Oct 2, 20220 comments

Hibiscus sabdariffa is an annual bushy plant that is generally grown in tropical and subtropical regions. Fresh or dried calyces are what is commonly used for medicinal purposes though the stems, leaves, and seeds can also be used for many other purposes. Hibiscus can be used to make various beverages including hot or cold tea, wine, fermented drinks, and jams. It can also be used in a variety of desserts.

It helps relax smooth muscles, is antimicrobial, antiparasitic, and is a potent antioxidant. It is also protective of the kidneys and liver. Additionally, research indicates it can help balance blood sugar, help lower cholesterol, and may have applications for weight loss support. Because it is high in ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), it also helps increase the absorption of minerals such as iron, zinc, and calcium. Hibiscus is perhaps most studied for its ability to lower blood pressure. Its mild diuretic and angiotensin-converting enzymes (ACE) inhibiting action contribute to this effect.

With its many positive effects, you can easily add hibiscus to your weekly routine. You can buy it in tea bags or in bulk to make hot or cold drinks. Hibiscus is generally well-tolerated in tea form, but it may cause liver damage at higher, prolonged doses. It can also interact with certain medications so it’s recommended to consult with your doctor before adding hibiscus regularly to your routine.

Da-Costa-Rocha, Inรชs et al. 2014. “Hibiscus sabdariffa L.-A phytochemical and Pharmacological Review.” Food chemistry; 165: 424-43. doi:10.1016/j.foodchem.2014.05.002

Ellis, Lucy et al. 2022. “A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of the Effects of Hibiscus sabdariffa on Blood Pressure and Cardiometabolic Markers.” Nutrition Reviews; 80(6); 1723-1737. https://doi.org/10.1093/nutrit/nuab104

Serban, Corina et al. 2015. “Effect of Sour Tea (Hibiscus sabdariffa L.) on Arterial Hypertension: a Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials.” Journal of Hypertension; 33(6): 1119-27. doi:10.1097/HJH.0000000000000585

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