by Robin Allen MSPH, RDN, LDN
A few weeks ago while having lunch with the Nutrition and Wellness Team, I drank my first glass of iced hibiscus tea. I was exclaiming how delicious when the team reminded me of the health benefits we learned about in the webinar Phytonutrients and Cardiovascular disease.
Hibiscus or Hibiscus sabdariffa (HS) is a tropical plant that has been used for food and medical purposes in Asia, Africa and several regions of South America. The HS flower or calyces are used as a food ingredient in salads, beverages and jams and food color. The flower contains a high concentration of flavonoids and polyphenolic compounds such as anthocyanins. The active ingredients are extracted with cold or boiling water. The plant also contains minerals, such as calcium and iron, and vitamins, such as niacin, riboflavin, and vitamin C. Oil from the seeds has an anti-infection effect.
A recent study by McKay, et.al. demonstrated that three servings of hibiscus tea per day were effective at reducing blood pressure in pre- and mildly hypertensive adults. In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial, 65 pre- and mildly hypertensive adults, age 30–70 y, not taking blood pressure (BP)-medications, were served either three servings, 240 mL servings per day of brewed hibiscus tea or placebo beverage for six weeks. The group receiving the hibiscus tea lowered systolic blood pressure (SBP). Participants with a higher SBP at baseline showed a greater response to the hibiscus tea.
Many studies have shown that the active compounds found in HS may help to prevent diseases such as cancer, inhibit inflammatory process, promote diuretic activity, modulate the formation of adipose cells, decrease serum cholesterol, control diabetes mellitus, lower blood pressure, reduce kidney problems, among others.
Nutritional Benefits of Hibiscus Tea:
|Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)||1.279mg||85.00%|
|Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)||0.099mg||6.00%|
You can purchase hibiscus tea ready to brew or make you own tea using the flower. Dried hibiscus flowers are available in many grocery stores, or you can order them online. Below are some recipes but there are many others available, and you may have your own.
Let’s drink some hibiscus tea for good health!
What is your favorite recipe for hibiscus?
McKay, D. L., Chen, C-Y. O., Saltzman, E., Blumberg, J.B. Hibiscus Sabdariffa L. Tea (Tisane) Lowers Blood Pressure in Prehypertensive and Mildly Hypertensive Adults1–4 J. Nutr. 140: 298–303, 2010. file:///C:/Users/roballen/Documents/MFLN/phytonutrients/J.%20Nutr.-2010-McKay-298-303.pdf
Mojica, L., Rui, L., deMejia, E. G. Hibiscus sabdariffa L.: Phytochemical Composition and Nutraceutical Properties. ACS Symposium Series; American Chemical Society: Washington, DC, 2012. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/bk-2012-1109.ch017
This blog was posted by Robin Allen, a member of the Military Families Learning Network (MFLN) Nutrition and Wellness team that aims to support the development of professionals working with military families. Find out more about the MFLN Nutrition and Wellness concentration on our website, on Facebook, on Twitter, and LinkedIn.