Hibiscus, a flowering plant with colorful flowers, has been used for centuries as an ornamental and medicinal herb. Herbalists have used it to make extracts, teas, and supplements.
According to tradition, hibiscus is used in the treatment of ailments such as liver problems and high blood pressure. Today, a growing body of research supports these benefits among others.
What is Hibiscus?
Hibiscus sabdariffa is a type of flowering plant native to India and Malaysia. Hundreds of types of hibiscus exist, including herbs, shrubs, and trees. The most commonly cultivated type is Hibiscus sabdariffa, which is marked by red stems and wide yellow flowers that turn pink and red in color. It grows in tropical and subtropical regions, including China, Thailand, Sudan, Nigeria, and Mexico. The flowers, seeds, leaves, and stems are all used for culinary, cosmetic, and medicinal purposes.
There are several ways to use hibiscus. The most common preparation is hibiscus tea, a deep red herbal tea made from flowers. The tea can be enjoyed hot or cold, and the tart taste is similar to cranberries. In addition to teas of various kinds, you can purchase hibiscus in powder form, capsule form, or liquid extract form. Depending on the product, these preparations may be made from different parts of the hibiscus plant.
Benefits of Hibiscus Flowers:
Antidiabetic and anticancer effects are among the purported benefits of hibiscus. Hibiscus preparations may also help lower blood pressure, protect the liver, and decrease fasting blood sugar.
Several human clinical trials have found that hibiscus beverages and supplements can lower blood pressure. In a study of 46 adults with high blood pressure, drinking 2 cups (474 mL) of hibiscus tea daily for 1 month combined with changes in lifestyle and diet lowered blood pressure significantly more than changes in lifestyle and diet alone. Other studies have shown that extracts of the plant may be as effective as pharmaceutical medications for high blood pressure. However, more research is needed.
Research in animals suggests that hibiscus extracts may help prevent fat cells from accumulating. This could prevent complications sometimes seen with obesity, such as fatty liver and insulin resistance. The fiber present in hibiscus preparations may also aid weight loss.
Research in rats suggests that the addition of ground hibiscus to animal feed can reduce body weight, fat, and inflammatory compounds in fat tissue. However, more human studies are needed to fully understand the potential anti-obesity effects of hibiscus.
Test-tube studies have indicated that hibiscus extract may inhibit enzymes involved in prostate cancer development and trigger the death of breast cancer and melanoma cells, yet research on the role of hibiscus in cancer treatment is limited to preliminary test-tube studies and mostly needs to be corroborated by large-scale human clinical trials.
Hibiscus Flowers are considered one of the healthiest in the nature with a wide variety of benefits for both mind and body.