The average American drinks 57 gallons of soda a year. That’s 57 gallons of toxic sugar and artificial sweeteners, both of which contribute to obesity, cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease. And replacing soda with fruit juices doesn’t cancel out the sugar factor.
Hibiscus tea, cold or hot, is a healthful alternative to sugar-laden sodas and juices. Made from the calyx of the hibiscus flower, hibiscus tea is a ruby-red tea with a tart cranberry flavor, certain to satisfy your soda tooth. In fact, it was top choice for the pharaohs of ancient Egypt, and has been used by European, Caribbean, Mexican, and Chinese cultures as a medicinal tonic for centuries.
Hibiscus tea is an antioxidant-rich source of vitamin C, minerals, and polyphenols. It has a reputation for treating:
- Heart issues
- Chronic inflammation
- Sluggish metabolism
- Nervous disorders
Perhaps one of its most valuable therapeutic benefits is its ability to lower blood pressure. Nigerian scientists discovered that hibiscus was able to lower blood pressure better than a prescription drug. Seventy-five people with mild to moderate hypertension received either hibiscus, hydrocholorothiazide (a blood pressure drug), or a placebo. Hibiscus was more effective than the prescription medicine and didn’t cause any imbalance in electrolytes. It exerted an influence on blood pressure for a longer period and lowered serum Na+ (sodium), which helps to reduce blood pressure.
A different study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology showed that drinking hibiscus tea for 12 days lowered systolic blood pressure by 11.2% and diastolic blood pressure by 10.7%, a significant reduction for each!
In addition to its reputation as a natural elixir for blood pressure, hibiscus tea has also demonstrated a beneficial impact on diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and liver disorders. One study showed that supplementing with a hibiscus extract every day for a month helped improve blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and enhance insulin sensitivity in people suffering from metabolic syndrome.
As far as its liver-protective properties go, the journal Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology reports that hibiscus is filled with antioxidants and anthocyanins that help protect the liver, and have even been shown to trigger apoptosis (cell destruction) in human cancer cells. Other anti-cancer research shows that polyphenol-rich extracts of hibiscus destroyed human gastric carcinoma cells and leukemia cells.
Drinking Hibiscus Tea
Hibiscus tea is packed with antioxidants that help to reduce the oxidative stress that accelerates aging and instigates chronic disease. Research also shows that the polyphenols in hibiscus tea are in a particularly bioavailable form, which means they are more easily absorbed by the body. So ditch the soda and drink up the hibiscus!