11 Healing Benefits of Hibiscus Tea
Hibiscus is part of the mallow family (Malvaceae) and typically grows in warm-temperate, subtropical and tropical regions around the globe. (1) It is a shrub valued for its ability to treat various ailments. Parts of the hibiscus flowers are used for the preparation of Karkade, a famous drink in Egypt. Different parts of the plant are also being used to prepare jams, spices, soups or sauces. The flowers are much valued for their medicinal properties, which is why they are extensively used to prepare medicine. Hibiscus has proved effective in treating loss of appetite, the common cold, stomach irritation, fluid retention, upper respiratory tract inflammation, cardiovascular and nerve diseases, circulatory disorders, as well as aiding in dissolving phlegm. Additionally, hibiscus helps the body get rid of toxins, having mild laxative and diuretic effects.
The fruit acids in hibiscus help digestion having a light laxative action. A few researchers believe that other hibiscus compounds even have the capacity to lower blood pressure, reduce spasms in the stomach, gut and uterus, and annihilate bacteria and worms acting as natural antibiotics.
11 Health Benefits of Hibiscus Tea
1. Hibiscus Tea May Help Stabilize Blood Pressure
According to an American Heart Association report published in 2008, regular consumption of hibiscus tea makes high blood pressure drop, thereby improving outcomes in hypertensive adult patients. (2) The report also suggests that a third of the adult population in the United States is hypertensive, making it a growing concern among the population’s medical experts.
Odigie IP reveals in a study that hibiscus tea works wonders against hypertension and has cardio-protective effects preventing cardiovascular diseases. (3) Acting as an anti-inflammatory agent, hibiscus tea was found to help high blood pressure drop by as many as 10 points, as shown in a study conducted by Tufts University. The recommended intake to achieve this result is three cups daily over the course of a few weeks. Because of its diuretic attributes, hibiscus tea also increases urination while simultaneously reducing blood pressure.
2. Hibiscus Tea Reduces Cholesterol Levels
Because of its antioxidative properties, hibiscus tea can reduce the level of ‘bad’ cholesterol (LDL) in the blood, thereby preventing heart disease and thickening of blood vessels due to fat deposits. The hypoglycemic and hypolipidemic qualities of hibiscus tea can help stabilize blood sugar levels, thereby improving outcomes in diabetic patients. A study conducted on those suffering from type II diabetes found that hibiscus sour tea reduced cholesterol levels, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triglycerides, which helped both clinicians and patients better manage symptoms. (4)
3. Hibiscus Tea May Help Protect the Liver from Free Radicals
Much of the liver-protective action of hibiscus tea is dependent on its antioxidative properties. The antioxidant compounds in hibiscus tea scavenge free radicals, thereby protecting the body against their damaging action. Free radicals embed into the body tissues and cells where they thrive injuring the host. Regular consumption of hibiscus tea can significantly improve and maintain overall health in many organ systems by curbing the action of free radicals.
4. Hibiscus Tea May Have Anti-Cancer Properties
A notable compound in hibiscus tea is hibiscus protocatechuic acid, which is valued for its antioxidative and anti-tumor abilities. According to a study conducted at the Chung Shan Medical and Dental College of Taichung, Taiwan, hibiscus reduces the development of cancerous cells by inducing the so-called programmed cell death or apoptosis, as it is called in the literature. (5)
5. Hibiscus Has Antibacterial and Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Due to its ascorbic acid (vitamin C) high content, hibiscus stimulates the immune system function. Hibiscus tea is also valued for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory abilities. It works effectively against the common cold and flu, in addition to fever symptoms as it has a cooling effect on the body.
6. Hibiscus Tea May Provide Relief from Pre-Menstrual Symptoms
Among the many health benefits that hibiscus has, its ability to offer relief from menstrual pain is one of them. Furthermore, hibiscus tea also helps restore the hormonal balance, which in turn, reduces other menstruation-associated symptoms, such as mood swings, depression or overeating.
Pregnant women are advised to steer clear of hibiscus tea as it may stimulate uterine contractions and blood flow. (6) It may be suited for irregular or missed periods, but it is best to consult your doctor before stimulating late or irregular menstruation.
7. Hibiscus Tea is a Natural Antidepressant
The flavonoids in hibiscus tea are known to have antidepressant attributes. Intake of hibiscus tea can help reduce anxiety and depression symptoms, creating an overall feeling of relaxation in both the body and mind. (7)
8. Hibiscus Tea Promotes Healthy Digestion
Hibiscus tea is widely used for its laxative and diuretic properties. By increasing both urination and bowel movements, it is a remedy for constipation while supporting weight loss, promoting a healthy gastrointestinal tract, and preventing colorectal cancer.
9. Hibiscus Tea Promotes Hydration
Not only does hibiscus tea have multiple medicinal properties, but it also satiates thirst. When iced, hibiscus tea has the ability to cool down the body really fast. Additionally, due to its diuretic attributes, it flushes the body clean of toxins and fluids in excess.
10. Hibiscus Tea Aids in Weight Loss
Studies indicate that hibiscus extract supports weight loss by reducing the absorption of starch and glucose (carbohydrate). Hibiscus prevents the production of amylase, which actually supports the absorption of carbohydrates and starch. (8) By doing that, hibiscus interferes with carbohydrate and starch absorption. That is why hibiscus tea is top of the list in many weight loss products/treatments.
11. Hibiscus Tea is Appropriate for Both Hot and Cold Seasons
Hibiscus tea can be served either warm or iced, depending on the season. It takes around 20 minutes to prepare and its tastes much like cranberry juice. To make it sweeter, you can add sugar or honey. For flavor, you may wish to add cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg or cloves. (9)
Consumed in small amounts, hibiscus is likely safe for most people. Taken in medicinal amounts to treat a specific condition, it is possibly safe. However, the potential side effects of hibiscus have not been confirmed by compelling scientific evidence.
It is advisable to avoid hibiscus during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. There is some scientific evidence, which indicates that hibiscus may potentially induce menstruation and eventually lead to miscarriage. There is no conclusive evidence regarding the side effects of hibiscus and breastfeeding, however, it is best to discontinue or avoid consuming it until after the baby has stopped breastfeeding altogether.
If you are diabetic and wish to include hibiscus tea in your dietary plan, bear in mind that hibiscus has the potential to decrease blood sugar levels. Consult your physician regarding the recommended intake in your particular case.
Due to its ability to lower blood pressure, people who already have low blood pressure should avoid consuming hibiscus tea. Hibiscus may interfere with acetaminophen (Tylenol and other drugs containing acetaminophen). Further research is needed though to confirm the capacity of hibiscus to accelerate the process through which the body eliminates acetaminophen.
Because of its fruit acid high content (nearly 15-30 percent), hibiscus tea gives your immune system a boost, while smoothly flushing your body clean of toxins, controlling inflammation, lowering blood pressure and sugar levels, and promoting healthy skin. Therefore, if you do not suffer from any allergies, are not on any acetaminophen medication, are not pregnant or breastfeeding, regular consumption of hibiscus tea whether winter or summer is very likely to improve your health.