If you enjoy herbal teas and you’re looking for a natural substance to lower your blood pressure, hibiscus tea may be the beverage for you. Hibiscus tea is created from flowers of the Hibiscus sabdariffa plant, and it’s a common ingredient in herbal tea blends. Research has found that drinking hibiscus tea reduces blood pressure in people with mild and borderline hypertension.
Pre-hypertension or blood pressure considered high normal, ranges from 120 to 139 mm Hg for systolic blood pressure, the top number, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Pre-hypertension ranges from 80 to 89 mm Hg for the diastolic pressure (the bottom number) and mildly high systolic blood pressure ranges from 140 to 159 mm Hg and diastolic from 90 to 99 mm Hg.
Research presented in the February 2010 issue of the “Journal of Nutrition” evaluated the effects of hibiscus tea on people with mild hypertension and pre-hypertension. After six weeks, the participants drinking three servings per day of hibiscus tea had an average drop of about 7 mm Hg in their systolic pressure, while the group drinking a placebo beverage had an average drop of about 1 mm Hg. The serving size was about 8 ounces, or one cup. The change in diastolic pressure was not significantly different in the two groups.
Although the effect may seem small, that average reduction in systolic pressure could move someone with pre-hypertension into the normal range and from mild high blood pressure into the borderline group. Those improvements can reduce the risk of stroke or heart attack. In addition, participants with systolic blood pressure higher than 129 mm Hg at the start of the study experienced a more dramatic effect. Their average reduction in systolic pressure was nearly 14 mm Hg after six weeks. These participants also experienced significant decreases in diastolic blood pressure.
Other researchers found hibiscus tea to be effective for decreasing systolic blood pressure in participants with Type 2 diabetes and pre-hypertension or mild high blood pressure. This study was published in the “Journal of Human Hypertension” in January 2009. The average systolic blood pressure plunged nearly 22 mm Hg in the group drinking hibiscus tea twice daily for one month. The other group, who had been drinking black tea instead, experienced an increase in their average systolic blood pressure. Neither tea had a significant effect on diastolic blood pressure.
Because hypertension is a serious condition, consult your doctor about ways to lower your blood pressure into a normal range. Hibiscus tea might be part of a program including diet changes and exercise, or a complementary therapy in addition to conventional medicine. Don’t stop taking your blood pressure medicine without the approval and supervision of your doctor.
Hibiscus tea has a deep red color, a light fragrance and an earthy, sour flavor. If you like your teas sweeter, add a little sugar or honey. You can enjoy this herbal tea hot or cold.