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Hello Hibiscus; Hello Farm

Hello Tea Tribe! It’s another Sunday and this one is especially exciting because we are closer to our dreams of becoming a full blown tea company. We’re gonna start out with Halima giving you guys some very exciting news and wrap up with discussing one of our favorite herbs.

H: So back story, I am from Nigeria ( pretty sure I’ve mentioned that before) and I was raised by the daughter of a politician. My grandfather was a very successful farmer and we come from a village where the kingship is rotated between four families. Growing up we went to the village to visit a lot and I watched my grandfather go to the farm and also manage a forestry that belongs to our family. He was also a herbalist and I would watch people troop in and out of his house almost everyday for both health and political reasons.My grandpa died as a result of internal injuries from an accident, but because he died a few weeks after the accident after being discharged from the hospital, there are a lot of stories surrounding his death; especially since there was a feud going on as to who would become the new Oba (king).

My mom was his first child and was responsible for taking care of his estate and her 29 siblings (Yerp, not a typo). So, growing up, I watched her as an independent strong woman who knew what she wanted and in spite of living in a male dominated world and also managed to succeed at raising her 4 kids. It’s one of the reasons Dria and I work so well, going back to what to find in a business partner. She’s strong and she knows who she is and has a voice for someone so young. She’s kind, but not a pushover and she stands strong once her mind is made up.

Farming is very distracting. You can get carried away by drifting into multiple businesses to try to diversify your products and to make more use of your resources, but we have seen from watching other farmers, that the most successful ones are the ones that stay on a path and get better at growing a certain product and getting known for that. Dria steers me back when I’m running off with my imagination.

I have land where I am from, but I don’t live there right now. My desire about 3 years ago when we were still in Nigeria on furlough( that’s a story for another day) was to have a farm. Now farming in a third world country is another matter. I’m from a place where when you eat fruit or a vegetable and spit it out, you come back in a few weeks and that seed you spat out is sprouting. It has its pros and cons. The biggest being access to water, good roads, and electricity since it would have to be in a part of the state where there is limited access to these amenities. The pros usually mean access to labor and cheap infrastructure. There is also the fact that we don’t have a growing season and the soil is incredible. My farming desire didn’t happen because we had to move back to the US. So meeting Dria, my business partner, and Mr. Brown, the farmer we work with, has in a sense taken me back to my roots. I think that I am a child of the earth and I am happiest and most fulfilled when I grow herbs geared towards nourishing the body.

We have been doing all of our growing on the land that we work on and even though it has been an incredible blessing we have been limited by how creative we can get with what we grow for our customers and the quantity. So this week we signed and now own 10 acres where we will be farming our very own herbs to grow our teas. As we go along on this journey we will keep you all posted on how the process is going. First, we are going to register the land as a farm and visit the USDA county office to find out about what the goverment has available for small farmers that want to grow organic.

As we go along, we will also be educating you all on the benefits of the different herbs we put in our blends. I’m from a culture where herbs are very important and we still use that as a way to treat our bodies to prevent illnesses and to keep the machine running. So I’ll talk a lot from a cultural point of view. Another way we will be going about it, is to discuss the herbs from a medicinal point of view and because we have Dria we get to learn so many things that will open our world to how herbs and teas can not just be enjoyed (cause who are we kidding it’s freaking delicious), but also how we can use them to regulate our bodily functions and to treat our bodies organically. She still has one arm in a sling, I’ll let her update y’all on her arm. So I’m yapping today cause ya girl Dria is tired, in pain, and medicated.

Today, we decided we would be talking about Hibiscus. We call hibiscus “Zobo” in the northern part of Nigeria and it is drunk cold and hot. When it’s taken cold, it’s usually mixed with some kind of fruit, like pineapple. It’s also made into tea and it’s soaked in ginger, sugar or honey with the peelings of pineapple and strained. Then you can put mint and lemon or lime in it to serve. It’s supposed to be used by women who are pregnant because it helps fight bacteria almost the way cranberry is used here in the US to clean out the liver/bladder. It is believed to help with period cramps and also very good for the skin.

D: Hey tea tribe! Halima was 100% correct when mentioning that I’m tired, in pain, and medicated; however, I can’t let her do all the work even though I know she would never complain. Having a business partner is like being in a never ending group project. I’m so grateful to have Halima on this journey because she keeps me light and hopeful. I think the best way to describe our relationship is with the image of a balloon. She’s like a helium balloon, filled with great ideas and passion. I’m the string that keeps her from floating away entirely but she keeps me in the air as well. She takes me on these amazing journeys while I try to make sure that she’s grounded just enough.

I didn't go into much detail last week about my condition because I’m sensitive (lol) and don’t like a ton of attention. In my accident, my car was totaled and a joint in my shoulder was torn. It’s been a painful week and a half but I’m moving forward as much as possible. Literally every aspect of my life has been affected because of the accident and it’s a lot for a 20-something year old. While I’m not 100%, I’m as fine as I can possibly be given the circumstances; please don’t call and ask me if I’m okay because I will say yes and cry when you hang up. Anyway, I’m grateful to receive all of the benevolent prayers, incantations, or whatever your belief system does to communicate with whomever you believe is in control.

As Halima mentioned, this week, we wanted to talk a bit about one of our favorite tea additions: hibiscus. While we will be outlining some of the potential benefits, it is important to note that you should not take this as a medical recommendation of substitution for anything that your doctor has prescribed. As someone who has the opportunity to work in a medical setting in the future, I want to stress the importance of doing research and discussing things with your medical professionals before making any drastic changes. With that being said, let’s jump into some benefits of hibiscus!

There have been a few articles that state that hibiscus is just as effective as certain medications in lowering blood pressure. Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is very common in the United States, affecting nearly half of the adult population. It is often referred to as the silent killer because often there are no obvious symptoms of the condition. This is not to say that there are no symptoms at all; many people may think that it is a symptom of something else or that they may be having an off day. As previously stated, drinking hibiscus tea should not replace whatever you have been prescribed. Always talk with your medical provider when including herbal supplements.

The effect of hibiscus on cholesterol levels has varied based on different studies, with some researchers noticing a moderate effect on total cholesterol and others solely on LDL cholesterol. Based on this information, I would not say that it can completely improve your cholesterol numbers; however, if you like hibiscus tea and have no contraindications, then drink it!

Anecdotally, I’ve heard people say that they use hibiscus for weight loss; however, there is no quick fix for weight loss. While many people ask us if our teas can help them lose weight, if you’re drinking nothing but tea, you’re bound to lose weight. I’m all about promoting healthy weight loss so please don’t go on a tea cleanse; you’ll be miserable, hungry, and miserably hungry. Also, we’re not put on this planet just to lose weight and pay bills. Don’t make me get on my body positivity soap box, I’m begging you.

The takeaway from this week’s blog is to realize that the Earth can provide you with what you need. There are many beliefs and facts surrounding the benefits of hibiscus in your diet; make wise decisions (and talk to professionals). Continue to research and find out what works for you. Let us know how your culture uses hibiscus!

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