Hibiscus is a bushy annual plant. Parts of the flower are used to make a popular drink in Egypt called Karkade. Various parts of the plant are also used to make jams, spices, soups, and sauces. The flowers are used to make medicine.
Hibiscus is used for treating loss of appetite, colds, heart and nerve diseases, upper respiratory tract pain and swelling (inflammation), fluid retention, stomach irritation, and disorders of circulation; for dissolving phlegm; as a gentle laxative; and as a diuretic to increase urine output.
In foods and beverages, hibiscus is used as a flavoring. It is also used to improve the odor, flavor, or appearance of tea mixtures.
How it works
The fruit acids in hibiscus may work like a laxative. Some researchers think that other chemicals in hibiscus might be able to lower blood pressure; decrease spasms in the stomach, intestines, and uterus; and work like antibiotics to kill bacteria and worms.
Possibly EffectiveHigh blood pressure
Some early research shows that drinking hibiscus tea for 2-6 weeks decreases blood pressure in people with mildly high blood pressure. Other early research shows that taking a hibiscus extract by mouth for 4 weeks may be as effective as the prescription drug captopril for reducing blood pressure in people with mild to moderate high blood pressure. However, an analysis of results from various clinical studies suggests that there is not enough evidence to draw strong conclusions about the effects of hibiscus in reducing high blood pressure.
Hibiscus is LIKELY SAFE for most people in when consumed in food amounts
It is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth appropriately in medicinal amounts. The possible side effects of hibiscus are not known.
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Hibiscus isPOSSIBLY UNSAFEwhen taken by mouth duringpregnancy. There is some evidence that hibiscus might startmenstruation, and this could cause amiscarriage. There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking hibiscus if you arebreast-feeding. Stay on the safe side, and avoid use.
Diabetes: Hibiscus might decrease blood sugar levels. The dose of your diabetes medications might need to be adjusted by your healthcare provider.
Low blood pressure: Hibiscus might lower blood pressure. In theory, taking hibiscus might make blood pressure become too low in people with low blood pressure.
Surgery: Hibiscus might affect blood sugar levels, making blood sugar control difficult during and after surgery. Stop using hibiscus at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
Hibiscus tea might reduce the amount of chloroquine that the body can absorb and use. Taking hibiscus tea along with chloroquine might reduce the effectiveness of chloroquine. People taking chloroquine for the treatment or prevention of malaria should avoid hibiscus products.
MinorAcetaminophen (Tylenol, others)
Hibiscus might decrease blood sugar. Diabetes medications are also used to lower blood sugar. Taking hibiscus along with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to go too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed.Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, metformin (Glucophage), pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glipizide (Glucotrol), tolbutamide (Orinase), and others.Hibiscus might lower blood pressure. Taking hibiscus along with medications used for lowering high blood pressure might cause your blood pressure to go too low. Do not take too much hibiscus if you are taking medications for high blood pressure.Some medications for high blood pressure include nifedipine (Adalat, Procardia), verapamil (Calan, Isoptin, Verelan), diltiazem (Cardizem), isradipine (DynaCirc), felodipine (Plendil), amlodipine (Norvasc), and others.Drinking a hibiscus beverage before taking acetaminophen might increase how fast your body gets rid of acetaminophen. But more information is needed to know if this is a big concern.