It may look beautiful in your garden, but hibiscus flowers are not just a decoration. They offer a variety of health benefits.
The fruity flavor of hibiscus is tangy and sweet, making it perfect for tea. It contains vitamin C, polyphenols and more.
For centuries, people have used hibiscus seeds, flowers, leaves and stems in food and traditional medicine. Today, there are hibiscus-flavored jams, sauces and teas throughout the world. Also known as roselle or sorrel, it’s been used to treat everything from high blood pressure to indigestion.
To make hibiscus tea, steep the dried buds (calyxes) in boiling water. You can also buy dried hibiscus or tea bags. Hibiscus extract is a concentrated liquid form of the supplement. You can buy it from health food or herbal supplement retailers.
1. Protects with Antioxidants
The hibiscus plant is rich in antioxidants like beta-carotene, vitamin C and anthocyanin. Antioxidants destroy free radicals within your body that can cause damage to cells that contribute to cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
2. Fights Inflammation
Inflammation plays a role in the development of many illnesses, including cancer and asthma. While more research is needed, it seems that hibiscus may offer helpful anti-inflammatory effects. Several studies have shown the ability of hibiscus to fight inflammation.
3. Lowers Cholesterol
High cholesterol affects millions of adults and contributes to serious diseases like heart attack and stroke. In one study, people who drank hibiscus tea had an increase in “good cholesterol” (high-density lipoproteins) and a decrease in “bad cholesterol” (low-density lipoproteins).
4. Fights Bacteria
Hibiscus tea may provide antibacterial properties. One study showed that hibiscus extract inhibits E. coli. In laboratory studies, hibiscus extract kept certain types of bacteria in check.
The plant also contains phytoestrogens (or plant estrogens) that may decrease the effectiveness of birth control medication. Consult your doctor if you take any of those medications or if you take hormones for menopause or as a gender-affirming therapy.