A hibiscus blossom behind a woman’s right ear might raise bachelors’ blood pressure. Traditionally, in Hawaii and Tahiti, the flower worn there means a woman is available and looking for love. Hibiscus extract, however, may help lower blood pressure, especially if a bachelor is tubby.
A new study in the journal Molecular Nutrition and Food Research suggests that hibiscus extract lowers blood pressure among people (and rats) with metabolic syndrome. Cheryl McCutchan, PhD, discusses the study in the current issue of HerbClip from the American Botanical Council.
Researchers at the Hospital Universitari de Sant Joan de Reus in Tarragona, Spain gave 31 patients with metabolic syndrome two daily doses of hibiscus extract, totally 125 mg per kg of body weight. Their blood pressure was measured every 30 minutes for four weeks with a nifty gizmo called an ambulatory blood pressure oscillometric monitoring device. Their blood, exercise and diet were also analyzed. In addition, eight hypertensive rats and eight control rats were given doses of hibiscus as well. Their blood pressure was monitored with a tail cuff.
Blood pressure levels decreased in both the human and rodent subjects. The researchers believe the effect is fueled by the polyphenols in the hibiscus.
Hibiscus has been used to lower blood pressure in traditional African and Asian medicine for ages. Modern science, it seems, has been catching up. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition in 2010 found that three cups of hibiscus tea daily was highly effective in adults classified as prehypertensive or mildly hypertensive.