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Hibiscus Tea

Hibiscus Tea is a delicious beverage that can be enjoyed either hot or chilled. It has a vibrant and attractive red hue and a surprisingly fruity flavor. Hibiscus tea has been known to prevent hypertension, lower blood pressure, reduce blood sugar levels, keep your liver healthy, help with menstrual cramps, help with depression, aid digestion and help with weight management. It is rich in Vitamin C and contains minerals such as flavonoids and has some laxative properties.

Antioxidants: (Nutritionfacts.org) In a comparison of the antioxidant content of 280 common beverages, hibiscus tea, derived from the flower of the same name and also known as roselle, sorrel, jamaica, or sour tea, ranked number-one, even beating out the oft-lauded green tea. Within an hour of consumption, the antioxidant power of your bloodstream shoots up as the tea’s antioxidant phytonutrients are absorbed into your system.

Lower Blood Pressure: According to Nutritionfacts.org High blood pressure is where hibiscus really shines. A study from Tufts showed that three daily cups of hibiscus tea significantly lowered blood pressure in prehypertensive adults better than placebo, with a drop in the subjects’ systolic blood pressure by six points over the control group. To put that into perspective, on a population scale, a five-point drop may lead to 14 percent fewer stroke deaths, 9 percent fewer fatal heart attacks, and 7 percent fewer deaths overall each year. When hibiscus tea was tested head-to-head against a leading blood pressure drug, two cups of strong hibiscus tea every morning (using a total of five tea bags) was as effective in lowering subjects’ blood pressure as a starting dose of Captopril taken twice a day, but without the drug’s side effects.

Lower Blood Sugar: In a 2013 rat study with hibiscus extracts, 12% of the diabetic rats saw a decrease in blood glucose. Interestingly, the non-diabetic rats saw no change at all. Granted, this is on rats, but, there might be something to it.

Cholesterol: In that same rat study they found that hibiscus tea affected cholesterol. More studies were done and in one study, LDL or bad cholesterol decreased, and in another HDL or good cholesterol was raised with no effect on LDL. According to Healthline.com, some studies have shown that hibiscus tea may reduce blood cholesterol and triglycerides in those with diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

Weight Loss: (Healthline.com) Several studies suggest that hibiscus tea may be associated with weight loss and protect against obesity. One study gave 36 overweight participants either hibiscus extract or a placebo. After 12 weeks, hibiscus extract reduced body weight, body fat, body mass index and hip-to-waist ratio. It turns out, hibiscus actually contains a few anti-obesity properties. Hibiscus activates the AMPK compound which is found in many anti-obesity drugs. Once activated, it stimulates the breakdown of fats.

Antibacterial Properties: Hibiscus tea doesn’t just look or taste like cranberry juice, it also has the same healing properties. Like cranberry juice, hibiscus works wonders for getting rid of and preventing urinary tract infections (UTIs). According to sciencedirect.com with regard to antimicrobial activity, aqueous and ethanolic extracts of hibiscus inhibited the growth of food-borne pathogens such as Salmonella and some staphylococcus bacteria.

Liver Health: According to WebME.com Hibiscus tea may help to improve liver health. A study using hamsters showed that hibiscus tea may help decrease markers of liver damage. One study with human participants showed that hibiscus extract may improve liver steatosis, which could reduce the risk of liver failure.

Risks:

According to WebMD.com: Hibiscus may cause blood pressure to drop. It has also been linked to dermatitis, headache, nausea, and ringing in the ear. Avoid hibiscus if you are allergic or sensitive to it or members of the Malvaceae plant family.

A 2013 review of studies reported that very high doses of hibiscus extract could potentially cause liver damage. The same review reported that hibiscus extract was shown to interact with hydrochlorothiazide (a diuretic) in animals and with acetaminophen in humans.

Nutritionfacts.org suggests not surpassing 15 cups of hibiscus tea per day.

Individuals who drink herbal teas should let their doctors know, as some herbs have the potential to interact with medications.

People with Diabetes or on high blood pressure medications should monitor their blood sugar and blood pressure levels when consuming hibiscus. This is because it may decrease blood sugar or blood pressure levels.

Drinking hibiscus tea in moderation is generally considered safe. However, other products containing hibiscus are not regulated and may or may not contain what they claim. These include:

  • supplements
  • capsules
  • extracts
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