Tea is more than a drink; it is a healthy addition to any diet. And herbal teas are known to have the most health benefits. One of the healthiest tea you can consider is hibiscus tea.
This herbal tea, which is made from soaking flowers of hibiscus plant in hot water, offers a lot of benefits, including aiding in weight loss and combating cancer.
Today, we will be discussing the health benefits of hibiscus tea. But before we get started with the benefits, let’s discuss a few thing about this tea.
What is Hibiscus Tea and What Makes It Unique?
There are several hundred species of the hibiscus plant, but Hisbiscus Sabdariffa L. is the most commonly used for its health benefits. Other names used to refer to this herb include hardy hibiscus, rose mallow and rose of Sharon. Hibiscus plants feature colorful flowers that are mainly noticeable in late summer.
When you brew the beautiful dried flowers of these herbs in hot water, the result is a deep ruby-red liquid. The concoction is what is referred to as hibiscus tea. The hibiscus flowers are mainly found in the tropical climates such as the Caribbean, Mexico, Central, and South America as well as Africa.
Tea made from hibiscus has a tart flavor similar to that of cranberries and tangy taste. When served cold, it is an excellent thirst quencher. Hot hibiscus tea is refreshing and intense. You can brew the flowers with green tea and black tea to add new taste notes.
Health Benefits of Hibiscus Tea
Research has uncovered numerous health benefits you can get by drinking this tea. Here are the potential health benefits of Hibiscus Tea:
1. Loaded With Antioxidants
This is a caffeine-free beverage that’s a rich source of antioxidants which help reduce oxidative damage and fight free radicals. Research shows that antioxidants in hibiscus are so powerful, they eliminated anywhere from 69% to 92% of free radicals.
Free radicals damage has been linked to the prevalence of certain illnesses such as diabetes, dementia, and heart disease, among others. The high dose of antioxidants in hibiscus may help keep sickness away and improve your overall health.
Drinking this herb has been shown to boost overall health as the antioxidants help stave off free radicals that may damage healthy cells in the body (1).
In one study involving rats, hibiscus extract was shown to increase the number of antioxidant enzymes and lowered the effects caused by free radicals by 92 percent (2).
Another published study demonstrated similar findings showing that specific parts of the hibiscus plant, such as leaves, retain potent antioxidant properties (3).
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2. It Promotes Heart Health
Heart disease and high blood pressure rank among the leading killer diseases in the US. Drinking hibiscus tea may promote your overall heart health. A study found that the flower extracts of hibiscus significantly lowered diabolic blood pressure (DBP) and systolic blood pressure (SBP) in adults with moderate diabetes.
In a study published in 2008, volunteers who took hibiscus tea recorded a 7.2 point drop in their systolic blood pressure. Those who took a placebo had a 1.3 point drop of the same (4).
Other controlled trials showed that hibiscus tea has effects. The plant contains hibiscus acid and anthocyanin which are responsible for this characteristic. Anthocyanin also help to prevent oxidation of LDL which can result in inflammation and formation of plaques (5)
The herb can also be beneficial when you need to lower cholesterol. Researchers from the Chung Shan Medical University in Taiwan found that hibiscus extract reduces inflammation of blood vessels thanks to the antioxidants. By reducing the inflammation of blood vessels, it prevents the accumulation of blood cells that may lead to high blood pressure (6).
One point to note is that while this tea may be used as a way to lower blood pressure, it may not be safe for people under hydrochlorothiazide. This is a type of diuretic used in the treatment of high blood pressure. It is essential to discuss this beverage with your physician to know how it may interact with your heart.
3. May Be Good For Your Liver
The liver plays a crucial role in your overall health, flushing out toxins to secreting bile. Interestingly, studies have found that hibiscus may boost liver health and improve its performance.
One study involving 19 people with obesity found that taking a hibiscus extract for three months improved liver steatosis, a condition caused by the accumulation of fat in the liver. This increases the risk of liver failure. (7).
An animal study was also used to analyze the effects of hibiscus extract on the livers of hamsters. The hamsters were divided into groups and either fed normal or high-fat diet for about ten weeks. Researchers found that those that took a hibiscus had lower levels of cholesterol, triglycerides, and other markers of liver damage (8).
