07/30/2015 05:17 EDT | Updated 07/30/2015 05:59 EDT

Health Benefits Of Hibiscus Could Include Help For Hypertension, Cholesterol

If you’ve visited a Caribbean resort, you’ve probably seen bright red or yellow hibiscus flowers on the grounds. These large flowers are beautiful, but they’re not just nice to look at: they may also have health benefits, particularly when consumed as an extract or tea.

Hibiscus is native to tropical Africa but grown today in tropical areas around the world — the major producing countries are currently Jamaica and Mexico. It is likely most recognizable by its beautiful flowers, which come in a variety of colours including white, yellow, red, purple, and orange. But you may also know it from brightly coloured teas, thanks to the bright pink colouring it provides. Starbucks’ herbal iced tea contains hibiscus, for example.

Here are 12 things you should know about this showy flower, including how you can eat it and why it might be good for your health.

Health Benefits Of Hibiscus