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Hibiscus Tea: Drunkenness, Hallucinations, and Dizziness, Oh My!

Steeped hibiscus tea in the Hario Tea Pot and Infuser

I have gotten major drunk off of hibiscus tea…twice. The first time was by pure accident and the second time was to just test and see if the first time was by pure accident (lol). Yep, it’s true, you can get drunk off of hibiscus tea…well, some people can get drunk off of hibiscus tea…

In this article, I discuss the origin of hibiscus, why some individuals may experience drunken effects after sipping hibiscus tea, the health benefits of this intriguing beverage and hibiscus tea blend suggestions for the sensitive sipper.

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What Is Hibiscus?

Hibiscus is a genus of flowering plants in the mallow family, Malvaceae. The genus includes both annual and perennial herbaceous plants, as well as woody shrubs and small trees. Hibiscus is native to warm temperate, subtropical and tropical regions throughout the world. The plant is largely recognized by it's large, showy flowers.

A large pink/red hibiscus flower on a bush in Gabie's front yard

Tea from the hibiscus plant is created when the flowers are steeped in hot water. The beverage is known by many names around the world and it is served both hot and cold. For example, in Cameroon, Africa, hibiscus is called 'la foléré' (lah FOH-leh-reh) and is served chilled sweetened by pure cane sugar.

Regardless of where in the world hibiscus is served, the beverage is known for its bright red color, tart flavor, and vitamin C content.

Steeped hibiscus tea in the Hario Tea Pot and Infuser
An aerial view of steeped hibiscus tea in a round white tea cup

Warning: Hallucination & Impaired Focus.

Although hibiscus tea is celebrated around the world as a refreshing and delicious beverage, it so happens to also be infamous for unusual side-effects. The tea is known to impair focus and concentration so much so that it is recommended to not operate machinery or a vehicle under its influence. Some individuals have noticed feelings of dizziness, hallucinations, shortness of breath, and increased heart beat shortly after sipping hibiscus tea.

Chemicals in hibiscus affect estrogen levels, especially in women, and cause hormonal changes in the body effecting some medications such as birth control pills. The tea's ability to affect estrogen levels also has linked it to precipitating the menstrual cycle. Pregnant women are encouraged to avoid the beverage all together since it is unknown whether the tea can adversely affect an unborn child.

As it turns out, I am one of the few people who have an inebriated or intoxicated reaction to hibiscus tea. The first time I drank it, I became so "drunk" that I passed out on my sofa while I was in the middle of reading a good book. My poison was Hibiscus Ginger Tea by The Tao of Tea, a delicious and potent loose-leaf blend. I thought this was very unusual so the next time I sipped this particular blend, I prepared myself: I sipped Hibiscus Ginger at night and stayed near my bed. I became drunk, dizzy, and it was even difficult for me to keep my balance when I got up to use the bathroom. And then of course, I passed out. (lol)

Not everyone experiences these effects as herbs affect everyone differently. However, if you experience drunken-like side effects after sipping hibiscus tea then don't be afraid, you're not alone! Believe me, when you scroll down to the comments section of this post, I am sure you will be convinced.

An aerial view of steeped hibiscus tea in the Hario Tea Pot Infuser

Hibiscus = Health

Don’t allow these side-effects to scare you entirely away from hibiscus, perhaps a personalized dose can still allow you to reap the health benefits of this beautiful plant.

Certain chemicals in the plant have been shown to attack cancer cells that affect the skin and brain. Hibiscus tea is taken as a medicine in some lands as it lowers blood pressure, on the other hand, people with hypotension (low blood pressure) should sip the tea as recommended for this reason.

Feeling anxious? Drink a little hibiscus tea for a calming effect. Hibiscus has also been known to help in anti-aging, weight management and digestion, and yet, there are so many other health benefits to this bright and beautiful tea. Consult your health care practitioner to see if indulging in a little hibiscus is right for you.

Hibiscus Blends You Should Try...

Since I am sensitive to the effects of hibiscus, I try to avoid loose-leaf potent blends (unless I want to be drunk off my rocker, lol). Instead, I indulge in less potent blends that may be predominately made up of other teas or herbs. I enjoy sipping the various blends in the Herbal Fruit Tea Sampler by Buddha's Herbs. In these teas, hibiscus is perfectly balanced with other fruits and herbs. I never have any side effects after sipping these blends.

Herbal Fruit Tea Sampler by Buddha's Herbs

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Does Hibiscus Tea Make You Drunk?

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