Hypertension, more commonly known as high blood pressure, is a risk factor for serious health problems such as cardiovascular disease and stroke. The University of Maryland Medical Center defines hypertension as having a systolic blood pressure above 140 mm Hg, and a diastolic blood pressure above 90 mm Hg, or both. You can help to lower high blood pressure by eating a healthy balanced diet and increasing your physical activity, although you may also need to take anti-hypertensive medicines. Drinking hibiscus tea may also help to lower high blood pressure, although scientific evidence to prove this is limited. Talk to your doctor before taking herbal teas for hypertension
Hibiscus is a flowering shrub that contains antioxidant compounds known as anthocyanins, which may have anti-cancer and cholesterol-lowering properties, notes the Mississippi Baptist Health Systems website. It may also help to lower high blood pressure, and is commonly used in Taiwan to to treat hypertension, according to an article published in February 2009 in the U.K. Newspaper, "The Telegraph."
UMMC suggests preparing hibiscus tea, by steeping tablespoons of dried hibiscus in a cup of hot water and drinking once daily. You may prefer to take this herb in capsule or tablet form if you dislike the taste of hibiscus tea. Mississippi Baptist Health Systems states that a typical daily adult dose of hibiscus should provide 250 mg of anthocyanins.
Evidence to prove that hibiscus tea helps to lower high blood pressure is limited, although the findings of a randomized, controlled, double-blind clinical trial published in the January 2007 issue of "Planta Medica" show that a dried extract of hibiscus has anti-hypertensive effects. However, an analysis of data from four clinical trials published in the February 2010 issue of "Phytomedicine," concludes that there is no reliable evidence to support the use of hibiscus in the treatment of primary hypertension in adults.
RxList states that hibiscus tea is likely safe for most people, but adds that its potential side effects are unknown. As such, avoid drinking hibiscus tea during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Also avoid this herb if you have kidney or liver disease because it may add to the effects of any anti-hypertensive drugs you may be taking, so talk to your doctor before adding this herb to your treatment program.
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Hypertension
- "The Telegraph"; Hibiscus Tea Could Help Cut Blood Pressure; Matthew Moore; February 2009
- "Planta Medica"; Clinical Effects Produced By a Standardized Herbal Medicinal Product of Hibiscus Sabdariffa on Patients with Hypertension. A Randomized, Double-Blind, Lisinopril-Controlled Clinical Trial; A. Herrera-Arellano; January 2007
- "Phytomedicine"; The Effectiveness of Hibiscus Sabdariffa in the Treatment of Hypertension: A Systematic Review; H.A. Wahabi et al.; February 2010
- RxList: Hibiscus