Hibiscus tea, made from dried parts of the hibiscus plant, is deep red in color. It has sweet and tart flavors, similar to cranberry, and may be consumed hot or iced. But does drinking it offer people any health benefits? Many people are familiar with the beautiful flowers of the hibiscus plant (Hibiscus Sabdariffa).
It originated in North Africa and Southeast Asia but now grows in many tropical and subtropical climates. People around the world use various parts of the plant as food and medicine.
1. High Blood Pressure:
The antihypertensive properties of hibiscus tea were noted by a study in which 70 people were involved; half of them drank hibiscus tea once daily and the other half took 25 mg of antihypertensive medicine twice daily. After a month, 79 percent of the tea drinkers experienced a ten point reduction in blood pressure, 84 percent of the ones that took pharmaceutical medicine also experienced the same reduction in blood pressure. Hibiscus is an antioxidant. It has properties that prevents the oxidation of low-density lipoproteins; a substance in our blood that if increased beyond normal quantities may cause high blood pressure.
Imagine not having to spend a small fortune on anti-aging creams and potions. Hibiscus tea has been used for centuries in places like Egypt, China and others to prevent aging. It contains many antioxidants which eliminate the free radicals that are in your body. By eliminating these free radicals, it can effectively slow down the aging process and many studies show that it can actually prolong your life.
3. Weight Loss:
Hibiscus is a natural appetite suppressant. It can help you to lose weight without worrying about taking diet pills or having surgery to shrink your stomach. Just drinking a cup each day will help you to eat less and we all know that eating less is what causes weight loss. The tea also affects how your body will absorb and store carbohydrates and fat. It slows down fat absorption so you are burning more fat as opposed to storing it. It also provides a mild diuretic which helps to flush impurities from your system so you will not have water weight or bloating and it provides a mild laxative effect to keep your system clean.
The flavonoids contained in hibiscus might help you with a number of emotional problems. According to anecdotal evidence and some of the research, a soothing cup of hibiscus tea can help reduce anxiety, improve mood and even help fight depression. An Indian study published in 2012 discovered that certain flavonoids contained in hibiscus tea had antidepressant potential.
5. It Improves Digestion:
Most herbal teas can have a very beneficial effect on your digestive system and hibiscus tea is no exception. It can help relieve constipation, bloating and gas. The polyphenols in hibiscus tea help stimulate the entire digestive system which keeps our entire bodies working more efficiently and helps prevent symptoms associated with poor digestion like stomach upset and heartburn.
6. The Common Cold:
This tea is literally swimming with lots of Vitamin C which will help you to prevent the common cold, flu and other infectious illnesses. If you drink it when you feel the symptoms of a cold coming on, it will help you to get over your cold much more quickly and it has been shown to be very effective in helping open wounds to heal up to twice as quickly.
7. It Boosts the Immune System:
Hibiscus tea is rich in natural antioxidants and vitamin C and is considered an excellent tonic for the immune system. A healthy immune system is vital to our overall health and well-being and can help protect us against common sicknesses like the cold and flu as well as reducing the risk of more serious illness.
8. Heart Disease:
Studies done by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute showed that people who drink at least 14 cups or more every week of tea have the lowest mortality rates in the first few years after a heart attack. Hibiscus tea is widely used to help lower the risk of heart attack and other heart diseases and can help to decrease symptoms.
Hibiscus Tea Side Effects
1. Lower Hormone Levels:
Hibiscus tea is absolutely not recommended for pregnant women or those who are undergoing fertility treatments. It can lower levels of estrogen in the body and can prompt menstruation which could ultimately lead to a miscarriage. Those in their first trimester especially should avoid drinking this tea. Also, any woman undergoing any type of hormone replacement, and this includes taking birth control pills, should also avoid hibiscus tea. Studies have also shown that it can decrease male fertility in some instances.
2. Lower Blood Pressure:
Lowering blood pressure can be considered a benefit or a side effect. Those who already have low blood pressure certainly do not need to drink hibiscus tea because it can lower that pressure even more. Those with hypotension should avoid drinking it unless first checking with their doctor to ensure that their blood pressure is not dangerously low.
Many people have reported feeling a bit drowsy after drinking hibiscus tea. Of course, it does help you to relax and fall asleep so this is not a major side effect. However, if you are planning to drive a car or operate heavy machinery, you should avoid drinking the tea until you are safely at home.
Not everyone who has ever drank this tea has seen polka dotted elephants and flying cars but a few have experience mild hallucinogenic effects. Again, until you know how the tea affects you it is best that you do not operate a motor vehicle or any other machinery.
Please note that the side effects and health benefits listed are for red hibiscus. There are literally more than 200 different types of hibiscus and most of the effects of other types are not known. Make sure that you are drinking tea made from red hibiscus.
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