HIBUSCUS TEA, THE SUPERFOOD FOR HIGH BLOOD PRESSUREReading Time: 8 minutes
Hibiscus sabdarrifa (also known as roselle, Zobo, or Karkadeh, Red sorrel, Agua de Jamaica, Lo-Shen, Sudan tea) is considered a medicinal plant in some cultures.
It is consumed as beverage in Nigeria, Egypt, West Africa, Iran, India, Southeast Asia, Thailand, and United States. It is believed to have numerous health benefits, consumed for its antihypertensive, cholesterol lowering and antioxidant benefits. (35-40).The flowers, calyxes are usually prepared in the form of hot or cold tea, or infusion. Due to it’s deep pigmentation, it is also used as food colorant. Among the vital constituents are anthocyanins, malic acid, glucose, alpha tocopherol, linoleic acid which have all been proven to be beneficial to overall health. (41-45)
Anti-hypertensive Benefits of Hibiscus sabdarifa
1. Reduction in Blood Pressure
Daily consumption of HS tea has been reported to lower elevated blood pressure in people with pre-hypertension and hypertension. Several studies support the blood pressure lowering effect of HS tea. A study by Faraji et al observed that HS in the form of tea reduced elevated BP in individuals with hypertension. Participants of the study were individuals with hypertension and were divided into 2 groups. Participants in one of the groups were given ordinary tea while the other group received HS tea, all participants discontinued their anti hypertensive medications and were strictly on tea treatment. The group that consumed HS tea showed a significant reduction in their blood pressure. The authors recommend daily consumption of HS tea in-order to get the maximum benefit, while closely monitoring your blood pressure.(9,10, 13, 15,18)
Several studies have compared the effect of HS extract on blood pressure to Captopril, a commonly prescribed anti-hypertensive and found it to be as effective with no adverse effect. (11, 12,). HS extract has been observed to function in ways similar to the ACE (Angiotensin converting enzyme) inhibitor anti-hypertensives. Angiotensin is a hormone that causes narrowing of the blood vessels, increases blood pressure and promotes sodium and fluid retention by the kidneys. HS extract blocks the release of angiotensin, consequently relaxing the blood vessels and reducing blood pressure.(17)
Another way HS reduces blood pressure is through diuresis. Diuretics such as hydrochlorothiazide are often prescribed in the treatment of hypertension. They work mainly by excreting excess body fluids through urine. The principle is that if there is reduction in blood volume, the arterial blood pressure will be reduced, and the heart would not have to work as hard to pump blood effectively. One of the main side effects of pharmacologic diuretics is electrolyte imbalance. However, HS has been shown not induce electrolyte imbalance. (2)
2. HS Prevents Heart Enlargement from Hypertension
In hypertension, pressure in the arteries become elevated and the heart has to work harder to pump blood into the high pressure vessels. Consequently, the heart muscles increase in mass because of the strain and over time, its ability to pump blood is diminished resulting in heart failure. Early diagnosis and good control go a long way in preventing or delaying the onset of these changes in the heart. (14)
Several research studies suggest that long term use of HS leads to a reduction in blood pressure, heart rate and prevents heart enlargement associated with hypertension(1, 5, 16).
3. Rich in Antioxidants (Anthocyanins)
Several metabolic processes in the body produce free radicals as by-products. Free radicals are unstable substances that react with certain biological molecules, fats and proteins in tissues of the body to become stable while causing oxidative damage in the process. The body produces antioxidants as defense mechanisms against oxidative damages of free radicals. When there is an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants oxidative damage occurs. (26, 27 ).
Some researchers have explored the role of oxidative stress on the development of hypertension and found some evidence that it indeed does play a role. Free radicals damage the inner lining of the blood vessels, narrowing it which further worsens the hypertension.(19-25).
HS is rich in anthocyanins (flavonoids). Several studies have reported the antioxidant effects of the anthocyanins found in HS. Anthocyanins in HS extract have been reported to prevent fat and protein oxidation, have antibacterial and antifungal properties. (6-8).
