By Dr. Mercola
In the US, the hibiscus plant is most widely known for its beautiful flowers, but this plant actually offers unique health benefits that have been valued around the world since ancient times.
I used to have many of them but replaced them with fruit trees and berries, which are far more easily edible. However, I still enjoy hibiscus tea and regularly consume it from the far more convenient extracts.
When the petals of the hibiscus flower fall off, deeply colored red calyces (cup-like structures) grow into pods that resemble flower buds. These red calyces are used to make hibiscus extract and a brightly colored (and delicious) red hibiscus tea (sometimes called “sour tea”).
It’s thought that ancient Egyptian pharaohs drank hibiscus tea to help maintain a normal body temperature and stay cool. In Iran, hibiscus tea is used to relieve occasional restlessness and sleep problems.
Other traditional uses include support of heart health (including blood pressure) and respiratory health. More recently, the metabolic benefits of hibiscus tea have been explored with research suggesting it may support healthy weight and much more.
While hibiscus extract is still relatively unknown in the US, it’s not likely to stay that way for long as research continues to reveal its health potential, courtesy of its potent polyphenol content.
Hibiscus Extract Reduces Obesity, Abdominal Fat, and Fatty Liver
Hibiscus sabdariffa extracts (HSE) are known to have both metabolic-regulating and liver-protecting potential. In February 2014, research was published showing that obese people aged 18 to 65 who consumed hibiscus extract for 12 weeks had some interesting findings.
They had reduced body weight, body mass index (BMI), body fat, and waist-to-hip ratio.1 If that wasn’t impressive enough, HSE