Monday, February 06, 2012

Hibiscus Tea Blood Pressure Lowering Beverage

Hibiscus produces a vibrant red-orange tea with a pleasantly-tart taste and may lower blood pressure naturally. In 2009 researchers at Tufts University published results of their study that analyzed the effects of hibiscus tea on individuals with mildly elevated blood pressure.

A variety of bioactivities have been attributed to these compounds, she noted, including the ability to act as an ACE inhibitor. Earlier short-term trials in humans used black tea as a control, which also has an effect on vascular reactivity, making it not a proper control to look at the effects of hibiscus tea, she pointed out. "It is also interesting to note that a study comparing hibiscus tea with captopril, an ACE inhibitor, found no difference in blood-pressure-lowering effects."
The aim of their study, she said, was to determine whether hibiscus tea, "in an amount that can be readily incorporated into the diet," will lower blood pressure in prehypertensive and mildly hypertensive adults compared with a placebo beverage.
The study was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of 65 generally healthy men and women aged 30 to 70 years who had SBP readings of 120 to 150 mm Hg and a diastolic blood pressure (DBP) of <95 mm Hg.
Subjects were not taking antihypertensive medications or other supplements or medications that could affect their blood-pressure level. They were not excluded on the basis of body-mass index (BMI), and BMIs in the study ranged from 18.5 to 34.9.
Participants were randomized to receive either three 8-oz servings daily of hibiscus tea for six weeks or a placebo beverage. The hibiscus tea was prepared by brewing one tea bag containing 1.25 g of dried hibiscus calyces in 8 oz of boiled water for six minutes, after which the tea bag was removed. The placebo beverage was prepared by adding a small amount of hibiscus-flavored concentrate to 8 oz of water.
The beverage had to be consumed within 12 hours of preparation and could be served hot or cold and with or without milk and a sweetener of the subjects' choice, she noted. The placebo beverage had no anthocyanins, which they believe is the active component, McKay pointed out.

My Findings
I have been drinking hibiscus tea regularly since the summer of last year and I have seen a drop in my blood pressure to lows that I have not seen in years. I am on a water pill and I have (without my doctor's notice) reduced the amount I take to half and even that seems too much. I try to take half pill every other day now until my next visit to my doctor. Sometimes my pressure would be 100/58 and I think that's too low. The only think that has changed is drinking this tea. I have tried taking other health supplements but never with this result. So I'm going to wean myself off of medication before long. Do not follow my example. Please check with your physician before making any changes in your medications. I have also started a vegan diet since January so I think mine could be a combination. I have not lost any weight and when I do I think that will also impact my pressure positively.  Will keep you posted. 
PS  I should  tell you that most of the time I check my pressure is when I am in Safeway's or the Drug store where those blood pressure machines are available, so the reading might not be all that accurate but over time and if it stays the same you must conclude that your pressure is dropping.

A local Nigerian family has started producing this tea for sale. You can also buy hibiscus tea-bags or loose leaf tea at most of the health food stores.

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