Hibiscus tea can be made from the parts of the hibiscus plants in boiling water.
It can be enjoyed hot or cold and has a tart taste similar to cranberries.
There are many species of hibiscus, each with its own unique climate and location. However, Hibiscus Sabdariffa is the most common way to make hibiscus Tea.
A variety of health benefits have been linked to hibiscus Tea, including lower blood pressure, fighting bacteria, and weight loss.
This article outlines 8 benefits of hibiscus Tea.
1. Antioxidants packed in a bag
Antioxidants are molecules which help to fight free radicals that can cause cell damage.
Hibiscus tea is high in powerful antioxidants, which may help to prevent disease and damage from free radicals.
One study on rats showed that hibiscus extract increased antioxidant enzymes in the body and decreased the harmful effects of free-radicals by as much as 92% ( 1Trusted source).
A second study on rats revealed similar results, showing that certain parts of the hibiscus plants, like the leaves, have potent antioxidant properties ( 2Trusted Source).
Keep in mind, however, that these animal studies used concentrated doses hibiscus extract. To determine how antioxidants in the hibiscus extract may affect humans, more research is needed.
Summary Animal research has shown that hibiscus extract is an antioxidant. Further studies are required to see how this could translate to humans.
2. May Lower Blood Pressure
One of the most well-known and impressive benefits of hibiscus is its ability to lower blood pressure.
High blood pressure can cause the heart to become weaker over time. A higher risk of developing heart disease is also linked to high blood pressure ( 3Trusted source).
Numerous studies have shown that hibiscus can lower blood pressure in both diastolic as well as systolic ways.
65 high blood pressure patients were randomly assigned to either hibiscus or placebo in a study. The hibiscus-tea drinkers experienced a significant drop in their systolic blood pressure after six weeks ( 4Trusted source).
A 2015 review of five studies also found that hibiscus Tea decreased both Systolic (and Diastolic) blood pressure by an average 7.58 mmHg compared to 3.53 mmHg respectively ( 5Trusted source).
Although hibiscus can be an effective and safe way to lower blood pressure in a natural way, it is not recommended by those who are taking hydrochlorothiazide (6Trusted Source).
Summary Studies have shown that hibiscus can lower blood pressure. To avoid an interaction, it should not be consumed with hydrochlorothiazide.
3. May Help Lower Blood Fat Levels
Some studies show that hibiscus can help lower blood pressure. This is another risk factor for developing heart disease.
60 diabetics were randomly assigned to either black or hibiscus-tea. After one month, those who consumed hibiscus tea had an increase in HDL cholesterol, decreased total cholesterol and triglycerides ( 7Trusted Source).
A second study on patients with metabolic syndrome found that 100mg of hibiscus extract per day was associated with lower total cholesterol and higher “good” HDL cholesterol ( 8Trusted Source).
Other studies however have shown conflicting results about hibiscus’s effect on blood cholesterol.
A review of six studies involving 474 participants found that hibiscus did not significantly lower blood cholesterol or triglyceride levels. 9Trusted source
Additionally, studies that show a reduction in blood fat have only been done on patients with metabolic syndrome or diabetes.
To determine the potential impact of hibiscus on the general population, more large-scale studies are required to examine the effects of the tea on blood cholesterol levels and triglyceride levels.
Summary Studies have shown that hibiscus can lower blood cholesterol and triglycerides for people with metabolic syndrome and diabetes. Other studies however have shown conflicting results. The general population needs more research.
4. May Boost Liver Health
Your liver is vital to your overall health. It produces proteins, secretes bile, and breaks down fat.
Studies have found that hibiscus can improve liver health and keep it functioning efficiently.
A study of 19 overweight individuals found that 12 weeks of hibiscus extract improved liver steatosis. This condition can be described by an accumulation of liver fat, which can lead liver failure ( 10Trusted source).
Study in hamsters also showed that hibiscus extract can protect the liver ( 11Trusted source).
Another animal study found that rats receiving hibiscus extract from a plant increased their liver concentrations by as much as 65% ( 12Trusted Source).
