All About Hibiscus Tea

Photo by Olya Kobruseva on

I am a tea enthusiast and Hibiscus Tea is my favorite on the list. Hibiscus tea is naturally ruby red in color and has a sour taste to it. Hibiscus tea is also known as sour tea, red sorrel, agua de Jamaica among many other names. There is a wide range of hibiscus flowers to choose from, but hibiscus tea is made from the dried calyx of the Hibiscus sabdariffa flower. This flower is commonly found in the tropical or sub-tropical regions of Africa and countries such as China, Mexico, and Thailand.

In this article, we will talk about:

  • The health benefits of hibiscus tea
  • The downsides of hibiscus tea
  • How to make hibiscus tea
  • How often to drink hibiscus tea
Tea Creative/Soo Chung on Unsplash

The health benefits of hibiscus tea

Consuming hibiscus tea definitely has its potential benefits to the body. Some of these benefits are:

Hibiscus tea may help prevent cancer

Hibiscus tea may help prevent certain types of cancer of the human body. It has polyphenols that contain strong anti-cancer properties. Research has shown that extracts from hibiscus have hindered cell growth and reduced the intrusive nature of mouth and plasma cell cancers. Research has also shown that extracts from hibiscus have prevented the spread of prostate cancer cells in humans.

It is important to note that all these were test-tube studies and therefore the results are not conclusive to a human body.

Hibiscus tea may help in the fight against bacteria

Hibiscus tea may contain anti-bacterial properties. Just like the research on cancer prevention, the research on its anti-bacterial properties were also test-tube studies. In this research, extracts from hibiscus were proven to fight against E.Coli, a bacteria that leads to diarrhea, gas, and stomach pains.

Hibiscus tea may help in weight loss

Research has shown that hibiscus tea may help in the weight loss journey. the results from the study showed that hibiscus reduced body weight, body fat, and Body Mass Index (BMI) after a period of 3 months.

Hibiscus tea may reduce bad cholesterol in the body

There is the good kind of cholesterol scientifically known as HDL cholesterol, then there is the bad kind of cholesterol scientifically known as LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. A high amount of the bad kind of cholesterol can lead to heart disease.

Research done showed that people who consumed hibiscus tea had a significant decrease in bad cholesterol and an increase in the good cholesterol which is needed by the body.

Hibiscus tea may reduce blood pressure

Another heart risk factor like cholesterol is high blood pressure. High blood pressure weakens the heart muscles since the pressure in the blood overwork the heart muscles. Hibiscus tea comes in handy as it is a safer and natural option to use to lower blood pressure.

NOTE: Do not use hibiscus tea in conjunction with hydrochlorothiazide, a drug used to lower blood pressure. The two react with each other leading to negative results.

Hibiscus tea may be good for your liver

Hibiscus tea helps improve the health of your liver therefore your liver works effectively. Hibiscus tea has been proven to reduce fat accumulation in the liver, scientifically known as liver steatosis. Liver steatosis leads to liver failure.

Photo by Eba Marie on

The downsides of hibiscus tea

Hibiscus tea has its health benefits but may also pose some risks to the human body. Some of these risks are:

Liver damage

We mentioned that hibiscus is good for the liver earlier but it is important to note that high concentrations of hibiscus could lead to liver damage, otherwise known as hepatotoxicity or toxic hepatitis. As your liver works to filter your blood, toxins may form leading to an inflamed or damaged liver. Excess hibiscus concentrations in the body could lead to this toxicity.

Interaction with medication

Hibiscus can interact with certain medications rendering them ineffective to the body. As stated earlier, hibiscus is not to be used with hydrochlorothiazide, a drug used to lower blood pressure. This is because when used together, the drug is made ineffective and therefore not serving its purpose in the body.

The same goes for malaria drugs. Hibiscus makes chloroquine, the active component in malaria drugs, ineffective.

Blood sugar/pressure levels

Hibiscus tea naturally works as a laxative. This means it lowers the blood pressure and blood sugar of an individual. If one is diabetic, it is advisable to take little to no hibiscus tea as it may leave one in a worse state. This is because diabetes lowers the blood pressure of an individual when transitioning to standing either from sitting down or lying down. Depending on your type of diabetes, low blood sugar can be a character as well. It is therefore important to monitor yourself if you take hibiscus tea.


Research has shown that hibiscus tea is unsafe when consumed during pregnancy. It may lead to pre-term labor or start menstruation leading to a miscarriage.

How to make Hibiscus Tea

Hibiscus tea is one of the easiest tea to make. There are a couple of ways to prepare but I am going to share my simple procedure.

  • Boil a cup of water
  • Add a hibiscus tea bag to the hot water
  • Add two teaspoons of sugar or honey to taste

How often should you take hibiscus tea?

It is safe to consume 2 to 3 cups of hibiscus tea in a day. For better results, you can take the tea half an hour before taking your meals.

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