Hibiscus tea or hibiscus tea is an herbal tea made by soaking parts of a hibiscus plant in boiling water. It has a tart taste similar to that of cranberries, and it can be consumed both hot and cold.
There are several hundred species of hibiscus that vary depending on the location and climate in which they grow, but Hibiscus sabdariffa is most often used for making hibiscus tea.
Scientific studies have identified a number of health benefits associated with the use of Hibiscus tea, including demonstrating that it can lower blood pressure, fight bacteria and promote weight loss. This article will only consider confirmed facts about the beneficial properties of Hibiscus tea and contraindications to its use.
Useful properties of hibiscus tea
The following beneficial properties of Hibiscus tea have been proven:
1. Has antioxidants
Antioxidants are molecules that help fight compounds called free radicals that damage your cells. Hibiscus tea is rich in powerful antioxidants and therefore can help prevent cell damage and the development of disease states caused by the accumulation of free radicals.
In one rat study, hibiscus extract increased the amount of antioxidant enzymes and reduced the harmful effects of free radicals by 92% ( 1 ).
Another study in rats had similar results, showing that parts of the hibiscus plant, namely the leaves, have powerful antioxidant properties ( 2 ).
However, keep in mind that the above studies were conducted on animals and they used concentrated doses of hibiscus extract. More research is needed to determine if these beneficial properties are preserved in hibiscus tea when it affects people.
Animal studies have shown that hibiscus extract has antioxidant properties. But more research is needed to determine if antioxidant properties are maintained for the human body.
2. Hibiscus tea lowers blood pressure
One of the most impressive and well-known beneficial properties of Hibiscus tea is that it can lower blood pressure.
Over time, constantly high blood pressure can give an additional burden on the heart and make it weaker. High blood pressure is also associated with an increased risk of heart disease ( 3 ).
Several studies have found that hibiscus tea lowers both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
In one study, 65 people with high blood pressure drank hibiscus tea or placebo. Six weeks later, those who drank hibiscus tea experienced a significant decrease in systolic blood pressure compared with those who drank placebo ( 4 ).
Similarly, a review of five studies in 2015 showed that Hibiscus tea reduced both systolic and diastolic blood pressure by an average of 7.58 mm Hg. Art. and 3.53 mmHg. Art. respectively ( 5 ).
Although hibiscus tea can be a safe and natural way to lower blood pressure, it is not recommended for those taking hydrochlorothiazide, a type of diuretic used to treat high blood pressure because it can interact with the drug ( 6 ).
Studies have proven the beneficial property of Hibiscus tea to lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure. However, if you are taking drugs with hydrochlorothiazide, the use of hibiscus is contraindicated because of the unstable interaction with this medicine.
3. May help lower blood fats
In addition to lowering blood pressure, some studies have shown that hibiscus tea can help lower blood fats, another risk factor for heart disease.
In one study, 60 people with diabetes drank either hibiscus tea or black tea. After a month, those who drank Hibiscus tea experienced an increase in the “good” high-density lipo-protein cholesterol and a decrease in the total and “bad cholesterol” of the low-density lipo-proteins, as well as triglycerides ( 7 ).
Another study in patients with metabolic syndrome showed that taking 100 mg of hibiscus extract daily was associated with a decrease in total cholesterol and an increase in “good” HDL cholesterol ( 8 ).
However, other studies have produced conflicting results regarding the effects of Hibiscus tea on blood cholesterol.
In fact, a review of six studies, with a total of 474 participants, concluded that Hibiscus tea slightly lowers blood cholesterol or triglycerides ( 9 ).
In addition, most studies showing the beneficial properties of Hibiscus tea to reduce unhealthy fats have been limited to patients with special conditions, such as metabolic syndrome and diabetes. Therefore, for the reliability of this advantage of Hibiscus tea among ordinary healthy adults, additional studies are needed.
Some studies have found that hibiscus tea can lower blood cholesterol and triglycerides in patients with diabetes and metabolic syndrome. However, other studies have yielded conflicting results. More research is needed for the general population.
4. Hibiscus tea can improve liver health
The functions of the liver for the body cannot be overestimated – from the production of proteins to the secretion of bile to the destruction of fat – your liver is necessary to maintain the overall health of a person.
Studies have shown that hibiscus can contribute to liver health and helps it work efficiently.
One study in 19 overweight people showed that taking hibiscus extract for 12 weeks improves liver steatosis. This condition is characterized by the accumulation of fat in the liver, which can lead to liver failure ( 10 ).
A study on hamsters also demonstrated the benefits of hibiscus extract in relation to liver health: treatment with hibiscus extract reduced the marker of liver damage ( 11 ).
Another animal study showed that hibiscus extract increased to 65% the concentration of several liver enzymes that help cleanse the liver of toxins ( 12 ).
Note that these studies evaluated the effects of hibiscus extract rather than hibiscus tea. In this connection, further studies are needed to find out how hibiscus tea affects the health of the liver in people.
Studies in humans and animals have shown that hibiscus extract can benefit liver health by increasing the amount of liver-cleansing enzymes and reducing liver damage by fat cells.
