Hibiscus tea health benefits have been recognized and valued for centuries in traditional medicine. Made from the dried, vibrantly colored calyces of the hibiscus flower, this herbal tisane is delicious served hot or iced and is enjoyed by countless people around the world.
This tea has recently been the focus of numerous scientific research studies - particularly targeting the health benefits of hibiscus tea for those with high blood pressure and those with type 2 diabetes.
Let's take a look at some of the current research studies focusing on hibiscus tea health benefits (or, if you're not really interested in the research, click here and you'll find an overview of hibiscus tea benefits).
A 2009 study at the Antioxidants Research Laboratory at Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts targeted the effects of hibiscus tea on high blood pressure.
The study participants were 65 prehypertensive and mildly hypertensive adults between the ages of 30 and 70 not currently taking any prescription medication for high blood pressure (BP). Study participants were randomly divided into two groups. For 6 weeks, one group enjoyed a cup of hibiscus tea 3 times each day, while the other group had a placebo beverage.
Research results found that regular consumption of hibiscus tea resulted in significantly lower systolic BP levels than those in the placebo group.
And, participants with the highest BP at the beginning of the study experienced the most significant improvement in blood pressure levels (both systolic and diastolic BP) following the 6 weeks of the study.
Each cup of hibiscus tea in the study was prepared by steeping one hibiscus teabag in 240 ml (about 1 cup) boiled water for 6 minutes. The teabag contained 1.25 g ground, dried calyces from the Hibiscus sabdariffa plant. The prepared tea was consumed within 12 hours of preparation, and the participants could choose whether to drink the tea hot or cold.
This study was funded by the USDA's Agricultural Research Service and Celestial Seasonings.
In the following video, nutrition scientist Dr. Diane McKay, who conducted this study, discusses the research findings that enjoying hibiscus tea regularly can reduce blood pressure levels.
Another study targeting the benefits of hibiscus tea for those with hypertension was performed at the Centro de Investigación Biomédica del Sur in Morelos, Mexico in 2004.
In the study, 75 participants between the ages of 30 and 80, each of whom had mild to moderate hypertension, were divided into two groups - one group enjoyed 16 oz. (about 0.5 L) hibiscus tea each day before breakfast, while the other group took 25 mg Captopril (an anti-hypertensive prescription medication) twice per day.
Each serving of the tea was prepared by steeping 10 g dried Hibiscus sabdariffa calyces in 16 oz. boiled water.
After 4 weeks, both groups experienced lower systolic and diastolic BP levels - and there was no significant difference between the BP levels in the two groups, suggesting the natural, herbal tisane was as effective a treatment as the prescription medication.
Hibiscus tea health benefits and hypertension were the focus of a research study performed in 1999 at the University of Medical Sciences and Health Services in Tehran, Iran.
In this study, 54 participants with moderate high blood pressure were randomly assigned to either an experimental or a control group. Those in the experimental group drank hibiscus tea from the Hibiscus sabdariffa plant daily, while those in the control group were served a placebo beverage.
Following the 15-day treatment, research results showed a significant
lowering of systolic BP and diastolic BP for the 31 participants in the
experimental (hibiscus tea) group.
One thing to note - researchers measured the experimental group's BP levels 3 days after they stopped consuming hibiscus tea, and both systolic and diastolic BP levels had begun to rise slowly.
This may suggest that, for hibiscus tea to benefit blood pressure levels, it should be enjoyed regularly.Read the article abstract for this study here.
Interested in reading more about scientific research targeting hibiscus tea health benefits? You'll find more information here. Or, if you'd rather just read about hibiscus tea benefits (without the research), visit our Hibiscus Tea Benefits page.
As we learn more about the potential side effects of prescribed medications, many of us are searching for natural, risk-free, effective health and wellness alternatives. Teas and tisanes (such as hibiscus tisane) are simple, inexpensive, easy ways to improve well-being - and they taste delicious and are emotionally satisfying, as well!
Why not brew yourself a cup of your favorite tea right now?
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Herrera-Arellano A, Flores-Romero S, Chávez-Soto MA, Tortoriello J. Effectiveness and tolerability of a standardized extract from Hibiscus sabdariffa in patients with mild to moderate hypertension: a controlled and randomized clinical trial. Phytomedicine. 2004 Jul;11(5):375-82.
Lin HH, Huang HP, Huang CC, Chen JH, Wang CJ. Hibiscus polyphenol-rich extract induces apoptosis in human gastric carcinoma cells via p53 phosphorylation and p38 MAPK/FasL cascade pathway. Molecular Carcinogenesis. 2005 June;43(2):86–99.
McKay DL, Chen O, Saltzman E, Blumberg JB. Hibiscus Sabdariffa L. Tea (Tisane) Lowers Blood Pressure in Prehypertensive and Mildly Hypertensive Adults. J. Nutr. 2010 February;140(2):298-303.
Mozaffari-Khosravi H, Jalali-Khanabadi BA, Afkhami-Ardekani M, Fatehi F. Effects of sour tea (Hibiscus sabdariffa) on lipid profile and lipoproteins in patients with type II diabetes. J Altern Complement Med. 2009 Aug;15(8):899-903.
Mozaffari-Khosravi H, Jalali-Khanabadi BA, Afkhami-Ardekani M, Fatehi F, Noori-Shadkam M. The effects of sour tea (Hibiscus sabdariffa) on hypertension in patients with type II diabetes. Journal of Human Hypertension. 2009;23:48–54.