Hibiscus flowers are widely known for their tropical beauty. These large red, orange, pink, or yellow flowers can be worn in the hair or in bright leis around the neck. But many people may not realize that hibiscus also makes a wonderful tea. For example, hibiscus tea (or sour tea) is very popular in Mexico because it is medicinal, delicious, and easy to make.
Hibiscus tea has gained attention in the scientific community too. This is because hibiscus is rich in antioxidants, which protect against cell damage and heart disease, in turn. Considering the high prevalence of cardiovascular disease, hibiscus tea could be beneficial to many people who are interested in natural remedies for heart problems. In this article, I discuss studies, which have shown that hibiscus tea reduces high blood pressure and may lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. I also provide a recipe for making hibiscus tea.
A study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology was carried out to determine whether hibiscus tea reduces blood pressure among patients at risk for heart disease. Researchers tracked the blood pressure of patients who drank hibiscus tea vs. patients who drank ordinary tea for 12 days. Results showed that patients who consumed hibiscus tea had significantly lower blood pressure than those who drank the ordinary tea. The investigators concluded that hibiscus tea is an effective natural remedy for reducing high blood pressure and for preventing future heart conditions.
Similarly, an investigation from the journal of Circulation demonstrated that daily consumption of 3 cups of hibiscus tea reduced the blood pressure of pre-hypertensive and mildly hypertensive adults. Therefore, incorporating hibiscus tea into a daily routine may protect against the development of hypertension.
Yet another article from the Journal of Human Hypertension reported that drinking hibiscus tea two times a day for a month lowered the blood pressure of patients with mild hypertension and type II diabetes. As such, consuming hibiscus tea is a natural medicinal approach to regulating blood pressure, particularly for people who are managing serious physical health problems.
Taken together, this body of research suggests that incorporating hibiscus tea into a regular dietary routine can reduce high blood pressure and may reduce the risk of heart disease.
Safety and doses
Hibiscus is generally considered safe when consumed as a tea. However, we need more research to determine the exact amounts that are safe for pregnant women, children, and people with liver or kidney disease. Additionally, an article from the journal of Phytomedicine pointed out that more research is needed to understand the long-term effects of hibiscus tea on heart health.
How to make hibiscus tea
There are several recipes for making your own hibiscus tea. Here is one that I like. Hibiscus tea is naturally sour, so you can play around with healthy ways to sweeten it, such as adding raw honey or organic coconut sugar.
Faraji, M. H., & Tarkhani, A. H. (1999). The effect of sour tea (Hibiscus sabdariffa) on essential hypertension. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 65(3), 231-236.
McKay, D. L., Chen, C. O., Saltzman, E., & Blumberg, J. B. (2010). Hibiscus sabdariffa L. tea (tisane) lowers blood pressure in prehypertensive and mildly hypertensive adults. The Journal of nutrition, 140(2), 298-303.
Mozaffari-Khosravi, H., Jalali-Khanabadi, B. A., Afkhami-Ardekani, M., Fatehi, F., & Noori-Shadkam, M. (2009). The effects of sour tea (Hibiscus sabdariffa) on hypertension in patients with type II diabetes. Journal of human hypertension, 23(1), 48-54.
Hibiscus tea recipe: simplyrecipes.com/recipes/agua_de_jamaica_hibiscus_tea/
About the author:
Dr. B is a health psychologist who writes for the health and medical website pdrmed.com. She is an expert in the effects of stress and nutrition on mental and physical health. Follow: @pdrmed and Contact: [email protected]