Benefits of Drinking Hibiscus

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Hibiscus cold drinks. (Image halfbakedharvest.com)

One of my favourite drinks when I’m in Ghana is called Sobolo.  It’s a tasty chilled drink made using hibiscus, ginger and cane sugar.  It’s so refreshing and healthy at the same time.  I didn’t realize until recently how many health benefits the hibiscus flower has on the body.

Hibiscus is also known as bissap or roselle and is packed full of so many nutrients that it’s used for many natural health remedies.  It’s been used in the diet around the world for hundreds of years.  In Egypt it’s made into a drink called Karkade.  In Congo the drink is called Jus de Bissap, while in some parts of Latin America they call it flor de Jamaica. Mostly used in a drink, it’s also a key ingredient in soups, sauces and jams.

Why is adding this plant so important?  Well, besides being great tasting and an amazing thirst quencher, here are just a few of many reasons you may want to consider making this a part of your daily regimen.

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Image: Pixabay

Reduce High Blood Pressure

In 2008 the American Heart Association published a study that says consuming hibiscus can lower blood pressure in pre-hypertensive and mild hypertensive patients.  The flower is known for having anti-inflammatory properties which contribute to aiding the reduction of blood pressure.  Because it’s a natural remedy, consistency in consumption is critical to seeing results. It’s recommended that drinking 3 cups a day for several weeks will result in an improvement of up to 10 points according to research done by Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts.

 

Vitamin C

Hibiscus is known to be rich in Vitamin C (ascorpic acid) which boosts immunity.  It’s a great way to strengthen your immune system.  Plus, it’s anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties assist in helping you to fight off colds, flu and fever.  Drinking this daily is a great way of including this vitamin in your daily regimen.

 

Liver Treatment

A research study done in 2000 by the Institute of Biochemistry  suggests the level of antioxidants in hibiscus make it a good protector of the liver.  It can reduce liver lesions and plays an important part of preventing damage.

Improves Digestion

Hibiscus is known to have diuretic properties.  Some have said that drinking it helps to improve the digestive system easing bowel movements and urination.  It’s a natural remedy for relieving constipation.

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Dried hibiscus leaves. (Image: Atamari, Creative Commons)

Treating UTI (Urinary Tract Infection)

Drinking cranberry juice has been recommended in the prevention and treatment of Urinary Tract Infections (inflammation of the bladder) for many years. However, a recent study done by the Cystitis and Overactive Bladder Foundation (UK) found drinking hibiscus to be more effective in the treatment of UTI; 59% of those who were in the study saw higher results than from drinking cranberry juice.

Weight Loss

Claims have been made that it helps in the process of weight loss.  Research suggests that it can reduce the absorption of starch and glucose which would promote weight loss. There are several weight loss products on the market that include hibiscus as an ingredient for that reason.

 

Menstrual Pain

Some women have claimed drinking this tea can help in the management of hormones and menstrual pain.  However it’s also known to increase blood flow, so for women with heavy menstrual cycles, it should be avoided.

*Caution During Pregnancy

Some doctors say that there could be concern with drinking hibiscus during pregnancy. Some believe you could put your baby at risk because the plant stimulates menstruation causing more blood flow which can result in miscarriage.  Always consult with your physician before consuming while pregnant.  Consult with your physician before consuming while pregnant.

 

Sources: organicfacts.net, www.pan-uk.org, webmd.com, US National Library of Medicine, Onlinelibrary.wiley.com, Livestrong.com 

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