Optional sweetener such as honey, sugar, stevia to taste

1. Boil 8 ounces of fresh water.
2. Rinse a tea mug with hot water to warm it up before brewing.
3. Add 2 tsp of dried hibiscus flowers to the warmed tea mug.
4. Pour the boiling water over the hibiscus flowers.
5. Allow to steep for 5-10 minutes.
6. Stir in optional sweetener if desired.
7. Strain the tea into another mug, pressing the flowers to extract as much liquid and flavor as possible.
8. Enjoy the refreshing hibiscus tea!

Tips for best flavor:
– Use freshly boiled water, as hotter temperatures extract more flavor from the flowers.
– Steep 5-15 minutes. More time infuses more flavor, but can make the tea bitter if over-steeped.
– Add sweetener while tea is hot to fully dissolve the honey/sugar.
– Try adding lemon, mint or ginger for extra flavor.

Hibiscus Tea Recipes

Plain hibiscus tea is delicious on its own, but you can also get creative with hibiscus by using it in flavored tea blends, cocktails, desserts and more. Here are some tasty hibiscus tea recipes to try:

Hibiscus Mint Iced Tea

– 3 tbsp dried hibiscus flowers
– 1 cup boiling water
– 3-4 fresh mint leaves
– 1⁄2 cup sugar or honey (or to taste)
– 3 cups cold water

1. Pour 1 cup boiling water over 3 tbsp hibiscus flowers and 3-4 torn fresh mint leaves.
2. Allow to steep 5-7 minutes, then strain.
3. Stir in honey until dissolved.
4. Pour the hibiscus-mint concentrate over 3 cups cold water.
5. Serve over ice. Garnish with mint leaves if desired.

Hibiscus Ginger Peach Iced Tea

– 3 tbsp dried hibiscus flowers
– 1 cup hot water
– One 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
– 1 cup peach nectar
– 3 tbsp honey or agave
– 3 cups cold water
– Slices of fresh peach for garnish

1. Steep hibiscus flowers and ginger in 1 cup hot water for 5-7 minutes
2. Strain out solids and stir in peach nectar and sweetener until dissolved
3. Mix in 3 cups cold water
4. Pour over ice and garnish with fresh peach slices

Hibiscus Cherry Limeade

– 1⁄4 cup dried hibiscus flowers
– 1 cup water
– 1 cup tart cherry juice
– 1⁄2 cup fresh lime juice
– 2 tbsp honey or agave
– Lime slices for garnish

1. Steep hibiscus in 1 cup boiling water for 10 minutes
2. Strain and stir in remaining ingredients
3. Serve over ice and garnish with lime slices

Hibiscus Tea Cocktail Spritzer

– 1⁄4 cup strong hibiscus tea, chilled
– 2 oz gin or vodka
– 2 oz club soda
– 1 oz fresh lime juice
– Lime wedge garnish

Mix all ingredients over ice in a tall glass. Garnish with lime wedge.

Where to Buy Hibiscus Tea

There are several options for purchasing hibiscus tea:

– Check the tea aisle at well-stocked grocery stores or natural food markets. Many carry hibiscus herbal tea bags or loose dried flowers.

– Visit coffee shops and cafes selling loose leaf tea – some offer hibiscus blends.

– Search online retailers that specialize in teas, herbs and botanicals. Sites like Mountain Rose Herbs have high-quality organic hibiscus.

– Purchase bottled hibiscus tea at stores, though these often contain added sugars or fruit juices. Check the label.

– For freshest flavor, buy dried hibiscus flowers within the year of harvest and store in an airtight container away from heat, light and moisture.

– Look for organic or sustainably wild-harvested hibiscus flowers for the highest quality tea.

Is Hibiscus Tea Keto-Friendly?

Hibiscus tea can fit into a ketogenic diet since it is low in carbohydrates and will not significantly impact blood sugar or ketone levels. An 8-oz serving of plain hibiscus tea contains around 5 grams net carbs.

To make your hibiscus tea keto-friendly:

– Avoid adding sugar or honey as sweeteners, as this will increase the carb count.

– Opt for non-glycemic sweeteners like stevia or monk fruit instead.

– Read labels and watch carb counts if using flavored hibiscus tea blends or bottled options, which may have added sugars.

– Pair hibiscus tea with fat sources like coconut oil or heavy cream to balance the small amount of carbs.

– Drink hibiscus tea between meals rather than with high fat foods so it does not hinder ketosis.

So while not completely zero-carb, plain hibiscus tea can generally fit within a well-formulated keto diet when consumed in moderation. It provides a nice alternative to sugary drinks or fruit-juice based teas.

Hibiscus Tea vs. Green Tea

Both hibiscus tea and green tea are antioxidant-rich, plant-based beverages associated with numerous health benefits. However, there are some key differences between these two teas:

Hibiscus Tea Green Tea
Source The hibiscus flower Leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant
Caffeine Content Caffeine-free Contains 25-50 mg caffeine per cup
Active Compounds Anthocyanins, flavonoids Catechins like EGCG
Flavor Tart, cranberry-like flavor Grassy, vegetal flavor
Calories 20-40 calories per cup 2 calories per cup when unsweetened

Both provide antioxidants and polyphenols that may help lower blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar and more. Hibiscus tea offers a caffeine-free alternative for those avoiding stimulants. But green tea contains distinct compounds like EGCG linked to health benefits. In the end, both beverages have merits depending on a person’s needs and preferences.


Hibiscus tea does contain calories, averaging around 20-40 calories per 8 ounce serving depending on whether it is enhanced with sweeteners or juice blends. The small amount of natural sugars (5g per serving) in the hibiscus flowers accounts for most of its calories.

Despite having slightly more calories than plain water, hibiscus tea is still considered a relatively low calorie beverage, especially when avoiding added sugars. It provides a nice source of antioxidants, vitamin C, and floral flavor. Moderate intake can be part of a healthy diet, and may offer benefits for blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, and weight management.

Opt for unsweetened hibiscus tea or use non-glycemic sweeteners to keep calories low if desired. Avoid excessive consumption of hibiscus tea or strong hibiscus extracts without first consulting your doctor. But otherwise, the mild fruity flavor of hibiscus tea can be a refreshing addition to your daily hydration routine.

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