Hibiscus tea, made from the dried petals of the Hibiscus sabdariffa flower, has been traditionally consumed in various cultures for its potential health benefits. 

Over the last few decades, health evidence has been building for hibiscus tea (Hibiscus sabdariffa L. Malvaceae). A PubMed search was undertaken for metaanalysis (MA) and systematic review papers, human randomised controlled trials (RCT) and laboratory publications investigating inter-relationships between hibiscus tea and health. 

Strongest evidence exists in relation to cardiovascular disease, suggesting that drinking 2-3 cups daily (each ≈ 240-250 mL) may improve blood pressure and potentially serve as a preventative or adjunctive therapy against such conditions. Emerging evidence exists for favorable effects on lipid profiles, insulin resistance, oxidative stress and inflammation.

Here are some findings from clinical studies:

Blood Pressure Management:

  • Several studies have suggested that hibiscus tea consumption may help lower blood pressure. A meta-analysis published in the Journal of Hypertension in 2015 concluded that hibiscus tea consumption was associated with a significant reduction in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
  • Another study published in the Journal of Nutrition in 2010 found that consuming hibiscus tea lowered blood pressure in pre-hypertensive and mildly hypertensive adults.

Antioxidant Properties:

  • Hibiscus tea contains antioxidants such as flavonoids and phenolic compounds, which may help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. Antioxidants are associated with various health benefits, including reduced risk of chronic diseases.
  • A study published in the Journal of Food Science in 2014 found that hibiscus extracts exhibited significant antioxidant activity in vitro

Lipid Profile Improvement:

  • Some research suggests that hibiscus tea consumption may lead to improvements in lipid profiles, including reducing levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.
  • A study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine in 2009 reported that hibiscus extract supplementation reduced serum cholesterol and triglyceride levels in individuals with metabolic syndrome.

Liver Health:

  • There is preliminary evidence suggesting that hibiscus extract may have hepatoprotective effects, potentially benefiting liver health.
  • A study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology in 2006 found that hibiscus extract exhibited protective effects against liver damage induced by toxins in rats.

While these findings suggest potential health benefits associated with hibiscus tea consumption, individuals should consult with healthcare professionals before incorporating hibiscus tea into their diet, especially if they have pre-existing medical conditions or are taking medications, as it may interact with certain drugs.
Overall, hibiscus is considered safe and well tolerated, and can be consumed regularly as part of a balanced diet

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