4. Reduction in Total Cholesterol
High cholesterol increases the risk of Hypertension and high cholesterol often go hand in hand. When the level of cholesterol in the blood is high, it becomes deposited in the inner lining of the arteries. These fat deposits induce local inflammation (swelling and injury), form cholesterol plaques that harden and narrow the blood vessels. High blood pressure may result from these narrowed blood vessels. When cholesterol plaque deposits in the arteries supplying blood to the heart, it results in heart disease, in the arteries of the brain it may lead to a stroke. High blood pressure alone damages the blood vessels, increasing the risk of cholesterol deposits.
A 2011 study by Hernández-Pérez et al compared the efficacy of Hibiscus sabadariffa extract versus pravastatin in reducing high cholesterol in the blood. The randomized clinical study included 104 participants with blood cholesterol levels ≥ 220 mg/dL (normal is less than 200 mg/dL). They observed a significant reduction in cholesterol levels in both groups of patients who took HS and pravastatin. However they reported pravastatin to have superior cholesterol control over HS. (28) This implies that, taking pravastatin and HS tea may have synergistic effect in lowering blood cholesterol. Several other studies also report reduction in blood cholesterol following daily HS consumption. (29-33)
5. Effective in Improving Symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome.
Hypertension coexisting with either diabetes or obesity is referrreedd as metabolic syndrome. Having one of the components of metabolic syndrome increases the risk of the others. Gurrolla-Diaz et al studied the effect of consuming 100 mg daily of HS extract for a month and found HS extract to significantly reduce blood glucose, improve insulin resistance, reduce total cholesterol and low density lipoprotein while increasing the good cholesterol; HDL-c. (3, 4)
Several studies report HS to be safe both in the short and long term. Hs is not toxic to the liver, kidneys, heart, and other organs of the body. (34)
- Inuwa I, et al. Long-term ingestion of Hibiscus sabdariffa calyx extract enhances myocardial capillarization in the spontaneously hypertensive rat. Exp Biol Med (Maywood). (2012)
- Rose C, Parker A, Jefferson B, Cartmell E. The Characterization of Feces and Urine: A Review of the Literature to Inform Advanced Treatment Technology. Crit Rev Environ Sci Technol. 2015;45(17):1827-1879.
- The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.Aug 2009.ahead of printhttp://doi.org/10.1089/acm.2008.0540
- Odigie IP, Ettarh RR, Adigun SA. Chronic administration of aqueous extract of Hibiscus sabdariffa attenuates hypertension and reverses cardiac hypertrophy in 2K-1C hypertensive rats. J Ethnopharmacol. 2003 Jun;86(2-3):181-5.
- Si LY, Ali SAM, Latip J, Fauzi NM, Budin SB, Zainalabidin S. Roselle is cardioprotective indiet-induced obesity rat model with myocardial infarction. Life Sci. 2017 Dec 15;191:157-165. doi: 10.1016/j.lfs.2017.10.030. Epub 2017 Oct 21.
- Jabeur I. et al. Hibiscus sabdariffa L. as a source of nutrients, bioactive compounds and colouring agents. Food Research International Volume 100, Part 1, October 2017, Pages 717-723.
- Guardiola S, Mach N. Therapeutic potential of Hibiscus sabdariffa: A review of the scientific evidence. Endocrinología y Nutrición (English Edition) Volume 61, Issue 5, May 2014, Pages 274-295.
- Faraji MH, Tarkhani A.H. The effect of sour tea (Hibiscus sabdariffa) on essential
hypertension. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 65 (1999) 231–236
- Prasongwatana V1, Woottisin S, Sriboonlue P, Kukongviriyapan V. Uricosuric effect of Roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa) in normal and renal-stone former subjects. J Ethnopharmacol. 2008 May 22;117(3):491-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2008.02.036. Epub 2008 Mar 14.
- Herrera-Arellano A, Flores-Romero S, Chávez-Soto MA, Tortoriello J (2004) Effectiveness and tolerability of a standardized extract from Hibiscus sabdariffain patients with mild to moderate hypertension: a controlled and randomized clinical trial. Phytomedicine 11(5): 375-382.
- Herrera-Arellano A, Miranda-Sanchez J, Avila-Castro P, Zamilpa A, Tortoriello J, et al. (2007) Clinical effects produced by a standardized herbal medicinal product of Hibiscus sabdariffaon patients with hypertension. A randomized, double-blind, lisinopril-controlled clinical trial. Planta Med 73(1): 6-12.
