The ability to lower blood pressure naturally is just 1 of many hibiscus tea benefits. The medicinal properties of Hibiscus rosa sinensis or tropical hibiscus flowers is that they are astringent, cooling to the body, emollient and soothing to irritated tissue and capable of relaxing certain types of muscle spasms.
Roselle tea, made from the flowers and calyxes of Hibiscus sabdarifa, has similar uses.
An infusion of hibiscus flowers is used as a cooling, healthy drink in many hot countries.
This same drink is also sometimes used to remedy heavy or painful menstruation.
One of the most important benefits of hibiscus tea is its ability to naturally lower blood pressure.
A small, randomized study conducted at Tufts University in 2008* demonstrated that consuming 3 cups of Hibiscus sabdariffa L. tea each day reduced systolic blood pressure by 7-14mm Hg in people with mild hypertension.
The study included 65 participants between the ages of 30 and 70.
This blood pressure lowering effect may be caused by the anthocyanins and other bioflavinoids contained in the flower petals or by their ability to act as an ACE inhibitor.
Scientists are not yet certain how hibiscus lowers blood pressure.
There are two hibiscus species that are commonly used medicinally: H. rosa sinensis and H. sabdariffa. The flowers and leaves of both species can be steeped in very hot (but not boiling) water for 5 minutes to make a tea.
The flowers are more often used than the leaves as the leaves can have a mild laxative effect.
Both species have similar properties and uses though they are not exactly the same. These two species are ingested by island people world wide and are known to be safe. I have personally drunk teas made from both plants many times and can vouch for their safety.
Tiny and I were introduced to a roselle tea iced drink while vacationing on the island of St. Croix that we couldn't get enough of.
I cannot say whether it would be safe to use other hibiscus species.
One more of the benefits of hibiscus tea is its efficacy as a skin lotion. This is due to its emollients. Just steep and cool the tea to room temp. Then use a cotton ball to apply it to any irritated skin. It 's very soothing. I used tropical hibiscus for this. I don't know if roselle tea would work as well.
In order to reap these hibiscus tea benefits you've got to be able to get hold of some. Hibiscus is commonly added to commercial tea blends. The Celestial Seasonings line makes frequent use of it.
The problem with a blend is that the amount of hibiscus may be too low to do you much good. Also, the other herbs in the blend will have some effect on you. This may be desirable. Or not.
Davidson's tea is the pure, organic single herb. I could not find out which hibiscus species this is but some of the reviewers on Amazon.com claim that it lowered their blood pressure after drinking it for 1 month. My blood pressure has been slightly high lately so I'm going to try it.
Update: Hibiscus tea lowered my blood pressure from 152/90 to 142/89 after drinking 1 cup per day (I admit I skipped the occasional day) for 3 weeks. I'm going to try drinking 2 cups daily to see if I can reduce it further.Update #2:
After 3 more weeks on the 1 cup a day regimen, my blood pressure has come down to 130/87. I'm very pleased with the results so I'm going to stick with this dosage.
Hibiscus Punch Tea (bags) is a very tasty blend. I recommend it for people who don't like the taste of single herbs. An herbal tea blend is mixed with taste in mind. Singles are used for therapeutic purposes without regard for taste.
You will obtain the maximum hibiscus tea benefits by using the single herb.
Hibiscus tea benefits are contained in the dried flower petals of the red flowers. The red blooms are used because they contain more bioflavinoids than some of the other colors.
You can use the plants in your back yard if you have the right species and do not spray them.
Fresh petals may also be used.
Pick the flowers while they are open and the petals are flat.
Remove the stamens. Gently rinse the petals in a bowl of clean water. Shake the water off and lay the delicate petals on a white paper towel just until the excess moisture is absorbed. Don't leave them too long or they will stick to the paper.
Transfer the nearly dry petals to a plate to finish drying. A ceiling fan is helpful. When you are sure the petals are completely dry, store them in a glass jar.
Steep a teaspoon of dried petals in a cup of hot water to enjoy all the hibiscus tea benefits listed in this article. Sweeten your cup with any sweetener you like.
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