Updated: Mar 30
The hibiscus flower is an ancient flower known for growing in tropical regions of the world. Not only is this flower beautiful, but it has great health benefits and is a key ingredient in several of our teas. In this post we will take a look at the history of this beautiful flower, and the many health benefits it provides.
Modern biology has defined eight original hibiscus hybrids that were known to grow throughout the planet. Primarily in tropical regions, hibiscus is an ancient flower native to India, China, Mauritius, Hawaii, Fiji and Madagascar.
The original name was Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, or "Rose of China." However, the documented history of this flower does not coordinate with a Chinese origination. Malaysia has made the hibiscus it national emblem, but the historical records primarily relate back to Hawaii.
While historical recors of the hibiscus have not been found, a gentleman by the name of Charles Telfair began documenting and researching the hibiscus flower back in 1820. Telfair grew hibiscus and began cultivating his own hybrid forms. He began bringing awareness to the hibiscus and sharing his work in growing the flower, eventually coming in contact with a man by the name of Robert Barclay.
Robert Barclay we instrumental in bringing these new hybrids to English gardeners.
It wasn't until 1900 that the most significant interest in hibiscus hybrids began. In Hawaii, India, Ceylon, Fiji and Florida, which all determined that hibiscus is a highly polymorphic flower composed of complex hybrids.
Antioxidants are small molecules that do great work on fighting free radicals. Free radicals are commonly known for damaging cells, thus antioxidants provide the body with healthy cells.
A recent study on rats proved that hibiscus extract showed to reduce harmful free radicals by up to 92%. While this study was conducted on rats, and further studies are required, the evidence is strong enough to be considered in its applications for humans.
The effects hibiscus has on lowering blood pressure are both impressive, and commonly understood.
High blood pressure is known for straining heart function, affected by both systolic and diastolic pressure.
One study found that hibiscus has the ability to aid in lowering both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Hibiscus is not recommended for those taking hydrochlorothiazide.
A major cause for heart disease is fat in our blood systems. A recent study of 60 people with diabetes was conducted by giving them hibiscus tea or black tea. Those patients who had consumed hibiscus tea showed an increase in HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol), and a decrease in LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol).
Most studies related to hibiscus and blood fat have been conducted on people with specific health issues. More generic studies on humans in order to determine the effects of hibiscus on our blood fat are required.
Hibiscus has been found to promote liver health and efficiency.
One cause for liver failure is excessive fat in the liver. One study found that by consuming hibiscus daily, liver fat in obese patients declined.
A recent study found in 36 obese patients potential for weight loss from hibiscus consumption.
Some were given hibiscus, and some a placebo. Those who had consumed the hibiscus showed reductions in body weight, body fat, BMI, and waist size.
Hibiscus is known to contain high amounts of polyphenols.
In a recent test tube study, hibiscus was discovered to impair cancerous cell growth, and reduced invasive mouth and plasma cell cancer. Another study showed hibiscus inhibiting stomach cancer cells by upwards of 52%.
Hibiscus is not only a beautiful flower, easily recognizable. But it offers a great deal of potential health benefits. While more studies are required in order to confirm existing studies, the hard facts are hibiscus is a delicious flavor, with beautiful bright red coloring in teas. Check out these teas that contain Hibiscus!