- Mojiminiyi, F.B.O.et al. Antihypertensive effect of an aqueous extract of the calyx of Hibiscus sabdariffa, Fitoterapia. Volume 78, Issue 4,2007,Pages 292-297.
- Aronow WS. Hypertension and left ventricular hypertrophy. Ann Transl Med. 2017;5(15):310.
- McKay D.L, Chen O.C-Y, Saltzman E, Blumberg J.B. Hibiscus Sabdariffa L. Tea (Tisane) Lowers Blood Pressure in Prehypertensive and Mildly Hypertensive Adults, The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 140, Issue 2, 1 February 2010, Pages 298– 303,https://doi.org/10.3945/jn.109.115097.
- Lislivia Yiang-Nee Si, Siti Aishah Mohd Ali, Jalifah Latip, Norsyahida Mohd Fauzi, Siti Balkis Budin, Satirah Zainalabidin. Roselle is cardioprotective in diet-induced obesity rat model with myocardial infarction, Life Sciences,Volume 191,2017,Pages 157-165.
- Ali BH, Wabel N. Blunden G. Phytochemical, Pharmacological and Toxicological Aspects of Hibiscus sabdariffa L.: A Review. Phytother. Res. 19, 369–375 (2005)
- Jonadet M, Bastide J, Bastide P et al. 1990. Activités inhibitrices enzymatiques in vitro et angioprotectrice in vivo d’extraits de karkadé (Hibiscus sabdariffa L.). J Pharm Belg 45: 120–124.
- Harrison DG, Gongora MC. Review Oxidative stress and hypertension. Med Clin North Am. 2009 May; 93(3):621-35.
- Lopez-Campistrous A, Hao L, Xiang W, Ton D, Semchuk P, Sander J, Ellison MJ, Fernandez-Patron C. Mitochondrial dysfunction in the hypertensive rat brain: respiratory complexes exhibit assembly defects in hypertension. Hypertension. 2008 Feb; 51(2):412-9.
- Ito H, Torii M, Suzuki T. Decreased superoxide dismutase activity and increased superoxide anion production in cardiac hypertrophy of spontaneously hypertensive rats. Clin Exp Hypertens. 1995 July;17(5):803–816.
- Kizhakekuttu TJ, Widlansky ME. Natural antioxidants and hypertension: promise and challenges. Cardiovasc Ther. 2010;28(4):e20-32.
- Montezano AC, Touyz RM. Oxidative stress, Noxs, and hypertension: Experimental evidence and clinical controversies. Ann Med. 2012;44(Suppl 1):S2–16. [PubMed]
- Rodrigo R, González J, Paoletto F. The role of oxidative stress in the pathophysiology of hypertension. Hypertens Res. 2011;34:431–40.
- Baradaran A, Nasri H, Rafieian-Kopaei M. Oxidative stress and hypertension: Possibility of hypertension therapy with antioxidants. J Res Med Sci. 2014;19(4):358-67.
- Yang X, Li Y, Li Y, et al. Oxidative Stress-Mediated Atherosclerosis: Mechanisms and Therapies. Front Physiol. 2017;8:600. Published 2017 Aug 23. doi:10.3389/fphys.2017.00600
- Asmat U, Abad K, Ismail K. Diabetes mellitus and oxidative stress—A concise review, Saudi Pharmaceutical Journal, Volume 24, Issue 5, 2016,Pages 547-553.
