When there is an effective and natural alternative to pharmaceutical drugs, we owe it to ourselves to explore these alternatives and make use of them whenever possible. Naturally healing foods, including hibiscus, don’t carry the side effects of pharmaceuticals and can often offer similar (or better) benefits, without padding the pockets of Big Pharma companies. This is one example of a natural solution for high blood pressure.
When it comes to high blood pressure, a completely preventable condition, there are many natural solutions. Things like cayenne pepper, apple cider vinegar, and celery are just a few alternatives, along with broad dietary and lifestyle changes. But many people aren’t aware of the blood pressure lowering benefits of hibiscus.
It’s believed these benefits are related to the high concentration of anthocyanins, which work to inhibit angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE). A study published in the Journal of Enthopharmacology affirmed this in looking at folk medicine applications of hibiscus in Mexico.
In 2008, Dr. Diane McKay presented her own research on hibiscus to the annual conference of the American Heart Association. Dr. McKay, of Tufts University, conducted a study on 65 people between the ages of 30 and 70 who had been diagnosed with prehypertension or mild hypertension.
After receiving hibiscus tea daily for six weeks, participants experienced reduced diastolic, systolic, and mean arterial pressures when compared with those who received a placebo. The effects were most pronounced in those with the highest beginning baseline blood pressures.
In another study, scientists received a surprise when looking at the effects of hibiscus tea on blood sugar. The study compared the effects of hibiscus and black teas and found that both impacted cholesterol levels. While the black tea positively influenced HDL levels, hibiscus tea helped keep LDL, HDL, and overall cholesterol at healthy levels.
Though the research may be new, the practice of using hibiscus for healing is not. Around the world, the plant’s leaves and flowers have been eaten and brewed into tea for centuries. Benefits include:
- Lowered blood pressure
- Lowered cholesterol
- Cough suppression
- Skin health
- Improved circulation
Hibiscus is a beautiful tropical plant. But it’s benefits are far more than skin deep. Without side effects, the benefits of hibiscus tea and related preparations make this plant a worthy inclusion in your herbal medicine cabinet.