High blood pressure is a silent killer. According to the World Health Organization, as many as 20 percent of adults worldwide have been diagnosed with high blood pressure while many more have yet to be diagnosed. High blood pressure can lead to congestive heart failure and stroke.
While medication is available, it can have side effects. On the March 26 episode of "Dr. Oz," Dr. Mehmet Oz recommended hibiscus tea for lowering blood pressure in those looking for a natural treatment.
What is high blood pressure?
High blood pressure is characterized as having a blood pressure higher than 140/90. Many people who have high blood pressure take drugs to lower it that dilate their blood vessels. These medications also serve as a diuretic by producing more urine to rid the body of toxins, which lowers blood volume.
While high blood pressure medication is effective, it can have some undesirable side effects such as:
Key Ingredients in Hibiscus Tea
The hibiscus plant produces red flowers that contain flavonoids -- powerful antioxidants that can help prevent disease. These flowers also contain minerals and nutrients for overall health. Hibiscus been used for centuries as treatment for various illnesses and to promote overall good health.
Drinking hibiscus tea daily can potentially reduce blood pressure levels, according to published research:
Participants in a 2004 study published in Phytomedicine experienced a significant decrease in blood pressure levels by drinking tea made with hibiscus extract.
For people with type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure, a study published in the Journal of Human Hypertension found the systolic blood pressure in participants decreased significantly. On average, the systolic blood pressure of participants was 134.8 before the study and 112.7 after one month.
In 2007 published in Planta Med, researchers compared hibiscus tea to lisinopril, a hypertension medication. The study concluded that the tea worked just as effectively, if not better than the medication.
While clinical studies have produced positive results, hibiscus tea is still not recommended for use in place of hypertension medication. Never stop or reduce high blood pressure medication before speaking to your doctor, as you may need regular appointments to check your blood pressure while taking the tea.
How Hibiscus Tea Lowers High Blood Pressure
The hibiscus flower's antioxidants protect the heart by decreasing the oxidative damage blood vessels and heart muscles experience as people age. It also has similar diuretic effects as high blood pressure medications have without many of the side effects. Most importantly, it contains anthocyanins, which many hypertension medications include. Anthocyanins is an effective hypertensive lowering agent as it inhibits the action of angiotensin-converting enzyme, which is what increases blood pressure.
Other Benefits of Hibiscus Tea
Drinking this tea regularly has also been show to:
Prevent cold and flu due to the high amount of vitamin C
Act as a body refrigerant
Lower levels of "bad" (LDL) cholesterol
Help stabilize blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetics
Treat liver problems, as used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
Promote weight loss by preventing over absorption of carbohydrates
Prevent constipation and promote bladder health
Improve symptoms of inflammation
Women taking hormone replacement therapy, or women who are pregnant or lactating should avoid drinking hibiscus tea because it can affect hormone levels. Hibiscus tea can also cause drowsiness in some people.