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Jamaica Flower: Nature's Best Kept Secret

Jamaica Flower: Nature's Best Kept Secret


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Hibiscus sabdariffa, also known as rosella, hibiscus, or hibiscus, is an herb native to the eastern Pacific tropics. It has been used for years in India and Malaysia, for medicinal and culinary purposes. Until recently, several of its supposed health properties had been questioned due to the absence of scientific evidence to support them. However, researchers are beginning to understand the mechanisms of action of this herb through which this herb shows its many health benefits.

One of the best-documented attributes of rosella is its ability to lower blood pressure. This effect is so powerful that a study conducted at Tufts University in 2010 concluded that individuals with moderate hypertension, but who were not taking any medication to control it, could reduce it by taking just one cup of hibiscus tea daily.

In a more recent study, published in the scientific journal Phytomedicine, the antihypertensive effects of captopril (an antihypertensive medication) were compared with a drink made from rosella. Two experimental groups were evaluated; one of them had to have a cup of hibiscus tea before breakfast, while the other group took 25 mg of captopril, twice a day. The results indicated that rosella was as effective as captopril, with a 10 point decrease in baseline diastolic blood pressure seen in 79% of participants who took hibiscus tea, compared to 81% of those who took captopril.

Diastolic blood pressure refers to the lowest value recorded in a blood pressure measurement. So far, of all the beneficial health properties, the antihypertensive effects of hibiscus are the most important and best documented.

A less studied, but nonetheless promising attribute of rosella concerns its regulating effects on blood glucose. It is also thought to lower blood levels of LDLc ("bad cholesterol"), making us less susceptible to cardiovascular disease and stroke. Some preliminary research suggests that hibiscus tea may aid in weight loss by slowing the absorption rate of carbohydrates from the digestive tract. Finally, this natural remedy has long been used to treat chronic colds and sore throats. Its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties make it effective against minor illnesses and alleviate some inflammatory processes in the body.

In addition to the beneficial effects on health, hibiscus is also known for being one of the foods richest in antioxidants. In a comparative study of more than 200 drinks, scientists found that hibiscus tea had the highest antioxidant content receiving an overall score of 138. For reference, the next highest drink was green tea "matcha", with a score of 100, in the same experiment. As we have emphasized in DIABETV, antioxidants are very important because they protect cells from damage caused by free radicals and, when cell damage occurs, many of the serious diseases, such as cancer, Alzheimer's and diabetes are more likely to develop.

Perhaps the distinguishing characteristic of hibiscus tea is that it exerts its many health benefits, with no known negative side effects so far. We highly recommend to our readers the daily consumption of rosella tea, regardless of whether they suffer from diabetes or not. Its nutritional value is extraordinary and it is worth calling a "superfood."

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