Rather than a plastic bottle from the pharmacy, your next ally in the battle against high blood pressure might come from your garden. Revealing that hibiscus rests among the many foods that help lower blood pressure, multiple studies have shown that drinking tea made from the flowers of hibiscus sabdariffa effectively lowers blood pressure in individuals whose levels put them at increased risk of stroke, heart disease and kidney failure.
Foods that Help Lower Blood Pressure Includes Hibiscus Tea
Dr. Diane McKay, a scientist from the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston, presented her research to the annual conference of the American Heart Association.
In McKay’s study, 65 individuals ranging from 30 to 70 years of age and classified as prehypertensive or mildly hypertensive were split into two groups. One group consumed three cups of hibiscus tea daily for six weeks, the other received a placebo beverage of similar appearance and taste. At the conclusion of the study, the tea-drinkers showed reduced systolic, diastolic and mean arterial pressures. The effect was similar to that of single-agent pharmaceutical anti-hypertensive therapy, and most pronounced in patients with the highest baseline blood pressure.
Study participants reported no side effects, and Dr. McKay noted that in Nigeria, where the per capita consumption of hibiscus tea is reported to be equivalent to 25 cups daily, no adverse events had been reported.
A study published in Phytomedicine reported similar results among 70 hypertensive adults who drank tea made from a standardized extract of hibiscus flower once a day for four weeks.
Taking a slightly different approach to demonstrating the hibiscus flower’s ability to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, scientists in Taiwan reported in the Journal of the Science of Food Agriculture that hibiscus tea significantly lowered the cholesterol content in blood serum of animals.
Becoming more known among the many foods that help lower blood pressure, hibiscus and hibiscus tea have been used as traditional medicine all over the world to treat a wide range of maladies, including coughs, high blood pressure, hyperlipidemia, and cardiovascular disease. It is also consumed regularly in Okinawa, where it is associated with longevity; in Egypt and Sudan where traditional wedding ceremonies are celebrated with a cupful; and in Senegal, where it enjoys the status of ‘national drink.’
The flower’s medicinal effect is thought to be related to the natural angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor activity of its highly concentrated anthocyanins, as well as its diuretic effect. Anthocyanins are antioxidants also found in red grapes, blueberries, cherries, currants and açaí that have been widely studied for their vast potential health benefits ranging from widespread anti-inflammatory effects to protection against aging and neurological disease to inhibition of cancerous tumor cells.
Other Foods that Help Lower Blood Pressure
Joining coconut water, apple cider vinegar, vitamin D, aloe vera and cayenne pepper as potential natural home remedies for high blood pressure, hibiscus tea may just be the most promising yet. I’ll drink to that.