Everyone is looking for that refreshing drink in the heat of the summer to cool off with, whether its a tall glass of water, some iced tea, or some sort of lemonade. Driving through Starbucks, I saw that they have a line of drinks called “Refreshers”. Many of these gourmet drinks are loaded with sugar, artificial ingredients and dyes, all of which take their toll our health over time. Why not choose a refreshing beverage with all natural ingredients for both sweetening and color, that also provides numerous health benefits? Indian Lemonade is that, and much more! Lets explore the ingredients:

 

• Hibiscus Flowers

• Sumac

• Lemongrass

• Ginger root

• Lemon peel

• Stevia

 

Hibiscus Flowers   

     Hibiscus is used for its sweet and sour flavor, and for its red color. Hibiscus is full of antioxidants that can help prevent cancer, aging, and certain eye diseases. Hibiscus has vitamin A,  vitamin C, Vitamin B1, B2, and B9. It also contains Calcium, Iron, Potassium, Phosphorus, Sodium, Zinc, and Copper. Vitamin C supports cardiovascular health, collagen production, helps in the development and maintenance of blood vessels, cartilage, and scar tissue. Vitamin B1 helps the body get energy from food and helps with the nervous system. Vitamin B2 helps to maintain normal red blood cells and other functions such as the metabolism of iron in the body. Vitamin B9 helps with healthy skin and eyes and many other tissues. Iron aids in the absorption of all that wonderful vitamin C and with the production of hemoglobin in the blood cells. Phosphorus works with calcium to build strong bones and teeth. Sodium helps with electrolyte and PH balance in our body, making Hibiscus tea a natural “Gatorade” drink of choice! Zinc boosts the immune system and aids in the production of enzymes. Copper is required to manufacture collagen, making it excellent for joints and skin! Hibiscus may lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure, but do not use hibiscus if you take blood pressure medication to prevent interactions. May aid in weight loss by limiting hunger and regulating the metabolism.    

 

Sumac

     Sumac is a tree that is also known as the lemonade tree, that was used by the North American Indians, and where we get the name “Indian Lemonade.” Maybe you are thinking “I thought sumac was poisonous, is it really safe?” Here is the rule of thumb to go by, if it is red, it is edible and if it is white, it is poisonous. Sumac is high in vitamin C and antioxidants, making it great for reducing risk of heart disease, signs of aging, and cancer.  It is considered a super-food for diabetics, improving their health over time. Sumac has several medicinal properties. Sumac is a diuretic, promotes menstrual flow, reduces fever, lowers body heat, and acts as an overall body tonic, which strengthens and invigorates the entire organism. 

 

Lemongrass

    Lemongrass contains Vitamin A, Vitamin C, sodium, magnesium, calcium, iron, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, zinc,vitamin B6, Riboflavin, and niacin.  Magnesium stabilizes blood pressure, keeps heart rhythms steady, and helps maintain strong bones. Manganese helps with calcium absorption, and this mineral works on the cellular level to help form tissue, bone, and blood as well as sex hormones. Selenium is a mineral that supports heart health, immune system, skin and eye health. Vitamin B6 aids in protecting brain heath and nerve cell health. Niacin helps to turn food into glucose that the body can use for energy. Lemongrass is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory. It will also relive joint pain, relax muscles, relive menstrual pain, and treat headaches. It is diuretic, and antioxidant. It helps increase the production of milk in nursing mothers, activates the release of serotonin in the brain, lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, and induces sweating to help break fevers. The citral in lemongrass has been shown to improve insulin resistance.

 

Ginger

     Ginger is a strong antioxidant that protects the liver and stomach. But watch out! A little goes a long way. When taken in large amounts, it can cause stomach upset. Ginger root is known to fight inflammation, cleanse the colon, stimulate circulation, and reduce spasms and cramps. Ginger root has amino acids, calcium, essential fatty acids, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, zinc, vitamins B1, B2, B3, and C. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, including carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen. Essential fatty acids that humans need are omega-3 and omega-6, and both are found in ginger root! Ginger also acts as an immune response enhancer, relieves gas and bloating, and promotes the production of saliva. To soothe a sore throat, just chew on the root raw. Studies have shown that it has protective effects on the brain. This is why it is so effective for migraines as well. Ginger promotes healthy blood pressure and may help osteoarthritis and muscle aches, maybe as effective as NSAID’S!

 

Lemon Peel
     Lemon Peel is added for that “lemony” flavor and add a touch of the wonderful benefits. Lemon peel has high amounts of citric acid, potassium, calcium, poly-phenol flavinoids, fiber, vitamin C, and pectin. Citric acid is a naturally occurring acid in all citrus fruits that is antibacterial. Poly-phenol flavinoids are antioxidants that contain anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic, and other biological properties to fight free radicals, and therefore, cancer. Pectin is found in apples, berries and other fruits, and is a gel like substance similar to gelatin, but plant based. It promotes healthy digestion. The nutrients found in lemon peels are known to fight cancer, boost your immune system, increase metabolism and burn fat, improve oral and skin health, lower cholesterol, and strengthen bones. It also helps to improve the alkalinity of the blood and prevent fluid retention. Digestion and liver function are improved by drinking just two cups of lemon peel tea a day, taken on an empty stomach.

 

Stevia
     
Stevia is the sweetening ingredient in our Indian Lemonade! We do not want it too sweet, so just enough to off-set the tartness of the hibiscus, lemon peel, and sumac. Stevia is not just a sugar substitute, it is medicine as well! If taken in a natural form, stevia can alleviate blood pressure, benefit weight loss, help prevent cancer, aid in managing diabetes, is useful in treating eczema and dermatitis, boosts bone health, reduces risk of osteoporosis, and helps prevent cavities and gingivitis.  Nutritionally, stevia has calcium, potassium, beta-carotene, magnesium, iron, fiber, vitamin e, and vitamin c. It is 40 times sweeter than sugar. What a wonderful herb to add to your regimen! One that is a food and a medicine all in one.

 

As you can see, many of the ingredients in Indian Lemonade lower blood pressure, aide in digestion, improve blood sugar, maintain healthy metabolism, and cools body temperature. On a hot summer day, Indian Lemonade is the perfect natural “refresher”!  Stop by Herbs4You and pick some up to cool off on a hot summer day, or shop Indian Lemonade on our website!

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Ruth Hidalgo- Production Manager