High blood pressure, a condition that runs rampant in our society today, can lead to strokes, heart disease, and even kidney failure if left unchecked. While there are literally thousands of medications on the market meant to control high blood pressure, a common garden plant can potentially lower blood pressure on its own. Hibiscus, a plant that can be grown just about anywhere given the proper care, has recently been linked to a decrease in blood pressure when steeped and drank as a tea.
Above Photo Credit: By Thelmadatter (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons
A scientist at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center recently conducted a study on 65 people that were classified as either pre-hypertensive or mildly hypertensive. Those who drank three cups of hibiscus tea every day reported reduced systolic, diastolic, and arterial pressure after only six weeks. And, unlike many traditional high blood pressure treatments, there are currently no known side effects of drinking this tea, unlike the common side effects associated with traditional pharmaceutical treatments. To date, at least three other studies have concluded with similar findings.
While these discoveries are recent, hibiscus tea has been consumed all over the world for thousands of years. In Japan, it is drunk to improve longevity, and it is a main ingredient in the popular Spanish beverage Jamaica. It is also a common ingredient in drinks prevalent in Egypt, Sudan, and Senegal.
Hibiscus is added to several popular tea blends and available from herbalists, online, or in specialty shops in dried form. In addition to lowering blood pressure, hibiscus tea may also treat coughing, cardiovascular disease, and even act as a diuretic. All natural and easy to obtain, hibiscus may just be the natural answer to the century-long quest to control high blood pressure without numerous side effects.