Hibiscus Polyphenols protect the liver from oxidative damage and prevent lipid peroxidation. The herb helps reduce some liver enzymes during inflammation or after a high-fat diet. Taking Hibiscus extract was found to help maintain the normal level of these enzymes (9).
4. Aids In Weight Loss
Anthocyanin found in hibiscus may be useful in keeping your body weight in check. The molecules have antihyperlipidemic properties that prevent the accumulation of fat in the body. This shows that hibiscus has anti-obesity properties (10).
The water found in hibiscus reduces the level of total cholesterol and triglycerides. This occurs through the inhibition of lipid absorption the gut.
In a lab trial, human subjects were offered 100 mg/day of powdered hibiscus extract for a total of 30 days. The research found that the levels of glucose had significantly reduced and HDL levels increased (11).
In overweight individuals, such signs show less risk of developing severe illnesses such as atherosclerosis and diabetes. Taking hibiscus tea can cut down abdominal fat too. Individuals who took more of these extracts recorded reduced levels of free fatty acids in the patient serum (12)
An older study conducted in Mexico showed that hibiscus extract could be used to reduce obesity in the Mexican population.
However, it should be noted that these studies used concentrated doses of this extract. Therefore, more research is required to confirm that hibiscus tea aids in weight loss.
Related Article: The 5 Best Teas to Lose Weight Fast, #3 Is My Favorite
5. Has Antibacterial and Antifungal Properties
Hibiscus flower petals are high in Vitamin C, which has been proven to boost immunity (13). Vitamin C boasts natural antibacterial properties, a reason why most household cleaning agents use it as a common ingredient. It is the primary reason why lemons are used to clean countertops. Hibiscus tea contains this nutrient, which may help prevent pathogens that cause infections.
Vitamin C also keeps the immune system strong and promotes the production of white blood cells to fight infections.
A study published in 2016 by the Journal of Intercultural Ethnopharmacology found that hibiscus solution was effective against the gram-positive and negative bacteria. The solution was said to be more effective than penicillin against some strains (14).
Another study sought to determine the effect of hibiscus extract on E.coli bacteria. The research established that the hibiscus solution inhibited E.coli bacteria in a lab setting (15). These findings indicate that hibiscus is a promising antimicrobial agent and can be considered as a way of inhibiting illnesses caused by bacteria.
Hibiscus can also work as an antifungal agent. A study published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine found that hibiscus extract inhibits the growth of Candida albicans (16). This is a type of yeast found on the skin, gut, and vaginal floral of the population. Although it is considered as a low-grade pathogen, the overgrowth of Candida albicans can become a health concern.
6. May Combat Cancer
The polyphenols found in hibiscus plants are rich antioxidants. A few of these possess anti-tumor properties (17). Although this idea is in its infancy, various test-tube studies have shown impressive results regarding the potential of this herb to kill cancer cells.
In a laboratory, hibiscus extracts lead to apoptosis (cell death) in leukemia cells (18). While the mechanism(s) behind this observation isn’t clear yet, it could be a promising step towards the fight of leukemia, a condition that affects a large portion of the population.
According to research conducted in the Institute of Biochemistry and Biotechnology at Chung Shan Medical University in Taiwan, hibiscus extract was found to kill eight different gastric carcinoma cells (19). This data presents exciting ideas for gastric cancer treatment.
Hibiscus tea contains hibiscus protocatechuic acid, which has anti-cancer properties. Consuming this tea daily may slow down the growth of cancerous cells in the body.
The deep ruby-red drink is an enriching tea. It looks, tastes, and feels refreshing. This tea can help free radicals, reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol, and keep your liver healthy among other numerous benefits.
Above all, it is less toxic. However, ensure that you get medical advice before enjoying this drink with your family, especially if you are pregnant or under medication. Drinking hibiscus tea should be done in moderation.
We hope that you will try out this tea soon and don’t forget to tell us how you liked it. Write your feedback on the comments below or ask any questions, and we shall get back to you as soon as possible.
Stay healthy with hibiscus tea!