With a refreshing, sour taste and a pleasant pink color, you can enjoy a tea made from rosehips and hibiscus hot or iced. Rosehips are the fruit from a number of species of wild and cultivated rose plants, while hibiscus is a flashy, tropical flower. Both herbs contain high levels of flavonoids and other antioxidants, and rosehips are an excellent source of vitamin C. A tea made from rosehips and hibiscus may help lower your blood pressure, support your immune system and treat cancer.
Hibiscus for Cardiovascular Health
Scientific studies have revealed that hibiscus can help to lower high blood pressure, and it may play a role in reducing cholesterol and blood lipid levels as well. In one study published in 2010 in “The Journal of Nutrition,” hibiscus tea was shown to lower blood pressure in pre- and mildly hypertensive adults when taken in an amount easy to incorporate into a daily diet. A study published in the “Journal of Ethnopharmacology” in June 1999 also showed that hibiscus tea lowered systolic blood pressure significantly, and that three days after stopping treatment, blood pressure rose by 7.9 percent. Research published in the "Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine" in August 2009 showed that in patients with diabetes, hibiscus tea lowered “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglycerides and raised "good" HDL cholesterol.
Both hibiscus and rosehips contain powerful antioxidants that may help prevent cancer. In a study published in 2012 in the “Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture,” researchers showed that compounds in rosehips -- including flavonoids, polyphenols and vitamin C -- demonstrated high antioxidant activity toward cancer cells, and that the polyphenols – quercetin and ellagic acid – exhibited antitumor properties. According to research published in “Current Medicinal Chemistry” in 2011, tests of hibiscus revealed that its antioxidants are helpful in treating leukemia and gastric cancer, and they can also protect the liver from oxidative damage, at least in rats.
Immune Support and Other Benefits
The antioxidants in both herbs as well as the high levels of vitamin C in rosehips support immune system health, and for this reason both herbs are often found in formulas to treat colds and the flu. According to "The Herbal Vade Mecum," rosehip tea is also useful in gently treating mild constipation, and it may relieve the symptoms of kidney disorders. Hibiscus and rosehip tea has a mild diuretic effect, which is particularly helpful for people who tend to carry excess water weight. Rosehips and hibiscus have both been used traditionally to treat a number of inflammatory conditions.
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Both rosehips and hibiscus are considered gentle, safe herbs, but before you start using any herbs, it is always best to check with a qualified healthcare professional if you are taking medications, if you are pregnant or lactating, or if you have serious medical problems. When harvesting rosehips, be sure that the plants have not been treated with chemicals, such as herbicides. Rosehips have a sweeter flavor if they are harvested after the first frost in fall. Rosehip and hibiscus tea is a safe and tasty way to incorporate healthy antioxidants into your daily diet.
- Bastyr Center for Natural Health: Hibiscus Tea to Lower Your Blood Pressure
- The Herbal Vade Mecum: 800 Herbs, Spices, Essential Oils, Lipids, Etc. - Constituents, Properties, Uses, and Caution; Gazmend Skenderi
- Current Medicinal Chemistry: Chemopreventive Properties and Molecular Mechanisms of the Bioactive Compounds in Hibiscus Sabdariffa Linne
- The Journal of Nutrition: Hibiscus Sabdariffa L. Tea (Tisane) Lowers Blood Pressure in Prehypertensive and Mildly Hypertensive Adults
- Journal of Ethnopharmacology: The Effect of Sour Tea (Hibiscus Sabdariffa) on Essential Hypertension
- Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine: Effects of Sour Tea (Hibiscus Sabdariffa) on Lipid Profile and Lipoproteins in Patients with Type II Diabetes
- Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture: Effect of Rosehip (Rosa Canina L.) Phytochemicals on Stable Free Radicals and Human Cancer Cells
Amy Myszko is a certified clinical herbalist and nutritional consultant who has been helping people find greater health and balance through diet, lifestyle and natural remedies since 2006. She received her certification from the North American Institute of Medical Herbalism in Boulder, Colo. Myszko also holds a BA in literature from the University of Colorado.