Hibiscus tea(Hibiscus sabdariffa), also known as Roselle, has been used to treat hypertension in both African and Asian traditional medicine.
In 1996, researchers confirmed this age-old wisdom by showing that a tea made from the calyxes surrounding the hibiscus flowers reduced blood pressure in laboratory animals. Soon after, researchers in Iran showed the same benefit in people – a 10 percent reduction in systolic pressure. That is as effective as some standard hypertension drugs.
Since then, several more studies have confirmed this effect, including two that tested hibiscus head-to-head against standard hypertension medications.
How does hibiscus tea lower blood pressure?
For as long as you can remember, your doctor has probably tested your blood pressure on every visit. This medical test has become so commonplace that many patients barely notice. If you struggle with high blood pressure, however, you know that lowering those numbers may be challenging, and risk factors like heredity are beyond your control. The fact is: high blood pressure affects most people as they age and may lead to serious complications, like heart attack and stroke. Thanks to new research, there is now a promising, natural way to reduce blood pressure.
Recent research suggests that it is due to a combination of reasons:
- it has diuretic properties
- it opens the arteries, and
- it acts as a natural angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor, which means it slows the release of hormones that constrict blood vessels.
In addition, hibiscus boosts immune function and provides valuable antioxidants. Hibiscus is safe and, unlike most hypertension drugs, rarely causes side effects.
Hibiscus has been studied more thoroughly than a number of herbs and has been found to be effective for lowering blood pressure. Both the extract of the plant and hibiscus tea itself have been directly studied in recent randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials. The mechanism of action is also beginning to be understood: it is thought that hibiscus acts as an ACE inhibitor, a well-known and well-studied class of hypotensive (blood pressure lowering) drugs. Perhaps more importantly, the quantity of hibiscus tea used in one study suggests that the benefits of this treatment are available to people who consume a moderate amount of hibiscus tea daily.
How to get the most benefit from hibiscus tea?
It would be easy to believe that just drinking three cups of hibiscus tea each day will return your blood pressure to within the normal range. Effective as hibiscus is in lowering high blood pressure, it is most beneficial when taken as part of a healthy balanced diet – especially a diet designed to help reduce hypertension – such as the DASH diet – and regular exercise.
Making refreshing hibiscus tea part of your diet can make a significant contribution to lowering your high blood pressure naturally.