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  • Writer's pictureMcKenna

6 benefits of hibiscus tea

Herbal medicine was probably my favorite course in Nutrition school. I was so fascinated with how herbs could be used to support the body & its various systems, they're teeny tiny yet so powerful!


One that always stood out to me was hibiscus. Mostly because I genuinely like the taste (can’t say this for all herbs) but also because it's incredibly nutrient-dense. It's sorta like a 1-2 punch, offering countless health benefits along with a delicious taste.


A glass jar of hibiscus herbal tea

Health benefits of hibiscus tea

Gut motility & digestive health:

Some studies have discovered that hibiscus flowers contain mild laxative properties. Now I promise, it's nothing that'll send you running to the bathroom. Instead, it's a gentle way to stimulate a bowel movement & help with regularity. If you're experiencing sudden constipation, I'd recommend consuming hibiscus tea 2x / day, alongside other natural remedies like ginger, flaxseed, probiotics, & more! If you've been constipated for longer than a few days or find it comes & goes regularly, there may be an underlying reason. I'd consider working with a practitioner to do some digging.


Kidney stones & UTIs:

If you have a history of kidney stones or recurring UTIs, this just might pique your interest. Thanks to the diuretic properties of these flowers, consuming hibiscus tea regularly can help remove excess fluid in the kidney & help flush out stones, bacteria, etc. It functions similarly to cranberry which is another common natural remedy for UTIs.


Antioxidant powerhouse:

Most herbs are packed with antioxidants, including hibiscus. Think about its color. Foods / herbs with a deep pigment are often a great source of antioxidants which fight free radicals, help the liver function, reduce inflammation, the list goes on… Consuming this tea will give you a dose of beta-carotene, vitamin C, & anthocyanins, among others.


Blood sugar management: This is pretty fascinating... some research has shown that hibiscus might inhibit the amount of starch we absorb after eating! Neat, right?? Incorporating this tea daily might be a helpful tool for improving insulin resistance & mitigating a potential blood sugar disaster. Of course, keep in mind that there are many ways to do this like consuming a blood-sugar balancing meal, not skipping breakfast, avoiding black coffee on an empty stomach, etc!


Healthy cholesterol & triglyceride levels:

If you've ever been told you have high cholesterol or that your triglycerides need to come down - hibiscus tea may be a helpful add-on to your protocol. Many studies have suggested that hibiscus tea can naturally lower levels of LDL cholesterol & triglycerides. One study, in particular, found that diabetic patients who consumed hibiscus tea 2x / day for a month experienced a large increase in HDL cholesterol (the good guys) & an overall decrease in LDL cholesterol (the not-so-friendly guys) (1). This sorta makes sense right... blood sugar & cholesterol levels are closely tied. So if we can stabilize blood sugar, we'll support lower levels of cholesterol too.


Blood pressure:

I'm not sure why I saved this for last because it's probably the most notable use of hibiscus tea. Multiple studies have shown that hibiscus tea can greatly drastically improve blood pressure. Now I'll be honest, it takes time, but researchers found that consuming the tea daily for 4 weeks significantly decreased blood pressure levels.


How to make hibiscus tea

Same as any herbal tea! To make a batch, steep 5-6 hibiscus flowers in 3-4 cups of boiling water. Let it sit for at least 15 minutes but feel free to push it - mine typically sits for 2 hours then I discard the flowers & store the tea in the fridge for a cold drink :)


For an extra boost of flavor, add a packet of LMNT electrolytes & pour it over ice. It's incredibly refreshing in the summertime & fun to drink.


Final thoughts:

If you can, I recommend sourcing herbs from a local market or health food store. If they have an organic option, great! If not, don't fret. Generally, hibiscus is very safe to consume. However, if you're pregnant, please avoid hibiscus tea as it can induce labor. And always, if you're taking medications, especially for high cholesterol & blood pressure, please do talk with your doctor beforehand.



McKenna

Holistic Nutritionist, CSCS





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