These studies, however, were focused on hibiscus extract and not hibiscus. To understand how hibiscus tea impacts liver health in humans, further research is required.
Summary Both human and animal studies have shown that hibiscus extract can improve liver health by increasing drug detoxifying enzymes, reducing liver damage, and fatty liver.
5. This could promote weight loss
Numerous studies have shown that hibiscus can help you lose weight and prevent obesity.
In one study, 36 participants were given either hibiscus extract (or a placebo) to lose weight. After 12 weeks, hibiscus extract showed a reduction in body weight, body fat and hip-to waist ratio ( 10Trusted Source).
Similar results were found in an animal study, which showed that obese mice receiving hibiscus extract for 60-days led to a decrease in body weight ( 13Trusted Source).
The current research is limited to concentrated doses of hibiscus tea extract. To determine how hibiscus can affect weight loss in humans, more research is needed.
Summary Some studies in humans and animals have shown that hibiscus extract can help reduce body weight and body body fat. However, more research is needed.
6. It contains compounds that may help prevent cancer
Hibiscus contains high levels of Polyphenols. These are compounds that have powerful anti-cancer properties ( 14Trusted Source).
Experiments in test tubes have shown impressive results for the potential effects of hibiscus extracts on cancer cells.
One test-tube study showed that hibiscus extract inhibited cell growth and decreased the invasiveness and incidence of plasma and mouth cancers ( 15Trusted Source).
Another test-tube study showed that human prostate cancer cells were prevented from spreading by hibiscus extract ( 16Trusted source).
In other tests-tube studies, stomach cancer cells were also inhibited by Hibiscus extract ( 17Trusted Source, 18Trusted Source).
These were done in a test tube using large amounts of hibiscus tea extract. To evaluate the effects of hibiscus on cancer, more research is needed in humans.
Summary Test tube studies have shown that hibiscus extract decreases the spread and growth of prostate, stomach, and plasma cancer cells. To evaluate the effects of hibiscus tea, human studies are required.
7. This could help fight bacteria
Bacteria is a single-celled microorganism that can cause a wide range of infections. These infections include bronchitis, pneumonia, and urinary tract infections.
Some tests have shown that hibiscus may be able to fight bacterial infections, in addition to its anticancer and antioxidant properties.
One test-tube study actually found that E. was inhibited by hibiscus extract. E.coli is a strain that can cause cramping, gas, and diarrhea (19Trusted source).
Another test-tube study revealed that the extract was effective against eight types of bacteria ( 20Trusted source).
However, human studies of the antibacterial properties of hibiscus have not been done. It is therefore unclear how this information may be translated to humans.
Summary Some strains of bacteria can be killed by hibiscus extract, according to test-tube results. Further research is required to understand how hibiscus extract may impact bacterial infections in humans.
8. Flavorful and easy to make
Apart from the many health benefits, hibiscus is also delicious and easy to make at home.
Add dried hibiscus flowers and boiling water to a pot. Allow it to steep for 5 minutes. Then strain it and sweeten the tea.
Hibiscus tea is hot or cold, and it has a tart flavor similar to cranberries.
To balance out the tartness, you can sweeten it with honey or add a squeeze of lime to flavor it.
You can buy dried hibiscus at your local health food shop or online. You can also find pre-made bags of hibiscus tea. These tea bags can be brewed in hot water and then removed to be enjoyed.
Summary You can make hibiscus tea by boiling hibiscus flowers for five minutes in hot water. You can drink it hot or cold. It has a tart flavor that can be sweetened with honey, or flavored with lime.
The bottom line
Hibiscus tea has many health benefits.
You can also make it at home with a tart, delicious flavor.
Test-tube and animal studies have shown that hibiscus can aid in weight loss, heart health, liver health, and even fight against cancer and other diseases.
The majority of current research is restricted to animal and test-tube studies with high levels of hibiscus extract. These benefits could also be applicable to people who consume hibiscus tea. More research is needed.