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What Are the Health Benefits of Agua de Jamaica?

author image Sheri Kay
Sheri Kay has a master's degree in human nutrition. She's the co-author of two books and has been a nutrition and fitness writer since 2004.
What Are the Health Benefits of Agua de Jamaica?
A woman is drinking from a mug outside. Photo Credit: altrendo images/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Agua de Jamaica is a nonalcoholic Mexican beverage made from the flowers of the jamaica plant, which is a type of hibiscus, sugar and water. Hibiscus contains natural compounds that might reduce blood pressure and lower cholesterol. Speak to your doctor before using agua de jamaica or any type of hibiscus tea as a natural remedy.

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Jamaica is a Mexican name for a specific plant called Hibiscus sabdariffa. According to Natural Standard, an evidence-based compendium of integrative and complementary medicine, Hibiscus sabdariffa contains antioxidants called anthocyanins and hibiscus protocatechuic acid. Natural Standard also lists Hibiscus rosa-sinensis and Hibiscus cannabinus as two other varieties of hibiscus that are used as folk remedies.

High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, and Hibiscus sabdariffa might help to reduce high blood pressure, according to research published in 2010 in the scientific journal "Phytomedicine." The authors of the study compared results of four previous clinical studies and found that Hibiscus sabdariffa lowered high blood pressure better than black tea, although it was not as effective as blood pressure medication. But a study published in 2004 in "Phytomedicine" found that Hibiscus sabdariffa tea worked as well as captopril.


Research published in 2010 in "Phytomedicine" looked at the effect of Hibiscus sabdariffa on HDL cholesterol levels in people with metabolic syndrome, a condition of high blood pressure, resistance to insulin and high total and LDL cholesterol, which is the bad type of cholesterol. High density lipoprotein cholesterol, or HDL, is the good kind of cholesterol that lowers your risk of cardiovascular disease. Subjects who consumed hibiscus every day had higher HDL cholesterol levels.


People with a hibiscus allergy should not consume agua da jamaica or take Hibiscus sabdariffa as an extract. According to Natural Standard, Hibiscus sabdariffa might reduce blood pressure and might interact with blood pressure medications. It might also interact with anti-inflammatory medications, anti-malarial drugs and anti-viral medications.

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  • Phytomedicine; Effects of Hibiscus Sabdariffa Extract Powder and Preventive Treatment (Diet) On the Lipid Profiles of Patients with Metabolic Syndrome -- MeSy -- ; C.M. Gurrola-Diaz
  • Phytomedicine; Effectiveness and Tolerability of a Standardized Extract From Hibiscus Sabdariffa in Patients with Mild to Moderate Hypertension: A Controlled and Randomized Clinical Trial; A. Herrera-Arellano
  • Phytomedicine; The Effectiveness of Hibiscus Sabdariffa In the Treatment of Hypertension: A Systematic Review; H.A. Wahabi
  • Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine; Effects of Sour Tea -- Hibiscus Sabdariffa -- on Lipid Profile and Lipoproteins in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes; Hassan Mozaffari-Khosravi
  • Natural Standard; Hibiscus Professional Monograph; J. Kathryn Bryan
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