- Hernández-Pérez F, Herrera-Arellano A. Therapeutic use Hibiscus sabadariffa extract in the treatment of hypercholesterolemia. A randomized clinical trial. Rev Med Inst Mex Seguro Soc. (2011)
- Carvajal-Zarrabal O, et al. The consumption of Hibiscus sabdariffa dried calyx ethanolic extract reduced lipid profile in rats. Plant Foods Hum Nutr. (2005)
- el-Saadany SS, et al. Biochemical dynamics and hypocholesterolemic action of Hibiscus sabdariffa (Karkade). Nahrung. (1991)
- Yang MY, et al. The hypolipidemic effect of Hibiscus sabdariffa polyphenols via inhibiting lipogenesis and promoting hepatic lipid clearance. J Agric Food Chem. (2010)
- Carvajal-Zarrabal O, et al. Effect of Hibiscus sabdariffa L. dried calyx ethanol extract on fat absorption-excretion, and body weight implication in rats. J Biomed Biotechnol. (2009)
- Farombi EO, Ige OO. Hypolipidemic and antioxidant effects of ethanolic extract from dried calyx of Hibiscus sabdariffa in alloxan-induced diabetic rats. Fundam Clin Pharmacol. (2007)
- Mohagheghi A, et al. The effect of hibiscus sabdariffa on lipid profile, creatinine, and serum electrolytes: a randomized clinical trial. ISRN Gastroenterol. (2011)
- Alarcon-Aguilar FJ, et al. Effect of Hibiscus sabdariffa on obesity in MSG mice. J Ethnopharmacol. (2007)McKay DL, Chen CYO, Saltzman E, Blumberg JB. Hibiscus Sabdariffa L. Tea (Tisane) lowers blood pressure in prehypertensive and mildly hypertensive adults. J. Nutr. 2010;140:298–303.
Mojiminiyi FBO, Dikko M, Muhammad BY, Ojobor PD, Ajagbonna OP, Okolo RU, Igbokwe UV, Mojiminiyi UE, Fagbemi MA, Bello SO, Anga TJ. Antihypertensive effect of an aqueous extract of the calyx ofHibiscus sabdariffa. Fitoterapia. 2007;78:292–297. [PubMed]
Odigie IP, Ettarh RR, Adigun SA. Chronic administration of aqueous extract ofHibiscus sabdariffa attenuates hypertension and reverses cardiac hypertrophy in 2K-1C hypertensive rats. J. Ethnopharmacol. 2003;86:181–185. [PubMed]
Onyenekwe PC, Ajani EO, Ameh DA, Gamaniel KS. Antihypertensive effect of roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa) calyx infusion in spontaneously hypertensive rats and a comparison of its toxicity with that in Wistar rats. Cell Biochem. Funct. 1999;17:199–206. [PubMed]
Olatunji LA, Adebayo JO, Oguntoye OB, Olatunde NO, Olatunji VA, Soladoye AO. Effects of aqueous extracts of petals of red and greenHibiscus sabdariffa on plasma lipid and hematological variables in rats. Pharm. Biol. 2005;43:471–474.
Farombi EO, Ige OO. Hypolipidemic and antioxidant effects of ethanolic extract from dried calyx ofHibiscus sabdariffa in alloxan-induced diabetic rats. Fundam. Clin. Pharmacol. 2007;21:601–609.[PubMed]
- Hopkins AL, Lamm MG, Funk JL, Ritenbaugh C. Hibiscus sabdariffa L. in the treatment of hypertension and hyperlipidemia: a comprehensive review of animal and human studies. Fitoterapia. 2013;85:84-94.
- Ali BH, Wabel NA, Blunden G. Phytochemical, pharmacological and toxicological aspects ofHibiscus sabdariffa L.: A review. Phytother. Res. 2005;19:369–375.
- Gruenwald J, Brendler T, Jaenicke C. Hibiscus. In: Gruenwald J, Brendler T, Jaenicke C, editors. PDR for Herbal Medicines. 4th ed. Montvale, N.J.: Thomson Health Care Inc.; 2007. pp. 442–443.
- Segura-Carretero A, Puertas-Mejia MA, Cortacero-Ramirez S, Beltran R, Alonso- Villaverde C, Joven J, Dinelli G, Fernandez-Gutierrez A. Selective extraction, separation, and identification of anthocyanins fromHibiscus sabdariffa L. using solid phase extraction capillary electrophoresis mass spectrometry (time-of-flight ion trap) Electrophoresis. 2008;29:2852–2861. [PubMed]
- Sayago-Ayerdi SG, Arranz S, Serrano J, Goni I. Dietary fiber content and associated antioxidant compounds in roselle flower (Hibiscus sabdariffa L.) beverage. J. Agric. Food Chem. 2007;55:7886–7890.