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Hibiscus Tea Health Benefits

Hibiscus is a plant genus (a group of plants) which include both annual and perennial herbaceous plants. These group of plants are very popular due to its colorful and beautiful flowers. This plant can be found in the different places of the world and can also be found in the Philippines. This plant is locally called in the Philippines as “Gumamela“. Aside from its aesthetic use, the plant, especially its flower, is also attributed to have health benefits.

The flower of the hibiscus plant can be eaten when dried or can be made into a drink usually as a tea. Although it is not a common practice here in the Philippines, the tea drink is surprisingly popular in countries in Latin America and in Africa. In Latin America, the hibiscus tea drink is called Agua de flor Jamaica and is usually prepared by steeping the calyces, along with ginger (in Jamaica), in boiling water, straining the mixture, pressing the calyces (to squeeze all the juice out), adding sugar, sometimes clove, cinnamon and a little rum (in Jamaica). While in Africa, it is called Karkade and is often prepared by soaking the calyces in cold water for a few days and then straining the result.

Studies have shown that the hibiscus tea genuinely lowers blood pressure in people with type 2 diabetes, prehypertension or mild hypertension. Although this might be the case, there are no reliable evidence that can be used to recommend the usage of hibiscus tea in the treatment of primary hypertension. Additionally, it is also notable to say that according to early research, taking a hibiscus extract by mouth for 4 weeks may be as effective as the prescription drug captopril in reducing hypertension.

Aside from this widely researched effect, the hibiscus plant has also other remarkable benefits such as but are not limited to: treatment for loss of appetite, colds, nerve diseases, respiratory tract pain and swelling. It can also be used as a gentle laxative and as a diuretic to induce urine excretion.

Although these benefits are good and all and that the plant is deemed to be likely safe for most people, it is speculated to be unsafe for pregnant women since there were some evidence that oral intake of the plant may induce menstruation. This may hence cause a miscarriage.

The hibiscus is a very remarkable plant in a sense that it serves a dual purpose to aesthetics and to health. Although some of the benefits need more research to be proven, it really will not cost you a fortune to try out this superb alternative. It tastes great too.

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