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Nov. 10, 2008 (New Orleans) -- If you're worried about your blood pressure, you may want to follow the British custom of regularly "sipping a cuppa" -- tea, that is.
In a new study, drinking three cups of herbal tea containing hibiscus each day lowered blood pressure.
"Most of the commercial herbal tea blends in the United States contain hibiscus," says Diane L. McKay, PhD, of Tufts University in Boston. She tells WebMD that people with the highest blood pressure at the start of the six-week study benefited the most.
McKay presented the study of 65 healthy men and women with modestly elevated blood pressure at the American Heart Association (AHA) meeting here.
Overall, drinking hibiscus tea blends lowered systolic blood pressure -- the top number in the blood pressure reading -- by an average of 7 points. That was significantly more than the 1-point drop observed in people who were given a placebo in the form of hibiscus-flavored water, McKay says.
While a 7-point drop in blood pressure might not seem like much, she says studies have shown that "even small changes in blood pressure ... when maintained over time ... will reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack."
Past AHA president Robert H. Eckel, MD, says that more study is needed to determine whether herbal tea's blood-pressure-lowering effect can actually be sustained over the long haul.
The degree of blood pressure lowering associated with tea
in the study was as much as would be expected with standard blood
Hibiscus Tea - a Naturally
Delicious Weight-Loss Aid
Since the 1980s, the epidemic of obesity and
related disorders, including adult-onset diabetes and cardiovascular
Manufacturers of natural supplements have also tried to address the growing obesity problem, for example, by flooding the market with naturally-derived products that increase metabolism or inhibit the absorption of fats and carbohydrates. However, many of these substances have shown to produce undesirable side effects, as well. Certain natural supplements contain ingredients that can cause cell mutations and contribute to the development of <>
Which weight-loss products really work without producing dangerous side effects? Hibiscus tea, as well as humble and inexpensive green tea, are potent supplements that can successfully contribute to the weight -loss process without making you cranky, dizzy, tired, or even seriously ill. Although the health-promoting and slimming benefits of green tea are well-known, most people are not familiar to the same degree with wonderful weight-loss qualities of hibiscus tea. Let us shed some light on how this natural product works to contribute to your health and help you get rid of excess weight.
Hibiscus tea contains a number of powerful enzyme inhibitors and affects the absorption of dietary fats and carbohydrates. It is known to block the production of amylase - the enzyme that breaks down starches and other complex sugars. When added to a diet, isolated amylase inhibitors, such as phaseolamin, have shown to reduce the metabolism and absorption of dietary carbohydrates, thus helping treat overweight and obesity. However, in hibiscus tea amylase inhibitors are contained in their natural, unadulterated form and are much safer and more beneficial for the body than laboratory-produced concoctions. The same form of amylase inhibitors is present in kidney beans and other hard-to-digest legumes.
In addition to blocking the absorption of sugars, this traditional tea has cleansing and anti-bloating properties, helping the body rid of excess fluids and therefore further contributing to weight loss, especially in menopausal women and other susceptible individuals. Hibiscus tea is caffeine-free and has a high vitamin C content, which adds to its health-promoting qualities. Hibiscus infusions are also praised for their ability to lower cholesterol and blood pressure. In folk medicine they are used to prevent and treat heart and liver diseases.
Cold or hot infusions of Hibiscus sabdariffa flower, the main component of hibiscus tea, are very popular in Central American, African, and Middle Eastern regions as inexpensive everyday drinks. Hibiscus tea is even believed to have been the most favourite beverage in ancient Egypt, savoured with relish by both nobility and simple folks. Hibiscus tea is slightly tart and unquestionably delicious, with a mildly acidic, cranberry-like taste.
If you suffer from obesity, hypertension, or
bloating, several cups of tasty hibiscus tea a day after meals are a
great way to lose weight and regain back your health!
When I'm in need of a refreshing stunner of a drink on a hot afternoon, I turn to this Jamaica Flower Iced Tea recipe. It became one of my favorite things to drink on hot afternoons throughout my recent trip to Mexico.
One of the first things you notice as you start browsing local markets in places like Merida or Mexico City is that many of the stalls are punctuated with big, baskets overflowing with the dried maroon petals of the jamaica flower (also known as hibiscus). If nothing else on this trip, I learned how to properly pronounce jamaica - in reference to the flower, not the country. It is ha-MIKE-uh in Spanish. If store clerks are looking at you funny in the states when you ask for it, try asking for dried hibiscus. You can usually find it near the loose teas, or nestled in with bulk herbs and spices in natural food stores. I usually get mine at Rainbow Foods in San Francisco. For those of you who have more limited options in your communities you can always mail order it here .
Dried jamaica flowers create one of the most beautiful and delicious infusions you can imagine. In restaurants, people can't help but crane their necks as trays filled with icy tall glasses of Agua de Jamaica make their way towards lucky recipients. In the case of the jamaica flower, the flavor is as engaging as the visual. Well-chilled and served over ice, the jewel-like ruby red juice brims with the tangy sweetness of the dried petals and sugar - add a kiss of lime and you have the perfect late afternoon refresher.
Making this iced tea is easy, easy, easy. It is a must for your next BBQ or pool party - people are always delighted when they get to try anything made with jamaica flowers. Once you find a source for dried petals you are halfway there. Creating the actual tea doesn't take more than ten minutes of active cooking time, after that you are just waiting for the tea to cool.
I am sold on the taste alone, but it is also believed (in many cultures) that jamaica/hibiscus packs a bounty of healthful properties. It is rich in vitamin C, and has been widely used as an herbal method of controlling high blood pressure, tempering fevers, alleviating digestive problems, as well as improving circulatory disorders. So enjoy it on this front as well.
Other ideas: use the petals to infuse granitas, sherbets and
sorbets. I've also used the petals to flavor margaritas. Popsicles! I
also want to try making it into a jelly at some point.
4 cups water
1/2 cup dried jamaica flowers
1/2 cup sugar (I used natural cane sugar this time around)
Another 3 cups of cold water
More sugar to taste
1 lime, thinly sliced
If you prefer, you can sweeten with any natural sweetener of your choice including honey in place of granulated sugar).
First off, pick out a pot that won't stain. Hibiscus has the potential to stain just about anything it comes in contact with including your countertop, cookware, wooden spoons, favorite jeans, etc. So keep this in mind.
Bring the 4 cups of water to a boil. Remove water from heat and add the dried flowers and sugar. Place a lid over the pot and steep for 10 minutes, stirring once or twice along the way to break down the sugar granules.
Pour the infusion through a strainer into a pitcher or jug (this is usually where something gets stained). You are going to want to add about 3 more cups of cold water to the pitcher. Taste and adjust based on your personal preference. You can add a bit more sugar if you think you need it, or more water if you feel like the jamaica is too overpowering. This is usually just about right for my taste. I don't like the sugar to overpower the refreshing natural tartness of the jamaica flower.
Cool completely and serve with plenty of ice in glasses garnished with a slice of lime.
THIS IS THE BEST, NATURAL TEA WITH RICH VITAMIN C. I DRINK IT
EVERYDAY - TED JEC.