From the petals of its ruby-red flowers we obtain an exceptional tea, which can be tasted both cold and hot and with incredible properties for health. We are talking about hibiscus and the infusion obtained from its flowers. But what can hibiscus do for our health? Let's try to understand this on the basis of scientific research.
Hibiscus for the stomach
Helicobacter pylori is a bacterium capable of colonizing the mucous membrane of the stomach. Infection caused by this bacterium increases the level of inflammation, which in turn can open the way to diseases such as chronic gastritis, gastric ulcer and even cellular degeneration (Trung et al, ACS Omega, 2020). Medicines currently used against helicobacter pylori can have side effects such as nausea, dizziness, abdominal pain, fatigue and alteration of the balance of the gut microbiota. In addition, the recurring nature of this infection has made the bacterium increasingly resistant to antibiotics. Here the researchers are focusing their studies on natural remedies, that can be used as an alternative or in combination with classic therapies, in order to minimize adverse effects and increase the likelihood of eradicating the bacterium. It was found that hibiscus flowers are able to show antibacterial action on the most resistant strains of helicobacter pylori. This beneficial action was observed even at low concentrations and without side effects on stomach cells. In particular, hibiscus is able to counteract the adhesion of bacteria to the gastric mucosa and to inhibit urease activity. Urease is an enzyme that plays an essential role in the survival and colonization of the bacterium Helicobacter pylori (Trung et al, ACS Omega, 2020).
Hibiscus for high blood pressure
Hibiscus flowers are characterized by anti-hypertensive properties. In fact, drinking three cups of hibiscus tea every day for 6 weeks has been shown to lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure in people with mild hypertension. Not only that, the greatest hypotensive effects were observed in those with higher blood pressure (McKay et al, J Nutr, 2010).
Hibiscus for heart health
In addition to its hypotensive action, hibiscus tea also has another action that is beneficial for the heart. In particular, hibiscus tea contributes to reducing the amount of triglycerides and bad cholesterol (Hopkins et al, Phytotherapy, 2013). Hibiscus is a valuable source of anthocyanins that counteract the oxidation of bad LDL cholesterol, a process that would pave the way for atherosclerosis (Hopkins et al, Phytotherapy, 2013).
Hibiscus against obesity and visceral fat
Hibiscus has a hepatoprotective action and is capable of regulating metabolism. In fact, taking for 3 months hibiscus extracts led, in the study participants, to a reduction in body mass index, body weight and fat accumulations, especially visceral fat, the most dangerous (Chang et al. , Food Funct, 2014).
Hibiscus tea, how to prepare it
You can prepare an infusion of hibiscus with a digestive and anti-inflammatory action, useful in case of stomach pain and even diarrhea, but also with antioxidant, hypotensive and cholesterol-lowering properties (Ngan et al, Braz J Med Biol Res, 2021). Bring two cups of water to a boil, remove from heat and add a tablespoon of dried hibiscus flowers, steep for five minutes, then filter and drink. If you want to sweeten the tea you can try adding a little elderberry syrup, which is characterized by a proven antiviral action against colds and flu (Mahboubi et al, ADTM, 2020).