There are hundreds of Hibiscus species distributed in warm-temperate, subtropical, and tropical regions of the world. Many of them are known as simply ornamental plants but many also are known as medicinal plants. For many centuries, medicinal Hibiscus has been used to make tea or infusion for the treatment of different illnesses.
Hibiscus sabdariffa, commonly called as Roselle, is a commonly used species in making Hibiscus tea. Its sepals or calyces (petal-like structure at the base of the flower) are used to make an herbal tea which is a popular beverage in many Asian, African, and Caribbean countries.
Different countries have their own unique ways of preparing Hibiscus tea. In China, for example, Hibiscus tea is blended with other teas like black tea. In Cambodia, Hibiscus tea is mixed with lime juice and sweeteners (sugar or honey) and then served as a cold drink. In Jamaica, Hibiscus tea is usually mixed with Jamaican rum or wine. Hibiscus tea can be served as either cold or warm; the flavor and aroma would still be the same. However, more people prefer drinking warm Hibiscus tea.
Since time immemorial, Hibiscus tea is known for its health benefits and therapeutic uses which you are going to learn below.
Hibiscus Tea Health Benefits
Hibiscus tea is rich in anthocyanins and bioflavonoids that serve as powerful antioxidants in the body. These antioxidants neutralize free radicals that damage our cells. Free radicals are produced during normal cellular metabolism. They should be neutralized by antioxidants before they cause any damage to cell structures. Free radicals are associated to cancer, premature aging, heart disease, and metabolic diseases. Drinking a cup of Hibiscus tea a day is a great way of preventing these diseases.
Researchers at Chung Shan Medical University in Taiwan found that antioxidants in Hibiscus tea can lower blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Reduction of blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels will lower the risk of heart disease by reducing cholesterol plaques accumulated in arteries. These plaques can block the flow of blood causing heart attack and stroke.
There were research studies that found the effectiveness of drinking Hibiscus tea in lowering blood pressure. The potency of Hibiscus tea was even compared to the anti-hypertensive drug Captopril. Drinking Hibiscus tea is greatly recommended to people with hypertension.
Hibiscus tea is also an herbal diuretic. It increases urination and reduces blood volume, contributing to blood pressure reduction.
Drinking Hibiscus tea can also contribute to weight loss as it contains an enzyme inhibitor that block the action of amylase, the enzyme that breaks down carbohydrates into their absorbable forms. Reducing the amount of carbohydrates absorbed into our body will result to weight loss.
Hibiscus tea has also been use in centuries as herbal remedy for fever. In a research study, Hibiscus exhibited fever lowering (antipyretic) properties in rats. The researchers suggested that the mechanism of action of Hibiscus is different from aspirin, a drug that lowers fever.
Hibiscus tea is claimed to protect the liver from damage by removing unwanted chemicals. However, more scientific studies are needed to prove this Hibiscus health benefits.