Lower Blood Pressure And Cholesterol Naturally With Hibiscus Tea
If you haven’t tried hibiscus tea you are not only missing out on the robust flavor of the rich fragrant blossoms, you are passing up on the many amazing health benefits this tea has to offer. One of the top benefits is lowering high blood pressure, which we will discuss later in this article.
I first learned about hibiscus tea about 7 years ago when I was doing tea rinses on my hair. I would steep a powdered form of the leaves and rinse it through the hair. The result was strong, super soft locks. I eventually got out of the practice but discovered the tea again when I was looking for something to add to my list of medicinal teas. When I ran across the herb hibiscus I found that it boasted an impressive host of health benefits, including lowering cholesterol and high blood pressure. The tea can be enjoyed hot or cold and has a slightly tart taste comparable to cranberry juice.
First let’s look at what hibiscus is.
Scientific name: Hibiscus sabdariffa
Common names: Hibiscus also is known as karkade, red tea, red sorrel, Jamaica sorrel, rosella, soborodo (Zobo drink), Karkadi, roselle, and sour tea.
Hibiscus is native to tropical Africa, but is grown and harvested throughout many tropical areas across the globe. This annual herb produces beautiful red flowers. The flowers (calyx and bract portions) are harvested when slightly immature. The major producing countries are Jamaica and Mexico. Once the leaves are collected they are cleaned, dried and steeped in hot water to produce a crimson red tea with medicinal benefits.
Now let’s look at the benefits
1. Prevents And Treats High Blood Pressure
Hibiscus tea is known to reduce the risk of hypertension. It works because of it’s anti-inflammatory and diuretic properties. A scientific study done on 75 individuals diagnosed hypertension (and not taking any blood pressure-lowering medication at the time), one large hibiscus tea before breakfast each day for 4 weeks was associated with an 11% and 12.5% reduction in systolic and diastolic blood pressure. According to the study the results were comparable to another group who took 50mg of a leading high blood pressure medication at the same time. Source
In order for the tea to work to reduce blood pressure it is suggested to drink at least 2 cups a day. I have suggested this remedy to family members with high blood pressure who have seen a reduction in both systolic and diagnostic numbers.
2. Lowers Cholesterol
It helps to lower the levels of (bad) LDL cholesterol from the body, which helps to protect against heart diseases and protecting blood vessels from damage. The hypolipidemic and hypoglycemic properties of hibiscus tea can be beneficial for those who suffer from blood sugar disorders like diabetes. A research study conducted on patients with type II diabetes suggests that consumption of hibiscus tea lowers cholesterol, triglycerides, and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. Source
3. Protects Liver
Research studies have also suggested that the antioxidant properties of hibiscus tea also help in treating liver diseases. Antioxidants help protect your body from diseases because they neutralize the free radicals present in body tissues and cells. Source
4. Anti Cancer
Hibiscus tea contains hibiscus protocatechuic acid which has anti-tumor and antioxidant properties. A study conducted by the Department and Institute of Biochemistry at the Chung Shan Medical and Dental College, in Taichung, Taiwan suggests that hibiscus slows down the growth of cancerous cells by inducing apoptosis, commonly known as programmed cell death.
5. Anti-inflammatory & Antibacterial Agent
It is rich in ascorbic acid, also known as vitamin C. It is an essential nutrient required by your body to boost and stimulate the activity of the immune system. Hibiscus tea is also known for its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Therefore, it protects you from catching a cold and flu. It is also used to treat discomfort caused by fever, due to its cooling effect.
6. Helps With PMS
The health benefits of hibiscus tea include relief from cramps and menstrual pain. It helps in restoring hormonal balance as well, which can reduce the symptoms of menstruation like mood swings, depression, and cravings.
7. Acts as Antidepressant Agent
Hibiscus tea contains vitamins and minerals like flavonoids which have antidepressant properties.SourceConsumption of hibiscus tea can help calm down the nervous system, and it may reduce anxiety and depression by creating a relaxed sensation in the mind and body. For this reason it suggested that hibiscus not be taken before driving or operating machinery.
