Hibiscus Tea Benefits
1. Lowers Blood Pressure
There are a few foods that lower blood pressure to take notice of, particularly if you are at risk for hypertension. Hibiscus tea makes that list with glowing reviews. Several studies have found it to lower blood pressuresignificantly, even in patients with certain health conditions that increase the risk of high blood pressure.
A 2013 review by the University of Arizona discovered that hibiscus tea is used in 10 or more countries as normal treatment for hypertension without any reported adverse events or side effects — except in extremely high doses. The study led these researchers to state that “extracts of [hibiscus] are promising as a treatment of hypertension.” They did point out, however, that high-quality studies (known in the scientific community as the “gold standard”) are needed to see the specific interactions of hibiscus tea on high blood pressure.
It does seem to be the case that hibiscus can lower blood pressure in prehypertensive and mildly hypertensive animal and human models.
Of significant note is the fact that these results extend to diabetic patients. After about four weeks, researchers conducting multiple trials have found that blood pressure is positively impacted by daily drinking hibiscus tea. One study specifically mentions three glasses of tea each day as the chosen dosage.
A study in Nigeria discovered hibiscus tea to be more effective than hydrochlorothiazide, a common blood-pressure lowering medication, at decreasing blood pressure. The most significant finding was that hibiscus tea, unlike its study counterpart, hydrochlorothiazide, did not cause electrolyte imbalance.
2. Supports Healthy Cholesterol and Triglycerides
Blood pressure isn’t the only heart disease risk factor for which hibiscus tea benefits you. It may also help people with dyslipidemia manage their cholesterol and high triglycerides.
These two heart disease risk factors are part of the greater cluster of symptoms known as metabolic syndrome, which also points to an elevated risk of diabetes and stroke. In a study published in Phytomedicine, scientists recommend the use of hibiscus extracts to naturally lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels in patients with metabolic syndrome.
Like with blood pressure, hibiscus tea’s ability to reduce high “blood lipids” also extends to those with diabetes. A 2009 study had diabetes patients consume hibiscus tea twice a day for a month and found a significant increase in HDL (“good”) cholesterol and decrease in overall cholesterol, LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and triglycerides.
3. Prevents Oxidative Stress
Like most healthy teas, hibiscus is full of antioxidants that fight free radical damage caused by poor diet and constant exposure to dangerous chemicals. These are found mainly in the anthocyanins of the plant, the natural pigments that give this flower its red color, as shown in rat models.
A small human research study discovered that supplementing with hibiscus tea increased antioxidant load in the bloodstream and reduced compounds that can contribute to oxidative stress that damages cells. Because subjects had elevated amounts of hippuric acid, the conclusion of the study suggests that the polyphenols (antioxidants) of hibiscus must have been significantly transformed by the gut microbiome.
4. Shows Promise in Fighting Certain Cancers
Probably due, at least in part, to the antioxidants in hibiscus tea, it has been the subject of some introductory cancer research. While, like most natural cancer treatment research, this idea is in its infancy, there is some evidence to support hibiscus tea’s anticancer power.
In a lab, hibiscus extracts cause apoptosis (cell death) in leukemia cells. While the mechanisms behind this aren’t clear yet, this could be a promising step in the fight against leukemia, which affects about a quarter of the children and adolescents currently living with cancer.
The same results seem to occur when eight different kinds of gastric carcinoma cells are exposed to hibiscus tea extract, according to research conducted at the Institute of Biochemistry and Biotechnology at Chung Shan Medical University in Taiwan.
5. Reduces Obesity and Related Risks
Put some red hibiscus tea next to the bottle of red wine if you’re looking for a drink to help reduce obesity risk. While those antioxidants are working to protect your cells, those and other compounds found in hibiscus have the potential to encourage weight loss and minimize other related risks, as shown in research on rats.
Human and animal studies have found a link between hibiscus tea and an increased metabolism. Hibiscus extract may even inhibit you from absorbing as much starch and sucrose as you might from a typical meal.
Drinking hibiscus tea at least once a day may also help you fight insulin resistance, a common marker of prediabetes and various other conditions. In fact, it can even help in maintaining healthy blood sugar in diabetes patients, which means it may help reduce every symptom in the metabolic syndrome cluster.
Another disease connected to obesity (and diet) is non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). This disease is identified as a buildup of extra fat cells within the liver, not caused by alcohol use. Commonly understood causes of NAFLD include obesity, poor eating habits, diabetes and dyslipidemia.
In both animals and humans, studies have shown hibiscus tea benefits the liver by reducing the risk of this fatty buildup, which can potentially lead to cirrhosis, liver cancer or liver failure if left untreated.
6. Natural Antidepressant
If you suffer from or are at risk for depression, you may want to consider trying hibiscus tea as one natural way to combat these sometimes debilitating signs of depression, such as fatigue, feelings of hopelessness, loss of interest in hobbies and more.
This, too, is a brand new area of study, but animal studies that examine the improvement in depression symptoms have found that hibiscus flowers have specific bioflavonoids that might help as one natural remedy for depression.
7. Potential Staph Infection Remedy
At least one type of hibiscus displays antibacterial power, too. At least one lab study has found that extracts of Hibiscus rosa sinensis, a less common but still useful hibiscus plant sometimes used to make tea, might have serious MRSA-killing potential.
MRSA is a bacteria that causes over 90,000 staph infections in the U.S. each year. Prevention and treatment of staph infection are vital, as they are linked to serious problems like abscesses, sepsis and pneumonia.
8. May Prevent Kidney Stones
Because it functions as a diuretic, hibiscus tea has also turned the heads of those studying the health of the kidney and urinary systems. Initial animal testing suggests that hibiscus tea presents what is known as an “anti-urolithiatic property,” meaning that it may lower the instance of compounds that form kidney stones.