Hibiscus tea is both delicious and one of the most effective natural remedies for high blood pressure. Studies show Hibiscus tea is as effective for lowering blood pressure as some prescribed antihypertensive drug treatments.
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Hibiscus tea for blood pressure
Hibiscus tea is made from the fleshy red calyx surrounding the flower buds of Hibiscus sabdariffa, a tropical plant known as Roselle.
Hibiscus tea is made by infusing the dried sepals and calyces in boiling water for around 10 minutes until the water turns a rich red. It can be drunk hot or chilled and is a popular, refreshing drink known as agua de Jamaica or sour tea. Hibiscus tea can be sweetened, but stevia is a better choice than adding sugar.
The blood pressure lowering action of Hibiscus tea is mostly due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects on blood vessel walls to improve their elasticity and ability to dilate.
Hibiscus tea versus captopril
The blood pressure lowering effects of Hibiscus tea were compared against the ACE inhibitor drug, captopril, in 75 people with untreated hypertension.
One group drank Hibiscus sabdariffa tea (made using 10g dry calyx) every day before breakfast, while another group were started on captopril (25 mg twice a day).
After 4 weeks treatment, blood pressure in both groups was reduced by an average of 15.32/ 11.29 mmHg – there were no significant differences between the treatments suggesting that hibiscus tea is as effective in reducing high blood pressure as the prescribed drug, captopril.
Hibiscus tea versus lisinopril
Another study, involving 171 people with high blood pressure, compared the effects of an Hibiscus tea (250mg anthocyanin extracts dissolved in water) drunk daily before breakfast, against the ACE inhibitor drug, lisinopril (10mg).
In those taking the hibiscus tea, blood pressure fell by 17.14/11.97 mmHg, while those on lisinopril say their blood pressure decreased by 23.31/15.39mHg.
While lisinopril did produce a greater fall in blood pressure, the results achieved by drinking hibiscus tea were almost as impressive.
Blood tests also confirmed a significant ACE inhibition with the hibiscus tea.
Hibiscus tea versus a thiazide diuretic
One group drank hibiscus tea every morning before breakfast, one group were started on hydrochlorothiazide (25mg) while a third group took placebo. After 4 weeks, both the hydrochlorothiazide and the hibiscus tea reduced blood pressure significantly more than placebo.
Overall, hibiscus tea was more effective than the thiazide diuretic in treating mild to moderate hypertension, and the effects showed a longer duration of action after treatment was stopped.
Hibiscus tea for high blood pressure in people with type 2 diabetes
People with diabetes often develop high blood pressure, and this can be difficult to treat. The effects of hibiscus sour tea were compared with black tea in 60 people with both diabetes and untreated hypertension.
Half were asked to drink hibiscus tea, and half were asked to drink black tea twice a day for one month.
In those drinking hibiscus tea, blood pressure decreased by an average of -21.7/1.1 mmHg, while in those drinking black tea, systolic blood pressure increased by an average of +8.7/3.3 mmHg.
Have you tried hibiscus tea for blood pressure?
The evidence is overwhelming that this refreshing drink, used as a traditional herbal medicine for hypertension, is effective at lowering a raised blood pressure.
Overall, the pooled results from five clinical trials, involving 390 people, confirm that drinking hibiscus sour tea can lower blood pressure by an average of 7.58 /3.53 mmHg.
Have you tried it? What did you think?
If your blood pressure is raised, self-monitoring is important to maintain good control.
Click here for advice on choosing a blood pressure monitor to use at home.