8. Improves Digestion
Many people drink hibiscus tea to improve digestion as it regularizes both urination and bowel movements. Since it has diuretic properties, it is also used to treat constipation, which helps you lose weight, improve the health of your gastrointestinal system, and avoid colorectal cancer.
9. Weight Loss
Hibiscus tea is beneficial for weight loss. You are likely to gain weight if you consume food that is rich in carbohydrates. However, studies have suggested that hibiscus extract lowers the absorption of starch and glucose and may help in weight loss. Hibiscus inhibits the production of amylase, which helps in the absorption of carbohydrates and starch, so drinking hibiscus tea prevents the absorption from occurring. Therefore, hibiscus tea is found in many weight loss products. Source
This one I can personally attest to. Drink the tea after meals not only helped with the absorption of less fat, it curbed sugar cravings. This is a great tea for those who stop eating at a certain time of the day. It will curb your appetite.
Other benefits include
BOOSTS IMMUNE SYSTEM
Side Effects And Precautions
Note: It is important to consult your doctor and research any herbal remedy before taking it.
Laxative Effects – Hibiscus tea has laxative effects if taken in large quantities. Start with one cup a day until you know how this herb will effect your body.
Complications With Some Medications – Hibiscus tea may cause complications when taken along with some prescription medications including cancer medications. The National Cancer Institute states that if you are undergoing radiation or chemotherapy that you should avoid hibiscus tea. The tea may be resumed AFTER radiation or chemo is finished.
Hibiscus tea can interact with some medications. Besides interacting with the cancer drugs mentioned above, it decreases the effects of anti-malaria drugs, and it increases the effects of anti-viral medications. Hibiscus tea changes processing of some of the anti-inflammatory drugs are by your body. It is suggested that you wait at least 2 hours when taking anti-inflammatory medications to consume hibiscus tea. This includes over the counter drugs like Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen.
Liver Toxicity- Hibiscus tea may promote liver health and help reduce fatty liver in overweight patients, but extreme amounts can be toxic to the liver in extremely high doses.
Low Blood Pressure – Hibiscus tea lowers blood pressure. If you are already known to have lower blood pressure, this could be a side effect that you would want to be aware of and a reason to reduce intake of the tea. If you are taking medications to lower your blood pressure, make sure to speak with your doctor and consume the tea in moderation.
Pregnancy Precaution – Hibiscus tea can cause fluctuations in hormone levels which isn’t safe– especially in the first trimester. Hibiscus Tea can also have “emmenagogue effects” which stimulate menstruation or blood flow to the uterus. This could cause bleeding, cramping, or even early labor.
Estrogen – Hibiscus tea may slightly lower estrogen levels in the body. This means that it may interact with birth control medication and cause the levels to drop more than desired. If you are on birth control, you should speak with your doctor and always consume in moderation.
Hallucinogenic Effect – I have never experienced this personally or anyone I’ve known who drinks the tea but it’s worth mentioning. In some people the tea produces a hallucinogenic effect or can cause a sensation similar to intoxication. If you have never consumed hibiscus tea before, do not try it for the first time in situations where you may need to drive or operate machinery.
Please do not the the potential side effects cause you to miss out on the benefits of the tea. Like most supplements, it is important to purchase hibiscus extract, leaves, or powder from a trusted source. Be aware that some cheaper varieties of the dried petals in local markets may contain dirt, sticks, feathers, etc. I’ve had pretty good results purchasing from the Mexican grocery store in my area.
- 4 cups pure filtered water
- 1/4 cup dried organic hibiscus flowers
- 1 to 2 tablespoons raw honey
- Lime wedges (optional)
- Fresh mint leaves (optional)
- Boil half of the filtered water in a small saucepan.
- Add the dried hibiscus flowers and then turn off the heat. Next, steep the liquid until it appears dark red.
- Add the remaining two cups of filtered water to the hot tea, and add the raw honey to achieve sweetness when the tea is still warm. You can drink the hibiscus tea hot as it stands. Hot hibiscus tea is also sometimes called Jamaica tea.
- As an option, pour the hibiscus tea into a pitcher for serving. Pour the tea into iced-filled glasses. If you like, you can also garnish with mint and lime.
Here is the link for a good organic option.
If you choose not to make the tea yourself try out this delicious blend from Ellis Island Tea