5. Promotes weight loss
Several studies have proven that hibiscus tea can help lose weight and protect against the formation of new deposits of fat.
In one study, 36 overweight people took hibiscus extract or placebo. After 12 weeks, those who consumed hibiscus extract reduced body weight, body fat, and body mass index compared to those who took placebo ( 10 ).
An animal study had similar results, confirming that taking hibiscus for 60 days led to a decrease in body weight ( 13 ).
Current studies are limited to studies using concentrated doses of hibiscus extract. More research is needed to determine how hibiscus tea can affect weight loss in people.
Several studies in humans and animals have shown that eating hibiscus extract helps to reduce overweight.
6. Has antitumor compounds
The hibiscus plant contains a large number of polyphenols, which are compounds with strong anti-cancer properties.
Laboratory tests have shown impressive results regarding the potential effects of hibiscus extract on cancer cells.
In one laboratory study, hibiscus extract interfered with cell growth and reduced the invasiveness of oral and plasma cancers ( 14 ).
Another laboratory study reported that hibiscus leaf extract prevented the spread of human prostate cancer cells ( 15 ).
It has also been shown that hibiscus extract inhibits gastric cancer cells up to 52% ( 16 ).
Keep in mind that these studies have been conducted in laboratories on human cells with a large amount of hibiscus extract. Studies on real patients have not been conducted and therefore are necessary to assess the effect of Hibiscus tea on the development of cancer.
Laboratory experiments have shown that hibiscus extract reduces the growth and spread of cancer cells in blood plasma, oral cavity, prostate gland and stomach.
7. Has antibacterial properties.
Bacteria are unicellular microorganisms that can cause various infections, ranging from simple pharyngitis to acute intestinal colitis.
In addition to the antioxidant and antitumor benefits of hibiscus tea, namely hibiscus extract, some laboratory studies have found that hibiscus can help fight bacterial infections.
One study found that hibiscus extract inhibits the activity of E. coli E. coli, a strain of bacteria that can cause intestinal problems with the following symptoms – intestinal cramping, gas, and diarrhea ( 17 ).
Another laboratory study showed that hibiscus extract is able to kill 8 bacterial strains and even show the same effectiveness as some antibiotics that are used to eliminate bacterial infections ( 18 ).
However, no human studies have studied the antibacterial effects of Hibiscus tea, so it is still unclear exactly how these results can be applied to humans.
Laboratory studies have shown that hibiscus extract can fight certain strains of bacteria. However, more research is needed to determine how hibiscus tea can affect bacterial infections in humans.
8. It tastes great and is easy to brew.
In addition to the many possible health benefits of Hibiscus tea, it has a delicious and pleasant aroma and is easy to make at home.
To do this, simply add the dried hibiscus flowers to the teapot and pour boiling water there. Let it brew for five minutes and then drink it. For a sweeter taste, you can add a little sugar or honey.
Hibiscus tea can be drunk both hot and cold. It has a sour, tart taste similar to that of cranberries. For this reason, it is often sweetened with honey or some lime juice added to balance tartness.
You can buy dried hibiscus at any store that sells loose tea or on the Internet. Hibiscus tea can also be brewed in tea bags – just submerge the bag in a mug of hot water, leave for 1 minute and enjoy the great taste.
For the preparation of hibiscus tea, you can use both dried flowers and hibiscus leaves, or simple tea bags with chopped leaves. Hibiscus tea of dried flowers is brewed for 5 minutes, and then sweetened with sugar or honey to smooth out the sour taste a little. Although some hibiscus tea lovers drink this delicious drink without additives.
Hibiscus tea: contraindications
No study today revealed serious contraindications to the use of hibiscus tea. This drink, as well as green tea, is one of the healthiest on the planet. However, there are some groups of people who are still not recommended to drink hibiscus tea.
- Contraindication may be an individual intolerance to hibiscus. Therefore, before the first use of this drink, drink quite a bit and wait a while to understand that there are no allergic reactions.
- Due to the fact that the ability to lower blood pressure belongs to the beneficial properties of hibiscus tea, this drink is not recommended for hypotonic patients – people with low blood pressure. Also, if you treat hypertension (high blood pressure) with preparations containing hydrochlorothiazide, you are contraindicated in the use of Hibiscus tea, as these two ingredients can negatively interact with each other.
- Since hibiscus tea has a pronounced sour taste, this drink is not recommended for people with high acidity of the stomach.
- Like any exotic drink, hibiscus tea is contraindicated during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Hibiscus tea is a type of herbal tea that can have many potential health benefits. It has a pleasant tart taste, which you can enjoy comfortably in your own kitchen.
Some studies have shown that hibiscus tea can help lose weight, improve heart and liver health, and even help fight cancer and bacteria.
However, most of the current studies are limited to laboratory studies or animal studies using a large amount of hibiscus extract. More research is needed to determine how these benefits can be applied to people who drink hibiscus tea.
Hibiscus tea is a delicious drink that has its beneficial properties and health contraindications.