Updated: Jun 14, 2020
**please note these are my personal experiences, I am not a doctor. Always consult with your healthcare physicians before beginning any type of supplementation**
Hibiscus is mainly tart with fruity background notes. Some liken its flavor to that of berries or of citrus. It could be considered a combination of the two, similar to the flavor of pomegranate.
A favorite way to use hibiscus is oftentimes in a tea! I love using powdered hibiscus- it can be great as a natural food color and also to make fun treats such as this Hibiscus Berry smoothie!
Check out this easy and nutrient dense recipe made using Hibiscus powder flower and continue to read below on the different health benefits and scientific studies done on using Hibiscus!
Hibiscus Berry Smoothie
2 tablespoons hibiscus powder (I used this brand HERE)
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup frozen raspberries
1 cup crushed ice
1 tablespoon unflavored collagen
1/4 cup unsweetened Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons granulated sugar substitute of your choice (I use Pyure)
1/4 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
Zest from one lemon
Combine all ingredients in a blender, garnish with cinnamon sticks, lemon zest, cacoa nibs, bee pollen and enjoy!
Any leftovers you can also freeze into popsicles!
Here's some nutritional and health info on Hibiscus and how it can benefit you!
Recent Finds on the Health Benefits of Hibiscus:
Scientific interest in hibiscus has grown in the last several years, thanks to a small burst of published research studies — especially in regards to cholesterol and blood pressure maintenance.
In 2007, a one-month clinical trial tested the effects of hibiscus extract on cholesterol levels. A total of 42 subjects were randomized to three groups for the study. Group 1 received one 500-mg capsule 3x daily (1,500 mg/day), Group 2 received two capsules 3x daily (3,000 mg/day), and Group 3 received three capsules 3x daily (4,500 mg/day). Interestingly, by the fourth week, participants in both Groups 1 and 2, but not Group 3, experienced a cholesterol maintenance effect. The optimum dose was 1,000 mg taken 3x daily.
In 2009, another trial studied hibiscus’s ability to support cholesterol maintenance, this time in people concerned with healthy blood sugar levels. Sixty subjects, mostly women, were given either one cup of hibiscus tea or black tea twice per day. After one month, hibiscus was able to help maintain total, LDL, and HDL cholesterol levels — as well as trigylcerides — already within a healthy range.* Black tea, on the other hand, only impacted HDL levels.
A larger trial, in 222 adults, was published on hibiscus in 2010. The subjects — about a third of whom had metabolic challenges — were randomly assigned to one of three groups: a healthy diet, hibiscus, or a healthy diet plus hibiscus. Those with metabolic challenges experienced several benefits from hibiscus, including cholesterol maintenance. Similar effects on supporting normal blood sugar were also noted.
Blood Pressure Maintenance
In 2007, a randomized, controlled, double-blind study researched Hibiscus’s blood pressure maintenance capacity. Participants received either a dried powdered hibiscus extract, containing a total of 250 mg anthocyanins, or an alternate intervention. Hibiscus extract was able to maintain blood pressure levels already within a healthy range, but importantly, it did not alter blood potassium levels, nor did it affect salt-water balance.*
A trial comparing Hibiscus to black tea among people seeking to support healthy blood sugar levels was published in 2009. Subjects were randomly assigned to drink one cup of hibiscus tea or black tea two times per day for one month. Hibiscus tea demonstrated a maintenance effect on systolic (but not diastolic) blood pressure, while black tea did not.*
A Cochrane review of Hibiscus’s effects on blood pressure published in 2010 resulted in five articles. The reviewers included randomized controlled trials of three to 12 weeks in duration that compared hibiscus to either placebo or no intervention at all. All five of these studies found hibiscus had a blood pressure maintenance effect.
Safety and Dosage
As always please consult your medical practitioner before beginning any supplement usage.
It is difficult to clarify dosing recommendations when different products are used in different studies. However, positive studies used the following dosages:
For cholesterol maintenance: 1,000 mg dried herb 3x daily, one cup of hibiscus tea 2x daily, or 100 mg of standardized extract 2x daily.
For blood pressure maintenance: One cup of hibiscus tea 2x daily or dried powdered hibiscus extract providing 250 mg anthocyanins per day.