Hibiscus Tea May Help With Blood Pressure
Hibiscus tea is an herbal tea that’s made by steeping parts of the hibiscus plant in boiling water.
It has a tart flavor similar to that of cranberries and can be enjoyed both hot and cold.
There are several hundred species of hibiscus varying by the location and climate they grow in, but Hibiscus sabdariffa is most commonly used to make hibiscus tea.
Research has uncovered a range of health benefits linked to drinking hibiscus tea, showing that it may lower blood pressure, fight bacteria and even aid weight loss.
“Most of the commercial herbal tea blends in the United States contain hibiscus,” says Diane L. McKay, PhD, of Tufts University in Boston. She tells WebMD that people with the highest blood pressure at the start of the six-week study benefited the most.
McKay presented the study of 65 healthy men and women with modestly elevated blood pressure at the American Heart Association (AHA) meeting here.
Overall, drinking hibiscus tea blends lowered systolic blood pressure — the top number in the blood pressure reading — by an average of 7 points. That was significantly more than the 1-point drop observed in people who were given a placebo in the form of hibiscus-flavored water, McKay says.
While a 7-point drop in blood pressure might not seem like much, she says studies have shown that “even small changes in blood pressure … when maintained over time … will reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack.”
Hibiscus tea is rich in powerful antioxidants and may therefore help prevent damage and disease caused by the buildup of free radicals. Antioxidants are molecules that help fight compounds called free radicals, which cause damage to your cells. Aside from its multitude of possible health benefits, hibiscus tea is delicious and easy to prepare at home. Simply add dried hibiscus flowers (or tea bags) to a teapot and pour boiling water over them. Let it steep for five minutes, then strain and add a sweetener of your choice. Since Hibiscus has a tart flavor, it is often sweetened with honey or flavored with a squeeze of lime juice to balance the tartness. Try adding herbal teas to your daily routine and let your body feel the benefits.