Doctor's Note

Those who’ve been following my work for years have seen how my videos have evolved. In the past, the hibiscus results may have been the whole video, but thanks to everyone’s support, I’ve been able to delegate the logistics to staff and concentrate more on the content creation. This allows me to do deeper dives into the literature to put new findings into better context. The videos are bit longer, but hopefully they’re more useful—let me know what you think!

For such a leading killer, hypertension has not gotten the coverage it deserves on Here’s a few videos with more to come:

So should we all be drinking hibiscus tea every day? This is the first of a four part series on the latest on hibiscus. Stay tuned for the next three:

For now there’s just Herbal Tea Update: Hibiscus and Better Than Green Tea?

For another comparison of those running marathons and those eating plants, see: Arteries of Vegans vs. Runners

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  • Adrien

    I like this new kinds of video. A litle bit longer, more content and better context focusing on the whole story. Thumbs up for you Michael and the team.

    • Thea

      Adrien: I fully agree! This length of video, with the bigger picture, is so helpful to me. Having the background info gives me a lot of confidence in the main point of the video. For me, there isn’t much difference in my time between a 4 minute video and a 7 minute one, especially when the extra 3 minutes are put to such good use.

    • Arjan den Hollander.

      Yeah I like this better too.
      I commented a while back in Wich Vegetable Fights Bile Best on the frequency of video’s vs quality vs rested Greger.
      This seems the better way to go, 2 somewhat longer video’s a week.

      There is the added risk with providing the bigger context in each video of exhausting the “go Vegan” message to such a point it goes counter productive. Brand Vegan© is heavily tainted by tree hugging and sheep fondling people whose moral high highroadery vs economic hypocrisy is just plain nauseating for the average person. The price difffence between normal d3 and vegan d3 can problably feed 1 cat in a animal shelter for a month, a cat they will euthanize if there is no money for food.

      If I would have encountered a vegan messsage in every video in the first month I came here, I very much doubt I would have stuck around.

    • HereHere

      I do like the big-picture presentation, but I would also miss some of the shorties. Such as which mushroom is best, etc. Maybe mix them up? PS – I like to play the videos on 1.5 speed. So if anyone finds them long, they can go to the settings on the video screen (looks like a cog). The speed might take some getting used to, though.

  • Veganrunner

    “Easier to just do plants.” Coming from a man who spends how many hours a day on a treadmill? How about running vegans? Now that would be an interesting study.

    • Claire Elizabeth

      Dr. Greger does have a video comparing sedentary standard American dieters, sedentary vegans, and runners who eat the SAD. He says at the end, “So it appears if you run an average of about a thousand miles every year you can rival some couch potato vegans. Doesn’t mean you can’t do both, but it may be easier to just eat plants.”

      So, I take this to mean for for it with running or not running. The majority of our health is a direct result of our dietary choices. That being said, you’re most likely going to recover and sustain your exercise better as a vegan! Hooray!

      • Veganrunner

        Hi Claire,
        I don’t think we can say the “majority of our health is a direct result of our diet” until we have the group included that is vegan and runs 50 miles per week.

        • Claire Elizabeth

          You’re right, both are quite important. :)

        • Han

          And the funny thing is that when I went vegan I started sporting a lot more­­ ­— I simply can’t sit still anymore! — and that’s what I hear from lots of vegans.

          • I so agree! I hated sports as a child and teenager, mostly because my lungs felt like they were on fire after half a lap around the school oval :(. Now, at the age of 42 and after nearly 10 years on a vegan diet, I’m fitter than I’ve ever been in my life, and I really enjoy running.

        • UCBAlum

          I had the same thought, that it would be interesting to see how vegan runners fared, but with multivariate linear analysis, the data in the study is enough to draw conclusions that meet the highest standard of proof, which if I remember right is one step above causal medical inference – the norm in medicine.

    • Arjan den Hollander.

      Does he have his computers running on his mill I wonder. As a ultimate tour de force towards brain stimulation, fitness and all green powered at the same time. :)

      • Veganrunner

        Arjan I think he does. Look at the Q and A session he did recently. The man is an inspiration!

    • Plantstrongdoc M.D.

      Based on your name, you could probably give us a hint? :-)

      • Veganrunner

        Oh I know. I am a bit biased.

        • Plantstrongdoc M.D.

