Hibiscus tea health benefits & side effects


Hibiscus tea is a herbal tea 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. Hibiscus tea controls hypertension

Hypertension is one of the main leading health problems in today’s world. According to a report, about 20% of the population expected 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 this tea for those who have hypertension problems (not with severe ones) 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 by hibiscus tea

A dried calyx drink of hibiscus flower helps in the 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

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

6. Sedative

Consumption of the tea made from hibiscus helps in relaxing the body and induces sleep, therefore, acts as a sedative. Studies show that this may be because it’s rich in antioxidants like flavonoids like hibiscitin and phenolic compounds may act like a sedative (8).

7. Diuretic

The extracts of the tea made from hibiscus have flavonoids, anthocyanin, and cholergic acids that possess diuretic and potassium-sparing properties. Therefore drinking this tea increases 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 digestion by increasing the activity of the digestive and metabolic enzymes (10).

9. Reduces weight

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

Some other health benefits 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 elevates the uric acid level of the body thus results in the development of gout (1).

3. Low blood pressure

Hibiscus tea helps in lowering 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 the reduction of hypertension.

2. For Obesity:

Two cups per day help in the reduction of obesity.