Oft-touted for its medicinal properties, the red and sour hibiscus tea can bring about incredible gains in your health. It may help manage high blood pressure, cholesterol levels naturally and is beneficial for type 2 diabetics too. Drinking a cup of hibiscus tea daily also helps zap fat, inhibit obesity, prevent kidney stones, and even cancer.
Among a slew of teas, the fragrant hibiscus tea stands tall. The red and sour tea is made by boiling parts of the hibiscus plant, known by its scientific name Hibiscus sabdariffa. Hibiscus tea is a popular drink throughout the world and is now gaining a lot of attention for its use as a medicinal beverage that can be enjoyed hot or cold. The beverage is known by many names and is often called roselle, sorrel, and zobo, based on the name of the hibiscus flower in different countries.
The flavor is reminiscent of cranberries and the tea is said to have a wide range of benefits, from weight loss to controlled hypertension. It is loaded with vitamin C, minerals, and various antioxidants. So how much should we drink every day? We dug a little deeper and found out about all the benefits of hibiscus tea.
Why We Say You Should Have Hibiscus Tea?
1. Helps Lower Blood Pressure
Hibiscus tea is somewhat of a magic elixir for hypertension patients, as its consumption is said to lower blood pressure by as many as 10 points. The study conducted by Tufts University in Boston claims that just three cups a day of this lovely ruby red tea when consumed for six weeks can lower systolic blood pressure, compared with a placebo beverage containing artificial hibiscus flavor and coloring.
It also helps patients with pre-hypertension and mild hypertension. These are patients whose blood pressure readings are hovering between 120/80 and 140/90 and can make some diet and lifestyle changes to keep hypertension at bay. According to a study, 65 pre- and mildly-hypertensive adults between the ages of 30-70 were divided into two groups and asked to either consume three servings daily of hibiscus tea or a placebo beverage for six weeks. None of these patients were on blood pressure lowering medication. At the end of six weeks, the readings for systolic and diastolic blood pressure were both lesser in the hibiscus tea group. The most significant change was seen in systolic blood pressure.
2. Nixes Your Cholesterol Woes
One of the many benefits of hibiscus tea is that it is good for your ticker and controls bad cholesterol. Studies have shown how hibiscus tea helps manage cholesterol levels in hypertensive and diabetes patients.
A study examined the cholesterol-lowering potential of hibiscus extract over four weeks in humans with the help of 42 male and female volunteers. It was found that a dosage of two capsules of hibiscus extract (with a meal) for just one month can considerably lower serum cholesterol levels.
The extract of hibiscus has also shown antiatherosclerotic activity in rabbits so it prevents the buildup of cholesterol, fats and other substances in and on the artery walls.
3. Makes Things Better For Diabetics
Green tea and sour tea contain phytochemicals with antioxidative function. Their consumption on insulin resistance and oxidative stress has been noted to be beneficial for type 2 diabetics.
Hundred type 2 diabetics were divided into two groups who were asked to consume green tea or hibiscus tea three times a day for four weeks. The study showed promising results. Increased HDL (good cholesterol) was observed along with improvements in beta-cell function and insulin sensitivity in patients who drank hibiscus tea or sour tea. Green tea also showed significant improvements. Perhaps a combination of green tea with hibiscus could benefit diabetics better.
4. Destroys Cancer Cells
Because of its antioxidant activity, hibiscus tea could potentially destroy cancer cells. A study revealed that anthocyanins (powerful flavonoids found in red, blue and purple pigmented fruits, vegetables, and flowers) in hibiscus tea induced cancer cell death in humans. Though further investigation is needed, the antioxidant-rich and anthocyanin-loaded tea can be developed as a chemopreventive agent.
5. Counters Oxidative Stress
Oxidative stress is responsible for the manifestation of many pathophysiological conditions in the body. Neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease, gene mutations and cancers, chronic fatigue syndrome, heart and blood vessel disorders, heart attack and inflammatory diseases are some examples of diseases caused by oxidative stress. It happens due to an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the inability of the body to neutralize their effects by antioxidants.
This is where hibiscus tea comes in. When scientists studied the effects of the dried flower extracts of hibiscus on rats with oxidative stress, protect the liver cells of rats from cytotoxicity and genotoxins that have a destructive effect on a cell’s genetic material.
6. Inhibits Obesity And Fat Accumulation
Well, your hunt for that slimming potion may just end with hibiscus tea. Study participants between the ages of 18 and 65 with a BMI of 27 or higher were asked to have hibiscus extracts. The results were promising as consumption of hibiscus extract reduced body weight, BMI, body fat and even waist-to-hip ratio. Serum free fatty acid (FFA) was also lowered by consuming the extract.
Another study points out that the polyphenols found in hibiscus extract effectively reduced the effects of a high-fat diet in hamsters in a dose-dependent manner. It prevents the liver from converting glucose and other substances into fatty acids and triglycerides. It also prevents preadipocyte cells from converting into adipocyte or fat cells.
7. Prevents Kidney Stones
Hibiscus tea is good for kidneys as the extract supports healthy renal function. According to a study on rats, it inhibits the deposition of calcium oxalate crystal and other stone-forming substances in the kidneys.
8. Nourishes Skin And Hair
Drinking hibiscus tea benefits your skin, too. Vitamin A and C in it can fight various skin problems like acne, scars, sunburns, eczema, and various allergies. Its antioxidants help fight free radical damage and reverse the effects of pollution on the skin. Hibiscus is also used in many topical skin care products and is said to have anti-ageing properties. It enhances cell turnover and evens out your skin tone.
Hibiscus tea can be used as a hair rinse to soothe dry scalp. Other benefits of hibiscus for hair include stronger hair shaft and lesser breakage. In South India, hibiscus flowers are boiled in water to make a nourishing hair rinse. It colors premature gray hair and also lubricates rough and curly tresses.
Watch Out For These Side Effects
For those who have low blood pressure, hibiscus tea might not be such a good idea. It can lead to further lowering and cause hypotension. However, you can enjoy a cuppa every now and then.
Hibiscus tea during pregnancy might also be something you want to steer clear of as it is known to have emmenagogue effects. Such food and beverage promote blood flow to the uterus and pelvic region and may also stimulate menstruation.
Hibiscus tea may also stimulate a hallucinatory effect in some people. Hibiscus tea has organic acids in it which could increase the risk of allergic reactions such as irritated eyes, sinus, or hay fever.