7 Reasons to Start Drinking Hibiscus Tea, Stat
With a flavor profile that’s both tart and fruity, hibiscus tea is a great option when you’re looking for something different to sip throughout the day. But it also has a number of health benefits, taking the perks of this herbal tea far beyond taste. In fact, people in various parts of the world have been consuming hibiscus tea for its health benefits for thousands of years.
“In ancient Egypt, the tea was served cold and used primarily to cool off from the desert heat,” says Stacey Gillespie. ”It has also been used by European and African countries for hundreds of years, and its use spread to Mexico, Australia, America, and the Caribbean during the 17th and 18th centuries.”
Made by steeping dried parts of the hibiscus plant, hibiscus tea is said to lower blood pressure and boost the immune system, among many other health benefits. But keep in mind that many of the claims you see floating around surrounding the benefits of hibiscus tea are related to ingredients within the tea, not the tea itself. (Of course, you’ll always want to check with your physician before using hibiscus tea for any medical reasons, as well.)
“Most of these statements are very generalized and lack specificity to the actual tea product,” says registered dietitian Amanda A. Kostro Miller. “Also, oftentimes research on teas use a concentrated form, whereas the tea bags on the shelf may not be as strong or as concentrated.”
That said, here are some potential benefits of hibiscus tea:
1. It’s loaded with antioxidants
Hibiscus tea is a great source of antioxidants, or substances that remove potentially damaging oxidizing agents. “Antioxidants fight free radicals, which prevents cellular damage,” explains registered dietitian Erica Ingraham. These are found in the plant’s anthocyanins, which are antioxidant compounds also known to support cardiovascular health. “The anthocyanins are what provides the beautiful deep, rich fuchsia color to hibiscus tea,” Gillespie says.
2. It may help lower your blood pressure
Numerous studies show that drinking hibiscus tea may lower your blood pressure; this includes both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Though hibiscus tea may be an effective alternative to medication, it’s important to speak with a doctor for guidance, especially if you suffer from any heart and blood pressure conditions, as hibiscus tea may interact with your current blood pressure medications.
3. It may boost your immune system
Hibiscus tea contains vitamin C and iron, which are known to support a strong and healthy immune system, Ingraham says.