Scientific Name/Common Name: Hibiscus sabdariffa / Hibiscus
Part(s) Used: Flower
Constituents/Active Ingredients: 15-30% plant acids, including citric, malic, and tartaric acids and a unique hydroxycitric acid called hibiscus acid which give the tea a pleasant tart taste. The flowers also contain approximately 1.5% anthocyanins including delphinidin 3-sambubioside, and delphinidin that color the tea red. The blossoms contain more than 15% mucilage and make a pleasantly sweet tea, which on hydrolysis affords traces of galactose, arabinose, glucose, rhamnose, galacturonic acid, xylose, and mannose.
Overview: Hibiscus flowers are rich in mucilage, a complex mixture of polysaccharides that form a soothing gelatinous fiber when water is added. The tea contains approximately 15% mucilage polysaccharides and 2% pectins. Hibiscus, also known as red-sorrel, is listed in the German Commission E Monographs and its flower tea was traditionally used internally for stimulating appetite, soothing sore throats, laryngitis and tonsillitis, coughs, dryness of the lungs, and digestive upsets. The tea also contains high concentrations of colorful purple flavonoids called anthocyanins that are anti-inflammatory. Anthocyanins are beneficial for skin and vascular health and are also known to coat the surface of cell membranes and protect them from enzymatic and free radical damage. The tea is recommended to alleviate urinary tract problems, which may be attributed to the action of anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins that prevent bacteria from adhering to the bladder wall.
Traditional Use/Benefits/Body Systems: For sore throat, inflamed mucous membranes, upset stomach, as a source of antioxidants, and to support cardiovascular health.
Clinical Studies/Scientific Research/References:
Foster S, and Duke JA. 1990. Hibiscus in Medicinal Plants. Houghton Mifflin Co., New York, NY, p. 144. Schmidgall J, Schnetz E, Hensel A. 2000.
McKay DL, Chen CY, Saltzman E, Blumberg JB. Hibiscus sabdariffa L. tea (tisane) lowers blood pressure in prehypertensive and mildly hypertensive adults. J Nutr. Feb 2010;140(2):298-303.
Wichtl M (ed). 1994. Hibisci flos – Red-sorrel flower (English translation by Norman Grainger Bisset). In Herbal Drugs and Phyto-pharmaceuticals. CRC Press, Stuttgart, pp. 266-267.
Disclaimer: This information in our Herbal Encyclopedia is intended only as a general reference for educational purposes. It is not a replacement for medical advice. This content does not provide dosage information, cautions/contraindications, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Please consult any relevant product labels for detailed information on use and with a medical practitioner for individual health advice.