The seed pod of a wild rose plant, rosehip has been used to treat indigestion, arthritis, colds and the flu. Hibiscus, a red-flowered shrub, is commonly used in herbal teas because of its pleasant taste. Medicinally, hibiscus has been used to treat upset stomach, anxiety and fevers. Drinking tea made from rosehip and hibiscus is thought to provide a myriad of health benefits.
Fight Free Radicals
Rosehips are a good source of vitamin C, also called ascorbic acid. A water-soluble vitamin, vitamin C contributes to the production of collagen, a vital protein that your body needs to make blood vessels, tendons, ligaments and cartilage. It helps keep your bones and teeth healthy. As an antioxidant, vitamin C neutralizes the damaging effects of free radicals. Highly unstable compounds, free radicals damage DNA and may accelerate aging. The University of Maryland Medical Center reports that free radicals may also lead to the development of various chronic diseases.
May Help Lower Blood Pressure
Adding hibiscus to your tea might help control your blood pressure. A study published in "The Journal of Nutrition" in February 2010 found that drinking hibiscus tea reduced blood pressure in people with mild hypertension. Subjects who drank 3 cups of hibiscus tea daily for six weeks achieved notable reduction in arterial blood pressure. Researchers concluded that drinking hibiscus tea in an amount that can be easily incorporated into a person's diet may play a pivotal role in regulating blood pressure.
May Help Treat Inflammatory Diseases
A meta-analysis of three randomized controlled trials published in the journal "Australian Family Physician" in July 2012 reviewed the evidence suggesting that rosehip powder may be a reasonable substitute for traditional medicines used in treating inflammatory diseases such as arthritis. In the controlled trials, three months of supplementation with rosehip powder was found to reduce pain scores steadily in study participants with osteoarthritis. In contrast to conventional non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, rosehip is safer because it does not boost the risk of ulcers. In addition, rosehip does not inhibit platelet function and has no impact on fibrinolysis -- a natural body process that prevents blood clots from growing and causing problems.
May Guard Against Cancer
A study published in the June 2005 edition of “Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology” investigated the effect of anthocyanins -- a group of natural pigments found in hibiscus -- on human cancer cells. The results demonstrated that anthocyanins could cause cancer cell death, particularly in human leukemia cells. Based on these findings, the study concluded that anthocyanins may serve as chemopreventive agents, substances that help suppress or prevent the development of cancer. However, additional research is needed to determine the mechanisms and specificity of hibiscus anthocyanins.
- New York University Langone Medical Center: Rose Hips
- New York University Langone Medical Center: Hibiscus
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)
- The Journal of Nutrition: Hibiscus Sabdariffa L. Tea (Tisane) Lowers Blood Pressure in Prehypertensive and Mildly Hypertensive Adults
- Australian Family Physician: Rosehip -- An Evidence Based Herbal Medicine for Inflammation and Arthritis
- MedlinePlus: Fibrinolysis -- Primary or Secondary
- Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology: Hibiscus Anthocyanins Rich Extract-Induced Apoptotic Cell Death in Human Promyelocytic Leukemia Cells
- National Cancer Institute: Apoptosis
- Critical Reviews in Oncology/Hematology: Chemoprevention: General Perspective