Lower High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) with Hibiscus Tea
Herb tea packs a punch
You never know where you'll learn something useful. I was reading the rags in the rack at the supermarket checkout line. "Woman's World" mentioned that hibiscus tea could treat high blood pressure. I checked this out with reliable medical sources. You can, too. Go to www. nlm.nih.gov. (National Library of Medicine). Click on the section for medical professionals. Type "hibiscus and hypertension" into the search engine. In case you don't want to go through this, here's what I found:
Several small studies support that hibiscus calyx (a flower part) tea lowers blood pressure significantly. It seems that the higher your blood pressure is, the more hibiscus lowers it. The chemicals responsible are anthocyanins, which behave as a diuretic to reduce sodium and as an ACE Inhibitor like Zestril. Dose was one cup of tea two to three times per day. You can add any flavorings you like.
The full name of this beneficial herb is Hibiscus sabdariffa. It has been a medicinal herb with many uses in other cultures for years. It is well-tolerated. It doesn't seem to raise potassium like Zestril does. From a study in rabbits, it may have the side effect of lowering cholesterol and otherwise preventing hardening of the arteries. I wish all meds had this kind of side effect! Hibiscus tea is not safe in pregnancy and should not be taken with the antibiotic trimethoprim (in Bactrim and Septra).
I found a tea with hibiscus flowers, not just calyces, as a main ingredient. I think it will not be as potent, but will use it until i find something more like the studies used. It's Tazo Passion. Did I mention I have borderline high blood pressure? Evidently, Celestial Seasonings makes a hibiscus tea not available in my supermarket. (Celestial Seasonings paid for one of the studies.) I will edit this as I learn more.
Update 8/24/2010: I'm using dried hibiscus flowers from Nuts Online (saw their ad on this hub), hibiscus flowers filling two thirds of the bottom half of a tea ball, steeped in 8 oz. boiling water for 5 minutes. I add aspartame and ice. It is tasty - sweet, flowery, with a slight tang. Twice a day. My blood pressure is down 6 points to 124/78.
If you do the National Library of Medicine search listed above, you will also find other herbs that may lower blood pressure. I use natural dark chocolate 1 tbsp. per day (on my cereal) to lower my blood pressure by about three points. Recently, beet juice (don't buy it, blend it) has been considered to lower blood pressure significantly.
As of 1/27/2011, my blood pressure at my doctor's office was 112/70. I also credit weight loss, exercise, salt restriction, and eating plenty of fruits and vegetables.
Before making any medicine or herb changes, discuss them with your doctor.