One of the most effective ways to maintain and restore health is to eat a proper diet. The beneficial effects of herbs can also be enjoyed in salads, as a spice and as a tea.
Although hibiscus is known as a showy ornamental plant for gardens, there are in fact hundreds of species of hibiscus, some of which can be consumed as tea. The tart, intensely flavored and colored infusion can be enjoyed hot or cold, and it is healthy.
The health benefits of hibiscus tea
Also known as edible hibiscus, roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa) is a funnel-shaped shrub that grows to 1-2 meters tall. The plant’s produces a fruit that contains many seeds. All parts are edible, can be made into salads or jams and added to spice mixtures. Dried hibiscus flowers are available at herb shops and pharmacies. Researchers have found that tea brewed from hibiscus flowers has very important health benefits.
Hibiscus is full of antioxidant plant compounds that can fight cell-damaging free radicals. The accumulation of these molecules in the body can lead to harmful processes and lesions. It also contains polyphenols, which have become known for their powerful anti-cancer properties. However, studies on hibiscus of this kind have generally been carried out in laboratory conditions using extracts of the plant. Laboratory studies have also shown antibacterial effects of the extract.
Reduces high blood pressure
The reason why most people consume hibiscus tea is its ability to lower blood pressure, which has been the subject of a lot of research. Over time, high blood pressure can lead to cardiovascular disease and a host of other health problems, which is why it is so important to treat it. In a 2009 study of 65 people with mildly elevated blood pressure who drank 240 milliliters of tea three times a day rather than a placebo had a significant reduction in systolic blood pressure compared to a control group. Similar results were found in a 2015 study.
High cholesterol is also known to increase the risk of heart disease. Although the results are mixed, there are studies that also report on the beneficial effects of hibiscus tea or extract on cholesterol levels. Experts believe that hibiscus may also help to protect liver health, for example, in a study of 19 overweight participants given hibiscus extract for 12 weeks, positive changes in liver fatty degeneration were observed. Being overweight is a risk factor for non-alcoholic fatty liver, a condition that can lead to permanent damage to the organ in severe cases.
How to consume hibiscus tea
To make hibiscus tea, simply boil the dried flowers and leave to stand for about 5 minutes. It can be consumed hot or cold. Some people find the tea too tart, but those who prefer a sour taste can enjoy it without a sweetener. It is very refreshing if consumed cold. Hibiscus tea can act as a natural diuretic.
Seek medical advice before drinking hibiscus tea with medication for high blood pressure. Breastfeeding mothers should also seek professional advice before introducing it into their daily routine.