Hibiscus tea has long been appreciated around the world for its wonderfully light, floral flavor and many cultures have some form of this tea in their repertory. However, it is not just a delicious drink anymore – research is suggesting that regular use of this tea might also greatly improve heart health through keeping both blood pressure and cholesterol levels in a healthy range.
More on Hibiscus
The hibiscus plant, though discovered in Angola, has a wide range around the globe and is enjoyed by people throughout Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and parts of Asia. While some people, like natives of India, will eat the plant, more often than not hibiscus is served in the form of tea. And science is now discovering that the popularity of this tea is incredibly good for the heart.
The Use of Hibiscus for High Blood Pressure
Hibiscus is a plant with natural anti-oxidant properties and is rich in compounds like quercetin and anthocyanin, both of which have a very strong positive impact on the cardiovascular system. These compounds are able to open (dilate) the arteries and also slow the release of hormones that lead to arterial constriction. This is what makes it so effective for treating hypertension. In one study from 2007, participants who took 250mg of hibiscus extract daily were able to bring their blood pressures into a normal, healthy range.
Other studies seem to confirm this. In one, whose results were later published in the Journal of Nutrition, 65 patients from ages 30 to 70 with mild to moderate high blood pressure were given either hibiscus extract or a placebo; at the end of the study, the group treated with hibiscus showed significant reduction, particularly in their systolic blood pressure.
Elevated Cholesterol Levels
Tests have also shown that regular consumption of hibiscus can also help with elevated cholesterol levels. In one study from 2007, forty-two participants were given hibiscus extracts for several weeks, at the end of which a normalization of cholesterol levels was noted, particularly in individuals who had received a dose of 1000mg or higher.
Another interesting and related study pitted the healing effects of hibiscus tea versus those of black tea. Participants drank either tea daily and it was found, at the end of the eight weeks, that those who had drunk hibiscus tea had healthier LDL, HDL and overall cholesterol numbers; those who had drunk black tea only showed an improvement in HDL levels.
In conclusion, then, if you have problems with either elevated cholesterol levels or blood pressure (or both), you might want to consider adding a daily dose of hibiscus tea (or a hibiscus extract supplement) to your daily regimen. Not only is it delicious, it is an extremely pleasant way to help nurture and support your cardiovascular health and reduce your risk of heart disease.
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