Hibiscus tea is enjoyed all around the world, including Mexico, the Caribbean, West Africa, and India. It’s distinctive sweet and tart flavor makes it a popular tea year-round, whether you drink it hot or cold.
But hibiscus tea is more than delicious, it’s got several health benefits as well. Below are six of them.
It’s cold and flu season again, and if you’re looking for a tasty but healthy alternative to your usual hot tea, hibiscus may be just what you’re looking for. Hibiscus tea has high levels of antioxidants and vitamin C, a well-known immune system booster.
An 8-oz cup of hibiscus tea has 43.6 mg of vitamin C. And on a cold winter night, a tangy cup of hot hibiscus tea is perfect for curling up in a blanket with a good book. Add some ginger and honey and you’ve got the perfect healing drink.
In another study with rodents, hibiscus extract increased the levels of antioxidant enzymes and decreased the harmful effects of free radicals by up to 92%.
Research suggests that hibiscus may have anti-anxiety and antidepressant effects.
Hibiscus may help with both anxiety and insomnia, making it especially good to drink before bedtime. One study found that hibiscus extract helped rodents fall asleep faster and also prolonged their sleeping time.
Another study found that hibiscus had an antidepressant-like effect on mice without making them feel sedated.
Improves iron deficiency
Iron deficiency is the most common type of nutritional deficiency worldwide.
Low iron is most commonly seen in young children and women of childbearing age. Iron deficiency can result in poor cognition and stunted development in children
In a study conducted in Northern Ghana, researchers provided women and their toddlers with hibiscus leaf three times a week for 12 weeks during the dry season (period with the most severe food insecurity). The findings show that consumption of hibiscus leaf improved iron status in women and protected stunting among toddlers.
Hair and skin benefits
Hibiscus tea promotes healthy hair and skin. Hibiscus has high levels of an antioxidant called myricetin. This compound lowers collagenase, an enzyme that breaks down collagen, a protein that acts as the primary building block of skin, hair, bones, and muscles.
As we get older, our body produces less collagen which makes our skin look drier, thinner, and less elastic. But the myricetin in hibiscus can help slow collagen degradation.
Hibiscus can help regulate your metabolism and manage your weight.
One 12-week study found that hibiscus extract reduced body weight, BMI, body fat and waist-to-hip ratio. It also improved fatty liver disease.
Lowers blood pressure
Several studies have shown that consuming hibiscus tea may help reduce both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
In one study, 65 participants with high blood pressure consumed either hibiscus tea or a placebo. After 6 weeks, people in the hibiscus group showed a notable decrease in systolic blood pressure, compared to the placebo.
In another review, researchers found that hibiscus tea lowered both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Note: It’s recommended that pregnant or breastfeeding women not drink hibiscus tea as it can cause fluctuations in hormone levels. Also, though hibiscus can lower high blood pressure, it might make it too low if you already have low blood pressure.
Check out some of our other teas below.
Passion flower (Passiflora incarnata) is an ancient nervine (eases the nervous system) that’s historically been used to treat anxiety, insomnia, menstrual difficulties and burns.
The taste of passion flower is described as grassy, floral and a little earthy.
Many people drink passion flower tea to help reduce insomnia, anxiety or restlessness.
Passion flower is loaded with antioxidants, including vitamin C and lycopene, that help neutralize damaging free radicals. Native Americans used the herb as a medicine to treat a variety of health conditions, including wounds, boils, earaches, and liver problems.
Passion flower appears to act on GABA receptors and is considered an effective stress reducer. This tea has been shown to help reduce spasms and relax the central nervous system.
Research demonstrates that passionflower can help with chronic insomnia and memory issues. It may also help during episodes of restlessness, anxiety, sleeplessness and depression.
Yerba mate contains trace amounts of every vitamin and mineral your body requires, as well as seven out of ten essential amino acids. It will also give you an energy boost with its 85 milligrams of caffeine per cup.
This is almost double the amount of caffeine found in black tea but less than half that of coffee (100 to more than 200 mg per cup). The good part is that many yerba mate drinkers say it increases alertness and energy like coffee, but it doesn’t have the same jittery effect.
One study found that yerba mate extract can help lower inflammation in obese rats. The results suggest that yerba mate extract may be useful for reducing low-grade obesity-associated with inflammation.
Research also shows that yerba mate may help with weight loss by reducing appetite and boosting metabolism. The tea also appears to reduce the total number of fat cells as well as the amount of fat they can hold.
In a 12-week study, a research team analyzed the effectiveness and safety of yerba mate supplementation in Korean participants with obesity.
According to the study, people who consumed 3 grams of yerba mate powder on a daily basis lost an average of 1.5 pounds and lowered their waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) by 2%. On the other hand, participants who were given a placebo gained an average of 6.2 lbs and increased their waist-to-hip ratio by 1% during the same time period.
In conclusion, the research article states “Yerba Mate supplementation decreased body fat mass, percent body fat and WHR. Yerba Mate was a potent anti-obesity reagent that did not produce significant adverse effects. These results suggested that Yerba Mate supplementation may be effective for treating obese individuals.”