Hibiscus tea health benefits & side effects

Hibiscus tea (Hibiscus sabdariffa): A Herbal solution to Hypotension

Hibiscus tea is a herbal tea obtained from Hibiscus sabdariffa belonging to the family Malvaceae. The common name is Roselle, Rozelle, Indian sorrel, Rose of Anthea, African mellow, and Flore de Jamaica. The plant is an annual or perennial woody based sub-shrub Hibiscus tea benefits are mainly treating hypertension and hyperlipidemia. Seeds of this plant are used for reducing the cholesterol level of the body. The plant as a whole is used in the preparation of herbal medicines, and in the food industry.

Health benefits of Hibiscus tea

1. Controls hypertension

Hypertension is one of the main leading health problems in today’s world. According to a report, about 20% of the population expect to have hypertension in their life (2). Hypertension leads to heart-related problems, kidney and central nervous system damage and stroke. Hibiscus extracts act as a vasodilator and control blood pressure. Therefore consumption of hibiscus tea for those who have hypertension problems (not with severe one) helps in relaxing the vessels and lowers the pressure.

2. Lowers cholesterol level

Studies were done on the human with metabolic syndrome and type-2 diabetes suggested that hibiscus extracts help in lowering the low-density lipids (3) and increase the high-density lipid (4). Thus drinking hibiscus tea helps in controlling the cholesterol level of the body.

3. Prevents anemia

Dried calyx drink of hibiscus flower helps in prevention of anemia. Mechanism of action is still unknown but research suggests that the prevention of anemia may be because of the increased activity of bone marrow to produce more red blood cells (5).

4. Rich in antioxidants

Hibiscus is rich in antioxidant compounds like anthocyanin, flavonoids, organic acids and polysaccharides (6). These antioxidants thus make hibiscus drink a healthy choice for reducing the free radical scavenging activity.

5. Laxative

Hibiscus tea acts as a mild laxative, therefore drinking hibiscus tea may help in resolving the constipation problems (7).

6. Sedative

Hibiscus tea consumption helps in relaxing the body and induces sleep, therefore, acts as a sedative. Studies show that this may be because of its rich in antioxidants like flavonoids like hibiscitin and phenolic compounds may act as a sedative (8).

7. Diuretic

Hibiscus tea extracts because of its flavonoids, anthocyanin and cholergic acids possess diuretic and potassium-sparing property. Therefore drinking hibiscus tea increase diuretic activity without losing the potassium and other minerals from the body (9).

8. Digestive

Hibiscus extracts also act as a digestive. Studies suggest that hibiscus polyphenols enhance the digestion by increasing the activity of the digestive and metabolic enzymes (10)

9. Reduces weight

Hibiscus tea also helps in controlling the weight of the body and thus is a solution for obesity. The hibiscus polyphenols act as ligands which enhances the activity of metabolic and other digestive enzymes (10). Increased metabolism of the body further adds up to the weight reduction.

Besides the above health benefits of hibiscus tea, some other are aphrodisiac, antiseptic, astringent and anti-inflammatory.

Side Effects of Hibiscus tea

Hibiscus is safe to consume but may cause certain health-related side effect when taken in excess

1. Liver damage

If consumed at a rate of 300 mg/kg of body weight per day for at least 3 months may cause liver damage. Excessive intake of hibiscus hinders the enzymatic activity of the liver (1).

2. Gout

Hibiscus consumption in excess elevate the uric acid level of the body thus results in the development of gout (1).

3. Low blood pressure

Hibiscus tea helps in lowering the blood pressure, therefore, is not suggested for those having low BP problems as it may be harmful.

How many cups of Hibiscus tea should be taken per day? (1)

1. For the treatment of Hypertension:

It was suggested that half a liter of warm water with one-half teaspoon grounded hibiscus flower or one teaspoon fresh flower per day helps in reduction of hypertension.

2. For Obesity:

Two cups per day of hibiscus tea help in reduction of obesity.


  1. https://dx.doi.org/10.1016%2Fj.fitote.2013.01.003
  2. DOI:10.1016/S0378-8741(98)00157-3
  3. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.phymed.2009.10.014
  4. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.phymed.2009.10.014
  5. http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/fns.2016.75040
  6. DOI: 10.1016/j.foodres.2017.07.073
  7. https://www.todaysdietitian.com/whitepapers/Hibiscus_Sabdariffa.pdf
  8. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/241686732_Study_of_Sedative_Anxiolytic_CNS_-_Depressant_and_Skeletal_Muscle_Relaxant_Effects_of_Methanolic_Extract_of_Hibiscus_Rosa-Sinensis_on_Laboratory_Animals
  9. https://doi.org/10.1055/s-0032-1327864
  10. DOI: 10.3390/nu9080907


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