(NaturalNews) Hibiscus is a greatly appreciated herb that usually grows in tropical areas around the globe. It was first discovered in Angola but its pleasing taste has become very popular through time amongst the North African, Middle Eastern and even European populations. It just also happens to be the state flower of Hawaii.
Although natives of India like to eat its dried leaves as if they were eating vegetables, most people prefer to make teas out of them and as a matter of fact, most teas happen to include hibiscus. It's a natural antioxidant that also has anti-cholesterol properties, but most importantly it can effectively lower blood pressure. Some of its most important alkaloids are quercetin and anthocyanins, with the latter seemingly having the most impact. Hibiscus has basically shown through many studies that it can work wonders with the cardiovascular system by opening the arteries and slowing the release of blood vessel-constricting hormones.
It seems to work exceptionally well with cases of either low or mild hypertension. A study from 2007 showed that by giving participants consistent doses of 250 mg of a dried powdered hibiscus extract, blood pressure was maintained at healthy levels.
Research shows that hibiscus tea can lower blood pressure
In 2010 the Journal of Nutrition reported on a study that took place in the US with researchers aiming to find out if hibiscus had antihypertensive properties when confronted with mild cases of high blood pressure. Sixty-five individuals between the ages of 30 and 70 volunteered to take part in the trials for a period of six weeks. When compared with the placebo, the biggest change occurred with systolic pressure levels. Regardless of age, the hibiscus extract seemed to have a greater impact with individuals having higher systolic levels from the start.
Some tests done in 2007 showed hibiscus has the ability to normalize cholesterol levels. Forty-two individuals were given various doses of hibiscus extracts during a few weeks. Researchers noted that in order for cholesterol to remain at healthy levels, the most efficient dose hovered around 1000 mg being taken three times per day.
In a study that mostly included women out of a total of 60 participants, scientists were able to compare the effects between black tea and hibiscus tea. Although the main goal was to study blood sugar levels, after one month they realized that hibiscus was responsible for keeping LDL, HDL and the overall cholesterol at healthy levels. While hibiscus was effective across the board, black tea only positively influenced HDL levels.