Hibiscus tea, made from the dried petals of the hibiscus flower, is a popular beverage consumed for its tangy, tart flavor and numerous health benefits. In this article, we'll explore the science behind these benefits and examine how drinking hibiscus tea can improve your health and well-being.
1. Lowers Blood Pressure
One of the most well-known health benefits of hibiscus tea is its ability to lower blood pressure. Studies have found that drinking hibiscus tea can help reduce both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in people with hypertension, also known as high blood pressure.1 This effect is likely due to the high levels of antioxidants, such as anthocyanins, in hibiscus tea, which have been shown to help relax blood vessels and improve blood flow.2
2. Supports Heart Health
In addition to lowering blood pressure, hibiscus tea has also been shown to support overall heart health. Research suggests that the antioxidants found in hibiscus tea can help reduce oxidative stress and inflammation in the body.3 Reducing this stress on the body can help preserve heart health and prevent heart disease. Additionally, some studies have found that hibiscus tea may also help lower LDL cholesterol levels, the “bad” type of cholesterol, further reducing the risk of heart disease. 1
3. Boosts Immune System
Hibiscus tea is rich in vitamins C and A, which are both important for a healthy immune system. These vitamins help boost the immune system by fighting off harmful free radicals and supporting the growth and development of white blood cells.4, 5 By drinking hibiscus tea, you can help keep your immune system strong and better equipped to fight off illness and disease.
4. Aids in Weight Loss
For those looking to lose weight, hibiscus tea can be a useful tool. Research suggests that drinking hibiscus tea can improve body composition by reducing body fat accumulation and improve cholesterol metabolism.6 Specifically, the powerful polyphenols in hibiscus tea may influence the expression of genes to improve fat and glucose of the body. 5 Additionally, hibiscus tea is low in calories, making it a great alternative to high-calorie drinks such as soda or juice.
5. Reduces Inflammation
Inflammation is a natural response of the body to injury or infection, but chronic inflammation can contribute to the development of several serious health conditions, including heart disease, cancer, and arthritis. Hibiscus tea has been shown to contain several potent anti-inflammatory compounds, which can help reduce chronic inflammation in the body and protect against the development of these conditions. 3, 4, 5, 6 Hibiscus tea can also reduce inflammation by reducing body fat as outlined in the section above. Learn more about how body fat is linked to inflammation in this blog post.
6. Improves Digestive Health
Hibiscus tea has also been shown to have a number of benefits for digestive health. Some research suggests that hibiscus tea can help reduce symptoms of diarrhea and improve bowel movement.7, 8 Additionally, the fiber content of hibiscus tea can contribute to daily fiber intake, which can support regulate bowel movements and a healthy digestive system.9 Combining hibiscus with probiotics and other herbs that support digestion can boost benefits for the digestive health.
7. Promotes Healthy Skin
The vitamins, antioxidants, and other compounds found in hibiscus tea have synergistic effects that can promote healthy skin and potentially reverse skin aging.10 Research suggests that the polyphenols and antioxidants in hibiscus tea may help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by preventing the breakdown of collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid.11 Additionally, the anti-inflammatory effects of hibiscus tea can help reduce redness and inflammation in the skin.
