Earlier this year scientists completed a review of medical literature evaluating the effectiveness of Hibiscus sabdariffa in the treatment of hypertension (high blood pressure) and hyperlipidemia (elevated cholesterol, triglycerides). Hypertension is defined as a systolic blood pressure (top number) >140 and the diastolic pressure (bottom number) >90. Normal blood pressure is considered to be <120 / <90. Hyperlipidemia is diagnosed when elevations of any or all lipids and/or lipoproteins in the blood are observed. For most patients with hyperlipidemia they often are simply told that they have high cholesterol or high triglycerides. The review included an analysis of available published randomized clinical trials. Researchers found that Hibiscus is used medicinally in at least ten countries for the treatment of hypertension and hyperlipidemia. In clinical trials, daily consumption of Hibiscus tea lowered systolic and diastolic blood pressure in adults with pre to moderate high blood pressure and in adults diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Even more impressive, Hibiscus tea was shown to be as effective at lowering blood pressure as the commonly prescribed anti-hypertensive medication Captopril. Adding to these results, a study published in The Journal of Nutrition demonstrated a significant blood pressure lowering ability of Hibiscus tea. The study was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial and included 65 pre- and mildly hypertensive adults, age 30-70 years. During the six week study participants were given either three daily servings of 240-mL brewed hibiscus tea or a placebo beverage. At the conclusion of the study, it was determined that hibiscus tea lowered systolic BP an average of 7 points compared to the 1 point difference observed in the placebo group. After analyzing all the data, researchers discovered that the greatest reduction was observed in participants with higher systolic blood pressure at baseline. Based on these data, the daily consumption of hibiscus tea may be an effective therapeutic approach in adults with pre- and mild hypertension. In over half of the published studies, researchers found that daily consumption of Hibiscus tea also had positive effects on lipid levels. These positive effects included lowered total cholesterol levels, lowered triglycerides, and LDL cholesterol. In addition, HDL cholesterol levels were raised. A study published in the journal Phytomedicine evaluated the effects of an extract of Hibiscus on the lipid profile in patients with Metabolic Syndrome. Metabolic Syndrome is a collection of medical diagnoses/risk factors that, when occurring together, increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes greater than when the risk factor is solely present. In other words, having high blood pressure is serious in itself but when combined with an elevated fasting blood sugar and elevated triglycerides the risk for a serious cardiac event is much greater. Metabolic Syndrome occurs when three of the following risk factors are present: abdominal obesity, triglyceride level of 150 mg/dL or greater, HDL cholesterol of less than 40 mg/dL in men or less than 50 mg/dL in women, systolic blood pressure of 130 mm Hg or greater, diastolic blood pressure of 85 mm Hg or greater, fasting blood sugar of 100 mg/dL or greater, and/or the presence of insulin resistance. In this particular study, patients given an extract of Hibiscus showed significantly reduced glucose and total cholesterol levels. The patient’s blood work also revealed increased HDL levels. In addition, when the Hibiscus extract was combined with a diet low in cholesterol and high in fiber a triglyceride-lowering effect was observed. These studies offer promise in the therapeutic potential of Hibiscus for adults with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high triglycerides. Many of the studies reviewed supplied Hibiscus in the form of a tea and the therapeutic dosages used can be easily achieved through daily consumption. Stop by Elements Natural Medicine and try our organic Happy Heart herbal tea. Happy heart contains Hibiscus flowers along with other cardiovascular supporting herbs. It is a flavorful tea blend that can help you manage your blood pressure and cholesterol naturally. Hopkins AL, Lamm MG, Funk JL, Ritenbaugh C. “Hibiscus sabdariffa L. in the treatment of hypertension and hyperlipidemia: a comprehensive review of animal and human studies” Fitoterapia 85 (2013):84-94. Epub. Web. 7 Oct 2013. McKay DL, Chen CY, Saltzman E, Blumberg JB. “Hibiscus sabdariffa L. tea (tisane) lowers blood pressure in prehypertensive and mildly hypertensive adults” The Journal of Nutrition 140.2 (2010):298-303.Epub. Web 7 Oct 2013. Gurrola-Díaz CM, García-López PM, Sánchez-Enríquez S, Troyo-Sanromán R, Andrade-González I, Gómez-Leyva JF. “Effects of Hibiscus sabdariffa extract powder and preventive treatment (diet) on the lipid profiles of patients with metabolic syndrome (MeSy)” Phytomedicine 17.7 (2010): Epub. Web. 7 Oct 2013.