Hibiscus sabdariffa Tea Reducing Blood Pressure

Hibiscus sabdariffa is also known as roselle, red sorrel, Jamaican sorrel, sour-sour and Florida cranberry. Hibiscus sabdariffa L. (Hs, roselle; Malvaceae) has been used traditionally as a food, in herbal drinks, in hot and cold beverages, as a flavouring agent in the food industry and as a herbal medicine.

In vitro and in vivo studies as well as some clinical trials provide some evidence mostly for phytochemically poorly characterised Hs extracts. Extracts showed antibacterial, anti-oxidant, nephro- and hepato-protective, renal/diuretic effect, effects on lipid metabolism (anti-cholesterol), anti-diabetic and anti-hypertensive effects among others. This might be linked to strong antioxidant activities, inhibition of α-glucosidase and α-amylase, inhibition of angiotensin-converting enzymes (ACE), and direct vaso-relaxant effect or calcium channel modulation. Phenolic acids (esp. protocatechuic acid), organic acid (hydroxycitric acid and hibiscus acid) and anthocyanins (delphinidin-3-sambubioside and cyanidin-3-sambubioside) are likely to contribute to the reported effects.

Recent studies show that hibiscus tea can naturally lower blood pressure as effectively as some standard hypertension drugs. This isn’t brand-new information, as hibiscus has been used to treat high blood pressure in both African and Asian traditional medicine. In a clinical trial performed in 2004 and published in the journal Phytomedicine, hibiscus tea lowered the blood pressure of people with hypertension. In fact, it was as effective as the popular prescription medication captopril.

Similarly, in a study presented to the American Heart Association in 2008, researchers found that drinking three cups of hibiscus tea a day lowered blood pressure by as much as 13.2 percent in pre- and mildly hypertensive adults. Researchers have a few possible explanations for this. Hibiscus is a natural diuretic, it opens the arteries, and it may act as a natural angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor, meaning that it slows the release of hormones that constrict blood vessels.

While more research is needed, many experts believe that incorporating hibiscus tea into a daily diet will prove beneficial for hypertensive patients.

How to Make Hibiscus Tea
To harvest hibiscus calyxes for tea, simply snap off the calyxes with your hands when they are fully grown, but still tender. Use clippers to harvest hardened stems. Then, add 1 teaspoon dried calyxes to 1 cup boiling water. Steep for 5 to 10 minutes, and enjoy.

Higher doses of Roselle do exert toxic effects, although none of these toxic effects have been reported in humans (that being said, they have not conclusively been disproven either). It would be prudent to avoid taking too much Roselle, especially since many benefits of Roselle (elaborating on in complete summary) are not dose-dependent above the lowest observable toxic dose of 2.2g/150lb human.

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