Hibiscus tea is known for its many health benefits and beautiful red color. It is consumed all over the world and has been traditionally used for treating high blood pressure. You can use hibiscus flower petals and calyxes to make hot or cold tea or mix it with other herbs. This article discusses the health benefits that hibiscus can provide.
High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure (hypertension) is a common condition that can lead to heart disease over time. One of the most well-known and maybe the most important health benefit of hibiscus is, that it helps with lowering high blood pressure.
A study from 1999 had 31 patients with moderate essential hypertension consume hibiscus tea for 12 days. The study found that during this period both systolic and diastolic blood pressure was significantly lowered. In addition, three days after the treatment was stopped, the blood pressure values had increased almost back to the level they were before.
A 2010 study published in Phytomedicine compared the results of several trials that had examined the effectiveness and safety of hibiscus tea as a treatment for adults with high blood pressure. Four short term trials with a total of 390 patients were analyzed. The study found that hibiscus was effective in reducing blood pressure.
Another study where 64 participants were given either hibiscus tea or placebo, had the subjects consume it for a 6 week period. The participants were mildly hypertensive adults between 30 to 70 years old. Again, a significant decrease in blood pressure was observed at the end of the test period. Finally, a meta-analysis of 5 studies published in 2015 also found that hibiscus tea lowered both systolic and diastolic blood pressure significantly.
The results of hibiscus tea research indicate that it lowers blood pressure. More studies are needed to confirm if it is effective as a primary treatment for hypertension. However, it is clear that consuming hibiscus tea daily is an effective dietary component for lowering blood pressure.
Full of Antioxidants
Antioxidants are an effective way to reduce free radicals and oxidative stress which attach our cells and cause aging and neurodegenerative conditions such as Parkinson’s disease. The good news is, that hibiscus tea is loaded with antioxidants! When the antioxidant content of hibiscus tea was compared to 280 other beverages it ranked number one.
A study from 2011 tested the antioxidant and drug detoxification potential of hibiscus tea on rats. According to the study, hibiscus has a significant effect in reducing the harmful effects of free radicals, as it reduced the amount of free radicals up to 92%.
Weight Loss and Cholesterol
Drinking hibiscus tea daily can be an effective aid in losing weight and burning fat by affecting our metabolism. In a placebo-controlled Taiwanese study, 36 obese participants took hibiscus extract for 12 weeks. The hibiscus extract helped the subjects with losing weight, body fat, and lowering the waist-to-hip ratio.
Hibiscus inhibits the production of amylase, an enzyme that catalyzes the hydrolysis of starch into sugars. Thus, it lowers the absorption of starch and glucose which are often components leading to weight gain.
Several studies indicate that hibiscus tea can help with lowering bad cholesterol (LDL) and increasing good cholesterol (HDL). A review of several medical trials from 2014 concludes that in the majority of the trials hibiscus tea helped with promoting better blood cholesterol levels.
However, there are also other studies that did not find significant benefits for cholesterol levels. More research is needed to confirm hibiscus’ positive effects on blood cholesterol.
Cancer and Bacteria
Cancer has become more and more common over the years and is globally the second leading cause of death responsible for an estimated 9.6 million deaths in 2018. In wealthy countries, it is the leading cause of death. Hibiscus contains a high concentration of polyphenols that have potential in cancer prevention.
In test-tube studies, hibiscus has demonstrated an ability to impair the growth of cancer cells. However, human studies need to be conducted to find out how useful hibiscus in cancer prevention.
Hibiscus tea is also known for its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. In addition, it contains vitamin C and can help with preventing flu and the common cold. Test tube studies have shown that hibiscus can inhibit Escherichia coli bacteria which is a common cause for diarrhea and stomach cramping.
Possible Side Effects and Risks
As discussed, drinking hibiscus tea daily has many health benefits, but does it cause any side effects, or are there some other risks? In general, drinking hibiscus tea it has been found to be safe. However, if you take high doses of hibiscus extract there could be some risks such as liver damage.
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, it’s better to avoid drinking hibiscus tea, or at least to consult your doctor before doing so. Hibiscus tea could also interact with certain medications such as chloroquine (malaria medication) and decrease its effectiveness.
Hibiscus Tea Has Many Health Benefits
Hibiscus tea has been traditionally used as a herbal remedy and many of its health benefits have been now proven by research. In addition to the above-mentioned benefits, it can also help with protecting liver from diseases, relieving menstrual pain, and improving digestion.
I recommend that you also read this article and check out my hibiscus tea recipes.
Here is great video that sums up the benefits of hibiscus tea:
Hibiscus tea is popular in many cultures across the globe and there are many ways to make and enjoy it. Iced hibiscus tea, called aqua de Jamaica, is a popular drink in Mexico and Central America. It’s also consumed in North Africa, parts of West and Central Africa, and is even known as the national drink of Senegal.
Ready to prepare a cup of delicious red hibiscus tea? Read this article to find the best hibiscus tea products!
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