Though you might be set in your afternoon chai routine, or have never even considered subbing your energizing cup of English Breakfast with something new, it may be time to think about hibiscus tea which is steeped with (pun intended) health benefits. The herbal tea made from soaking the hibiscus plant in hot water, has a tart flavor, similar to cranberry juice. Sip it hot or cold and it may just improve your well-being. Ready to pour yourself a cup? Here are the potential health benefits of hibiscus tea you may experience. Cheers!
1. Hibiscus tea is loaded with antioxidants.
This caffeine-free beverage is a great source of antioxidants, which help fight free radicals and reduce oxidative damage.
Free radicals and oxidative damage attack your cells and exacerbate the aging process (hello wrinkles!), while also raising your risk for illness and disease. Various studies have shown links between free radical damage and prevalence of dementia, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, among others, so you want to keep those bad boys away as best as possible.
2. It may be good for your heart.
Studies have shown that drinking hibiscus tea offers heart-healthy benefits, such as lowering blood pressure. “In a study in The Journal of Nutrition, adults with high blood pressure who consumed three servings of 8-ounce glasses of hibiscus tea daily for six weeks saw a decrease in their overall blood pressure,” says Natalie Rizzo, MS, RD, author of The No-Brainer Nutrition Guide For Every Runner. Just note, this was a small study of 65 participants. Still, another review found that drinking this herbal tea lowered both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
However, definitely discuss this beverage with your physician first if you’ve had any heart complications. “One point to note is that while hibiscus tea may be a safe and natural way to help lower blood pressure, it’s not recommended for people taking hydrochlorothiazide, a type of diuretic used to treat high blood pressure, which may interact with the drug,” Michalczyk says.
3. Hibiscus tea has been associated with weight loss.
Hibiscus isn’t a substitute for a healthy diet and exercise—it won’t magically get rid of weight, but it could play a role thanks to its diuretic properties. “The key word here is that it could help with weight loss. More research is definitely needed to make this connection,” says Michalczyk.
One study, found that consumption of hibiscus extract for 12 weeks resulted in a lower body weight, less abdominal fat, and a lower BMI in overweight/obese people. However, extract is more concentrated than tea, so results won’t be as strong.
By Isadora Baum