8. Supports Healthy Liver Function
The liver plays a crucial role in the body, filtering out harmful toxins and supporting overall health and metabolism. Some research suggests that hibiscus tea may help support healthy liver function by reducing oxidative stress and inflammation in the liver.12, 13 Additionally, hibiscus tea has been shown to help improve liver function in people with liver disease, making it a useful tool for supporting a healthy liver.14
- Lucy R Ellis, Sadia Zulfiqar, Mel Holmes, Lisa Marshall, Louise Dye, Christine Boesch, A systematic review and meta-analysis of the effects of Hibiscus sabdariffaon blood pressure and cardiometabolic markers, Nutrition Reviews, Volume 80, Issue 6, June 2022, Pages 1723–1737, https://doi.org/10.1093/nutrit/nuab104
- Yanna Zhu, Min Xia, Yan Yang, Fengqiong Liu, Zhongxia Li, Yuantao Hao, Mantian Mi, Tianru Jin, Wenhua Ling, Purified Anthocyanin Supplementation Improves Endothelial Function via NO-cGMP Activation in Hypercholesterolemic Individuals, Clinical Chemistry, Volume 57, Issue 11, 1 November 2011, Pages 1524–1533, https://doi.org/10.1373/clinchem.2011.167361
- Chiung-Huei Peng, Charng-Cherng Chyau, Kuei-Chuan Chan, Tsung-Hsien Chan, Chau-Jong Wang, and Chien-Ning Huang. Hibiscus sabdariffa Polyphenolic Extract Inhibits Hyperglycemia, Hyperlipidemia, and Glycation-Oxidative Stress while Improving Insulin Resistance. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 2011 59 (18), 9901-9909. DOI: 10.1021/jf2022379
- R M Khadim and F S Al-Fartusie, Antioxidant vitamins and their effect on immune system, J. Phys.: Conf. Ser. 2021. 1853 012065. DOI 10.1088/1742-6596/1853/1/012065
- Herranz-López M, Olivares-Vicente M, Encinar JA, Barrajón-Catalán E, Segura-Carretero A, Joven J, Micol V. Multi-Targeted Molecular Effects of Hibiscus sabdariffa Polyphenols: An Opportunity for a Global Approach to Obesity. Nutrients. 2017; 9(8):907. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu9080907
- Ojulari OV, Lee SG, Nam J-O. Beneficial Effects of Natural Bioactive Compounds from Hibiscus sabdariffa L. on Obesity. Molecules. 2019; 24(1):210. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24010210
- Sarkar, M. R., Hossen, S. M., Howlader, M. S. I., Rahman, M. A., & Dey, A. (2012). Anti-diarrheal, Analgesic and Anti-microbial activities of the plant Lalmesta (Hibiscus sabdariffa): A review. International Journal of Pharmaceutical and Life Sciences, 1(3). https://doi.org/10.3329/ijpls.v1i3.12978
- MO Owulade, KI Eghianruwa, and FO Daramola. Effects of aqueous extracts of Hibiscus sabdariffa calyces and ocimun gratissimum leaves on interstinal transit in rats. African Journal of Biomedical Research. 2004; 7(1). DOI: 10.4314/ajbr.v7i1.54063
- Sonia G. Sáyago-Ayerdi, Sara Arranz, José Serrano, and Isabel Goñi. Dietary Fiber Content and Associated Antioxidant Compounds in Roselle Flower (Hibiscus sabdariffa L.) Beverage. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 2007 55 (19), 7886-7890. DOI: 10.1021/jf070485b
- Wang D, Nagata M, Matsumoto M, Amen Y, Wang D, Shimizu K. Potential of Hibiscus sabdariffa L. and Hibiscus Acid to Reverse Skin Aging. Molecules. 2022; 27(18):6076. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules27186076
- Wahyu Widowati, Andani Puspita Rani, R. Amir Hamzah, Seila Arumwardana, Ervi Afifah, Hanna Sari W. Kusuma, Dwi Davidson Rihibiha, Hayatun Nufus, Annisa Amalia. Antioxidant and Antiaging Assays of Hibiscus sabdariffa Extract and Its Compounds. Natural Product Sciences 2017; 23(3): 192-200. DOI: https://doi.org/10.20307/nps.2017.23.3.192
- Liang-Chih Liu, Chau-Jong Wang, Ching-Chih Lee, Sheng-Chi Su, Huei-Lin Chen, Jen-Dong Hsu, Huei-Jane Lee. Aqueous extract of Hibiscus sabdariffa L. decelerates acetaminophen-induced acute liver damage by reducing cell death and oxidative stress in mouse experimental models. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. 2010; 90(2). https://doi.org/10.1002/jsfa.3821
- H. Tseng, E.S. Kao, C.Y. Chu, F.P. Chou, H.W. Lin Wu, C.J. Wang. Protective effects of dried flower extracts of Hibiscus sabdariffa L. against oxidative stress in rat primary hepatocytes. Food and Chemical Toxicology. 1997; 35 (12). https://doi.org/10.1016/S0278-6915(97)85468-3
- Hong-Chou Chang, Chiung-Huei Peng, Da-Ming Yeh, Erl-Shyh Kao, and Chau-Jong Wang. Hibiscus sabdariffa extract inhibits obesity and fat accumulation, and improves liver steatosis in humans. Food & Function. 2014; 4. https://doi.org/10.1039/C3FO60495K