Hibiscus Tea May Lower Your Blood Pressure...Among Many Other Things5 years ago | Nutrition
By Joy Stephenson-Laws, JD, Founder
Popular sparkling water brand LaCroix recently debuted a new flavor: hibiscus. And according to one report, some people were pretty disappointed and hoping for a flavor more on the lines of watermelon or strawberry lemonade.
I love the hibiscus flavor but prefer it in a more natural form such as in a tea.
Hibiscus tea, also called “agua (water) de jamaica,” is made from an infusion of hibiscus flowers. In Mexico and Central America, “flor (flower) de jamaica” refers to the species of hibiscus used to make a beautiful, ruby-colored beverage that has a cranberry-like flavor with tones of citrus.
There are actually more than 250 species of hibiscus! And hibiscus flowers come in a variety of colors, including white, red, yellow, pink, orange and even multi-color. They make absolutely gorgeous ornamental flowers. But there are certain species of hibiscus that may be beneficial to your health when you consume them. (Consumption is usually done in tea form - hot or cold).
Hibiscus tea is most commonly made from the species Hibiscus sabdariffa, also called “Roselle” or “Red Sorrel” and believed to be native to West Africa.
“Roselle, having various medically important compounds called photochemical, is well known for its nutritional and medicinal properties. Many parts of Roselle including seeds, leaves, fruits and roots are used in various foods as well as in herbal medicine as a potential non-pharmacological treatment,” according to one source.
Rosselle is also rich in organic acids, minerals, amino acids, carotene and vitamin C. This flower also contains anthocyanins, powerful antioxidants that give this flower its beautiful, red color.
(Blood oranges also have a high content of anthocyanins. You might want to have some hibiscus and blood orange iced tea for a refreshing summer drink and serious punch of antioxidants).
“Different extracts from Roselle plays a crucial role in treating different medical problems including many cardiovascular disorders, helminthic disease [parasitic worms] and cancer...and used in obesity management.”
Hibiscus may also help with blood pressure health, and this is a huge deal considering an estimated 103 million Americans have hypertension (high blood pressure). Having hypertension increases your risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
ResearchGate reports that recents studies have shown that hibiscus tea can lower blood pressure just as effectively as some standard hypertension drugs.
One study involved 65 people with high blood pressure who were given either tea from Hibiscus sabdariffa (Roselle) or a placebo tea. Just after a few weeks of treatment, the participants who drank the hibiscus tea had improved blood pressure levels.
“The potential mechanisms of action for the BP-lowering effect of H. sabdariffa were not determined in our study but have been explored by others. In vitro and animal studies show that H. sabdariffa is a vasorelaxant [meaning it reduces tension of the blood vessel walls], perhaps via action on calcium channels, an ACE inhibitor, and a diuretic,” according to the study report.
Hibiscus is said to be a natural diuretic, because it contains ascorbic and glycolic acids which increase urination.
“Other potential mechanisms of action related to the effects of the anthocyanins present in H. sabdariffa are also possible.”
(It is very important that you consult a competent healthcare professional before you attempt to lower your blood pressure with hibiscus tea, especially if you are currently taking drugs to treat your hypertension).
Another study found evidence which suggested that drinking hibiscus tea may “reduce the dangerous build up of fats inside the arteries” and lower bad cholesterol in the body, according to this report discussing the study.
So it appears that hibiscus tea may be a great weapon in the fight against cardiovascular disease.
I love regularly drinking hibiscus tea. I’m not a coffee drinker, because I don’t metabolize caffeine well. And hibiscus tea is caffeine-free. So it’s the perfect hot beverage for perking me up in the morning or soothing me at night before bed.
Now that I know more about the potential benefits of this tea, I will be sure to drink more of it and encourage my husband to do so as well. You can purchase hibiscus tea at the store or make your own.
Precautions with hibiscus tea?
Pregnant women should not drink hibiscus tea. For pregnant women, drinking hibiscus tea could cause the uterus to contract which could lead to a miscarriage. Women who are breastfeeding should also consult their doctors before drinking hibiscus tea. And if you are taking any medications or have any existing health issues, it is best to speak with your doctor before you incorporate hibiscus tea into your diet.
Do you like hibiscus tea? If not, what are some of your favorite teas? Please join the conversation.
Enjoy your healthy life!
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