Benefits of Hibiscus

Hibiscus tea is an herbal tea that’s made by steeping parts of the hibiscus plant in boiling water. It has a tart flavor similar to that of cranberries and can be enjoyed both hot and cold. There are several hundred species of hibiscus varying by the location and climate they grow in, but Hibiscus sabdariffa is most commonly used to make hibiscus tea.
Research has uncovered a range of health benefits linked to drinking hibiscus tea, showing that it may lower blood pressure, fight bacteria and even aid weight loss. The hibiscus family, botanical name Malvaceae, contains many interesting plants, including cotton, okra, and cacao. They have big, showy flowers, and many are used for fiber. The species that is most often used for food or tea is Hibiscus sabdariffa, also known as roselle or red sorrel.

The flowers, leaves, and seeds of the hibiscus can all be consumed, but the part that is used most often is the calyx. When a flower is still a bud, it is covered by leaf-like structures called sepals. Collectively the sepals are known as the calyx, plural form calyces.  According to the USDA, one cup of hibiscus in its natural form provides these nutritional values:
• Calories: 28
• Protein: .5 gram
• Fat: 0 grams
• Carbohydrates: 6 grams
• Fiber: 0 g
• Sugar: 0 g

Top benefits of Hibiscus

May Help Lower Blood Pressure

One of the most impressive and well-known benefits of hibiscus tea is that it may lower blood pressure.
Over time, high blood pressure can place extra strain on the heart and cause it to weaken. High blood pressure is also associated with an increased risk of heart disease. Several studies have found that hibiscus tea may lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. In one study, 65 people with high blood pressure were given hibiscus tea or a placebo. After six weeks, those who drank hibiscus tea had a significant decrease in systolic blood pressure, compared to the placebo.

Protects with antioxidants

The hibiscus plant is rich in antioxidants such as beta-carotene, vitamin C and anthocyanin. “Antioxidant-rich foods really help across the board with quite a few health conditions,” Czerwony says.
Antioxidants destroy harmful molecules known as free radicals within your body.

Gut Health

It is believed that drinking hibiscus tea can settle an upset stomach, and many people drink it to help regulate their urinary and bowel activity.

Hibiscus also has anti-inflammatory properties

Chronic inflammation (including that of our gut) is a likely culprit in many of the modern world’s rampant diseases such as arthritis, autoimmune conditions, and food intolerances.

May Boost Liver Health

From producing proteins to secreting bile to breaking down fat, your liver is essential to your overall health.
Interestingly, studies have shown that hibiscus may promote liver health and help keep it working efficiently.
One study in 19 overweight people found that taking hibiscus extract for 12 weeks improved liver steatosis. This condition is characterized by the accumulation of fat in the liver, which can lead to liver failure (10).
A study in hamsters also demonstrated the liver-protecting properties of hibiscus extract, showing that treatment with hibiscus extract decreased markers of liver damage

Fights inflammation

Several animal studies and a few small human studies have shown hibiscus’s ability to fight inflammation, Czerwony says. Inflammation plays a role in the development of many illnesses, including cancer, asthma, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis.

Anti-Aging

Hibiscus was known to be consumed by the Egyptian Pharaohs for its beautifying properties.
As always, they were onto something. Because research has shown that hibiscus consumption can help prevent oxidative damage in the human body. Oxidative stress occurs when our bodies can’t keep up with combating the amount of “free radicals” in our system. Oxidative stress is widely considered one of the primary factors in the aging process And hibiscus tea is incredibly high in antioxidants.

Lowers cholesterol

High cholesterol is another health problem that affects millions of adults and contributes to serious diseases like heart attack and stroke. While some clinical studies have shown hibiscus lowers cholesterol levels, others have shown little effect. Czerwony says hibiscus may help maintain healthy cholesterol levels, but once again, we need more research to be sure.

Blood Pressure

A 2010 study showed that daily consumption of a reasonable amount of hibiscus tea lowered blood pressure (3).
A 2015 study also demonstrated that hibiscus tea consumption lowered blood pressure (4).
So, for people who are at risk of hypertension or mildly hypertensive, hibiscus tea could be a great addition to your daily routine (Do see the “You Should Avoid Hibiscus If…” section below though).

Promotes weight loss

Several studies show a positive impact on weight loss, which could help prevent obesity — but these studies used hibiscus extract, a more concentrated form than hibiscus tea. Czerwony notes that we don’t yet know whether hibiscus tea produces the same result.

Immune System

Hibiscus is high in vitamin C (and, yes, all those other antioxidants), and it appears to strengthen the body against both bacterial and fungal infections.
A variety of studies have shown that hibiscus can:
• Inhibit the growth of MRSA, which is a dangerous form of staph (6)
• Inhibit the growth of Candida, which can infect the gut, mouth, and vagina (7)
• Inhibit the growth of E. coli, which is a potentially deadly food-borne bacteria (

Could Promote Weight Loss

Several studies suggest that hibiscus tea may be associated with weight loss and protect against obesity.
One study gave 36 overweight participants either hibiscus extract or a placebo. After 12 weeks, hibiscus extract reduced body weight, body fat, body mass index and hip-to-waist ratio. An animal study had similar findings, reporting that giving obese mice hibiscus extract for 60 days led to a reduction in body weight

Here are some of the ways that you can enjoy the health benefits of hibiscus:
• Make a sauce similar to cranberry sauce by stewing with sugar
• Use to make a jam, jelly, or marmalade
• Make hibiscus tea, and serve hot or cold
• Create your own tea blends with other ingredients such as lemon orginger
• Add chopped calyces to fruit salad
• Make a syrup to pour over pancakes or ice cream

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