By Sabyasachi Roy
Hibiscus (Hibiscus Rosa-Sinensis), a wondrous creation of Mother Nature to Mankind. It is mostly grown in Warm Temperate, Tropical and Subtropical Regions across Earth. Hibiscus flowers have various local names, and it might be called by its other rather common name, “Rose Mallow” or “Java Kusum”. They are rich in vitamin C, minerals and various antioxidants and are known for their medicinal value. They are often taken in the form of tea popularly called hibiscus tea. Hibiscus tea is a very popular drink throughout the world and is often used as a medicinal tea.
Hibiscus tea is prepared by boiling or infusing parts of the hibiscus plant, known by its scientific name Hibiscus Rosa-Sinensis, particularly the flower petals. Hibiscus tea is a very popular drink throughout the world and is often used as a medicinal tea. However, hibiscus flowers have various local names, and it might be called by its other rather common name, “Rose Mallow” or “Java Kusum”.
Hibiscus tea is ruby red in color and has a sour taste. Therefore, it is also known as sour tea and has a flavor similar to cranberry. It is widely available on the market throughout the tea-drinking world, and can be consumed hot or cold depending on your preference. This tea is low in calories and caffeine-free.
Health Benefits of Hibiscus Tea
Blood Pressure Management: A report from the IMA (Indian Medical Association) that was published in November of 2008 states that consuming hibiscus tea lowers the blood pressure in pre-hypertensive and mildly hypertensive adults. It also states that 21% of adults in India suffers from high blood pressure, which is also called hypertension. A study conducted by Odigie IP suggests that it has anti-hypertensive and cardio-protective properties that can be beneficial to people suffering from hypertension and those at high risks of various cardiovascular diseases.
According to research done at Tufts University in Boston, due to its anti-inflammatory properties, hibiscus tea can reduce blood pressure by up to 10 points, . For this drastic improvement to occur, you need to consume three cups every day for a few weeks. Also, hibiscus tea has diuretic properties that increase urination, simultaneously lowering blood pressure.
Lowering Cholesterol: Hibiscus tea also has impressive antioxidant properties. It helps to lower levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol from the body, thereby helping to protect against heart disease and protecting blood vessels from damage. The hypolipidemic and hypoglycemic properties of hibiscus tea can be beneficial for those who suffer from blood sugar disorders like diabetes. A research study conducted on patients with type II diabetes suggests that consumption of hibiscus sour tea lowers cholesterol, triglycerides and low density lipo-protein cholesterol, which helps to manage this unpredictable disease.
Protects Liver: Research studies have also suggested that the antioxidant properties of hibiscus tea may also help in treating liver disease. Antioxidants help to protect your body from diseases because they neutralize the free radicals present in body tissues and cells. Therefore, we can confidently say that drinking hibiscus tea could increase your lifespan by maintaining good overall health in many organ systems.
Anti-Cancer Properties: Hibiscus tea contains hibiscus protocatechuic acid which has anti-tumor and antioxidant properties. A study conducted by the Department and Institute of Biochemistry at the Chung Shan Medical and Dental College, in Taichung, Taiwan suggests that hibiscus slows down the growth of cancerous cells by inducing apoptosis, commonly known as programmed cell death.
Anti-Inflammatory and Antibacterial Properties: Hibiscus tea is rich in ascorbic acid, also known as vitamin C. It is an essential nutrient required by your body to boost and stimulate the activity of your immune system. Hibiscus tea is also known for its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Therefore, it prevents you from catching the cold and flu. Hibiscus tea is also used to treat discomfort caused by fever, due to its cooling effect.
Menstrual Pain: The health benefits of hibiscus tea also include relief from cramps and menstrual pain. It helps in restoring hormone balance as well, which can reduce other symptoms of menstruation like mood swings, depression, and overeating.
Antidepressant Properties: Hibiscus tea contains vitamins and minerals like flavonoids which have antidepressant properties. Consumption of hibiscus tea can help to calm down the nervous system, and it may reduce anxiety and depression by creating a relaxed sensation in the body and mind.
Aids Digestion: Many people drink hibiscus tea to improve digestion. It increases both urination and bowel movements. Since it has diuretic properties, it is also used to treat constipation, which helps you lose weight and improve the health of your gastrointestinal system and avoid colorectal cancer.
Satiates Thirst: Hibiscus tea is also used in the same way as sports drinks in order to satiate thirst. For this purpose, an iced form of hibiscus tea is typically consumed. Many people include it in their diet since this variety of the tea has the ability to cool down the body very fast. Also, it is rich in medicinal properties, like being a diuretic, which flushes out excess fluids and toxins from the body and guarantees that you will perform at your best!
Weight Loss: Hibiscus tea is also beneficial for losing weight. If you consume food that is rich in carbohydrates, that means that it contains sugar and starch, so you are likely to gain weight. However, research studies have suggested that hibiscus extract lowers the absorption of starch and glucose and may help with weight loss. Hibiscus inhibits the production of amylase, which helps in the absorption of carbohydrates and starch, so drinking hibiscus tea prevents that absorption from occurring. Therefore, hibiscus tea is found in many weight loss products.
Good for Both Summer and Winter: You can drink hibiscus tea as either a hot tea or an iced tea. If you want to keep yourself warm in the winter, brew it and drink it straight away. It only takes few
minutes to make. In case you do not want to drink it hot, perhaps in the summer, you have the option to drink hibiscus iced tea. It takes about 20 minutes to prepare it properly, and then you can cool yourself off in a healthy, refreshing way.
Great Taste: Hibiscus tea has a taste that is very similar to cranberry juice. It can definitely be described as tart, so you can add sugar or honey to increase the sweetness. Also, you can try adding spices like cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and ginger depending on your taste preferences.
Hibiscus Tea – Side Effects
Although hibiscus tea is a health enhancer and a natural weight loss booster, there are some possible side effects you should be aware of.
Blood Pressure: The health benefits of hibiscus tea include lowering blood pressure (anti-hypertensive property). Therefore, it is not recommended for people that already have low blood pressure, a condition called hypotension. It may cause faintness, dizziness and can even damage the heart or brain if it is consumed by an individual with low blood pressure.
Pregnancy and Fertility: Hibiscus tea is not recommended for pregnant women, particularly due to its emmenagogue effects which may stimulate menstruation or blood flow in the uterus or pelvic region. For those undergoing hormonal treatments or taking birth control pills, it is recommended to consult your health specialist regarding any consumption of hibiscus tea, and let him give you a yes or no.
Hallucinatory Effect: Some people may feel intoxicated or experience hallucination when drinking hibiscus tea. Therefore, you should be somewhat cautious until you know how your body react to the tea. Don’t drive a car or try anything particularly dangerous until you know what its effects are on your system.
Allergy: Some people might develop allergic reactions such as itchy red eyes, sinus, or hay fever when consuming hibiscus tea.
Not many people are aware that almost 15-30% of hibiscus tea is composed of organic acids. These acids are malic acid, tartaric acid and citric acid. These acids are commonly found in many fruits such as grapes and wine. They help in boosting immunity, promoting better skin, lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, managing inflammation, and improving digestive issues. Hibiscus tea has diuretic and choleretic effects, thus controlling blood viscosity by reducing blood pressure and enhancing digestion.