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Almost everyone is familiar with the beautiful, large and colourful flowers of the hibiscus plant. The hibiscus flowers not only create a natural beauty in your garden, but they also have medicinal uses. You can make teas and liquid extracts from hibiscus flowers that may help treat a variety of conditions.
Hibiscus flowers come in various colours like red, yellow, white or peach. The most popular variety is Hibiscus sabdariffa L. and the red flowers of this variety are most commonly cultivated for medicinal purposes and used to make hibiscus tea.
What Is Hibiscus Tea?
Hibiscus tea, also called sour tea is made from a combination of dried hibiscus flowers, leaves and dark red calyces (the cup-shaped centre of the flower), which when drunk has a tart taste. Hibiscus tea is loaded with polyphenols and anthocyanins which contribute to many of the health benefits of hibiscus tea.
Nutritional Value Of Hibiscus Tea
100 g of hibiscus tea contains 99.58 g water and it also contains:
• 0.08 mg iron
• 3 mg magnesium
• 1 mg phosphorus
• 20 mg potassium
• 4 mg sodium
• 0.04 mg zinc
• 0.04 mg niacin
• 1 µg folate
• 0.4 mg choline
Health Benefits Of Hibiscus Tea
1. Reduces blood pressure
A 2010 study published in The Journal of Nutrition found that hibiscus tea has the potent ability to lower blood pressure in people who are at a risk of high blood pressure and those with mild high blood pressure. The participants who drank hibiscus tea for six weeks saw a reduction in their systolic blood pressure .
2. Supports heart health
Hibiscus tea can help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides level, a major risk factor for heart disease. Consuming hibiscus tea has been shown to increase HDL (good) cholesterol and decrease LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
3. Aids in weight loss
Hibiscus extract has been found to show positive effects on body weight. A study report showed that consumption of hibiscus extract has the ability to regulate metabolism and reduce body weight, BMI, body fat and waist-to-hip ratio .
4. Promotes liver health
Hibiscus extract contains antioxidants that can help improve liver health. Obesity increases the risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and consumption of hibiscus extract has been shown to lower the risk of fatty liver disease .
5. Treats type 2 diabetes
Drinking hibiscus tea can help treat type 2 diabetes and improve insulin sensitivity. Hibiscus tea contains phytochemicals that has been shown to have positive effects on patients with type 2 diabetes. A study report showed that type 2 diabetes patients drank 150 ml of hibiscus tea thrice a day for four weeks and the results were improved insulin resistance and certain lipoproteins .
6. Fights bacterial infection
Bacteria cause a number of infections ranging from urinary tract infections to pneumonia. A study published in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture showed the antimicrobial and antioxidant properties of hibiscus extract on E. coli bacteria. Hibiscus extract has a strong ability to inhibit E. coli bacteria, a bacterium that causes pneumonia, urinary tract infections and diarrhoea .
7. May manage cancer
Hibiscus contains polyphenols that have antioxidant and anti-tumour effects. These polyphenols have been shown to induce gastric carcinoma cell death in humans . Another study showed that hibiscus protocatechuic acid, a phenolic compound extracted from the dried hibiscus flower has been shown to induce leukaemia cells in humans .
8. Acts as a natural antidepressant
If you suffer from depression, you may consider having hibiscus tea to lower the symptoms of depression. Hibiscus flowers contain flavonoids like anthocyanin and quercetin. These flavonoids are known to possess antidepressant activity which can help lower depression .
9. Heals wounds
Consumption of hibiscus tea may treat wounds and other types of skin ailments. The studies were done on rats, which showed that hibiscus extract helped in faster wound healing as compared to a topical ointment .
10. May prevent kidney stones
The supplementation of aqueous extract of hibiscus flower in different doses can significantly lower the formation of kidney stones. However, further clinical trials are needed to prove the findings .
11. Relieves anxiety
Hibiscus extract possesses anti-anxiety properties and sedative effect, which means upon consumption it can relieve anxiety and promote sleep .
Hibiscus is available in the form of tea bags, ready-to drink tea, loose flower petals, encapsulated powder and liquid extract.
Possible Side Effects Of Hibiscus Tea
Consumption of hibiscus tea is considered safe with few side effects. Overconsumption of hibiscus tea may cause liver toxicity, dizziness and fatigue. Hibiscus capsules and powder when consumed in high doses may cause stomach pain, gas, headache and nausea .
Hibiscus tea may interfere with certain medications like antihypertensive drugs and diabetes medications. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should consult their doctor before consuming hibiscus tea.
How To Make Hibiscus Tea?
• 2 tsp dried hibiscus flowers
• 3-4 cups of water
• Honey for taste
• Boil water in a pot.
• Add the dried hibiscus flowers in a cup.
• Pour the boiling water into the cup.
• Allow it to steep for five minutes till the tea becomes red.
• Strain it and add honey to it for taste.
• Enjoy your hot tea.