Hibiscus for Hypertension – and More!

Hibiscus tea is a bit of an acquired taste (sort of like sour cranberries), but if you are trying to keep your caffeine levels in check, it's an equally healthy and caffeine-free alternative to green tea (which seems to have a much better PR agent...)

Egyptian pharaohs sipped hibiscus tea to cool off during a long day watching the slaves build pyramids. Ol' Pharaoh probably also drank hibiscus tea to improve his digestion, and he may have been aware that it increases both urination and bowel movements.

The Egyptian kings did not know about these other healthy benefits of that odd red flower, but you should:

The hibiscus flower has long been rumored to lower blood pressure, but researchers at Tufts University in Boston finally proved it. They learned that, because of its anti-inflammatory properties, hibiscus tea can reduce blood pressure by up to 10 points. For this drastic improvement to occur, you need to consume three cups every day for a few weeks. Also, hibiscus tea has diuretic properties that increase urination, simultaneously lowering blood pressure.

Hibiscus tea also has impressive antioxidant properties, and studies in animals suggest that hibiscus tea can lower LDL cholesterol and guard against its damaging effects. More recent studies indicate that it helps to lower levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol from the body, thereby helping to protect against heart disease and protecting blood vessels from damage. 

Research out of India has shown that a phytochemical from the leaves of Sthalpadma, a sub-genus of hibiscus commonly called Confederate rose, restored insulin sensitivity of cells and thereby helped in lowering blood sugar levels in diabetic rats.

Those hibiscus antioxidants also help in treating liver disease. Antioxidants help to protect your body from diseases because they neutralize the free radicals present in body tissues and cells. So it's not too off-base to suggest that drinking hibiscus tea could increase your lifespan by maintaining good overall health in many organ systems.

It fights cancer, too! Hibiscus tea contains hibiscus protocatechuic acid which has anti-tumor and antioxidant properties. A study conducted by the Department and Institute of Biochemistry at the Chung Shan Medical and Dental College, in Taichung, Taiwan suggests that hibiscus slows down the growth of cancerous cells by inducing apoptosis, commonly known as programmed cell death.

Looking for something to help with an affliction a little less mortal but often as painful? Hibiscus tea provides relief from cramps and menstrual pain. It helps in restoring hormone balance as well, which can reduce other symptoms of menstruation like mood swings, depression, and overeating.

No modern medicne cabinet is complete any more without an antidepressant, and hibiscus tea has you covered there as well. Itcontains vitamins and minerals like flavonoids which have antidepressant properties. Drinking hibiscus tea can help to calm down the nervous system, and it may reduce anxiety and depression by creating a relaxed sensation in the body and mind.