          Great story! I agree: A mostly plantbased diet and exercise (and a little wine) will keep you young. In the end we are all a little biased…

        • Daniel Wagle

          The way I look at it also, is that riding my bike INSTEAD of driving my car, as well as not eating animals makes the PLANET love me and everyone else who eats plants as well as those who walk or bike instead of driving for transportation. In both ways, I as well as those doing the same things, are cutting down on the greenhouse gases we are contributing to the atmosphere. I would also stress that exercise is *complementary* to a whole foods plant based diet, not a competitor. Only diet supplies nutrients. Exercise is better at burning calories and it also helps a person metabolize nutrients better- but of course we have to get the nutrients from our diet. I think of exercise as one important nutrient in our diet, but it is not the only nutrient we need. I lost a lot of weight by exercising combined with moderate calorie control. Adding the plant based diet to this added some additional benefits, such as even lower weight and cholesterol. Strangely enough, when I was obese, my blood pressure was normal. My cholesterol, however, was very high. My partner has high blood pressure, so got him started on Hibiscus tea, walking everyday, as well as eating a more plant strong diet. It has gotten better, but he is not totally cured of the high blood pressure just yet- he still has to take two medicines.

          • Veganrunner

            Exercise is so important as we age. For coordination, balance, strength, endurance and flexibility. I don’t live on a farm so I run.

  • BB

    My husband, some friends and I attended a running camp directed by a former world class college runner. He was a kind engaging person who created a wonderful vacation for his guests. We ate meals together in a cafeteria and although we had healthy choices, many vegetarian choices at each meal, he always selected the worse possible choice. In addition to his fatty, meaty meals, he would devour a bag of potato chips each evening during lectures and we all walked to the little town each evening to his favorite ice cream shop. I had heard friends and family warned him about his eating habits, but because he ran twice a day, biked in the afternoons and was very lean, he felt he burned off the calories and could eat whatever he wanted. A few years after that trip, we heard he was out running in the mountains and dropped dead of a heart attack. I was already convinced that diet is the most important factor in health, and his story was added evidence. Because he was young and active, he did not have strong indicators of the chronic disease that was developing. Intense exercise requires the healthiest of diets to counter the added stress and energy needs. A sad story, but a valuable lesson.

    • Thea

      BB: I’m sorry to hear about your friend.

      I also really appreciate you sharing this story. It is SO important. I would guess that there are a lot of people who equate skinny with healthy. It is very dangerous thinking and akin to linking vegan (without qualifying what is being eating) to healthy. This story can help people to understand how wrong that thinking is.

      Thank you for your post.

  • Ginger C

    Nicely done…I’ve seen some of this presented by you before, but this one was easier to understand. Thanks. I’ll pass it on.

  • Darryl

    The DASH diet itself is a compromise, designed to provide the blood pressure-reducing benefits of healthy vegetarian and vegan diets in an eating plan designed to be acceptable to a broad range of people.

    • Plantstrongdoc M.D.

      Moderation kills!

  • Tom Lang

    Longer is better in this case. Love the deeper content and analysis of data. Thanks Dr. G!

    Running for 20 years is never a good idea whether you are vegan, carnivore or in between. Most runners do their running on paved surfaces and.20-40 years later they have often worn out the cartilage in their knees, put huge stress on their joints and have had many injuries pre-disposing them to injury-induced arthritis. This happened to two runners I know.

    Look at people around the world who live to very old ages (90-100+) in excellent physical and mental health (eg Blue Zones). They don’t run, they don’t work out in a gym or use exercise videos at home but they do work hard, and remain very active their entire lives, eat a mainly plant based diet, have low stress in their life, strong family support, strong socialization and a spiritual or religious faith. Not a complicated formula to try and emulate. We may not score high in all these important areas but it’s a goal worth striving for. I do. Thanks again Dr. G.

    • Veganrunner

      Hi Tom
      I am away for the computer so I can’t attach the appropriate studies but I will later. Actually that is a myth regarding joint health and running. It actually increases the strength and health of your joints. All of the surrounding tissue does their job better when you train. Runners who have knee issues as they age would have whether they ran or not. But an important point is that if runners have knees that are genuvalgus or varus they should probably pick another sport.

      • Tom Lang

        Hey Veganrunner,

        Thanks for your reply. As I mentioned in an earlier, unrelated, post you can always find studies and experts on both sides of every issue. I work as a health coach. I never tell runners to “not run” I simply suggest they always try to run on unpaved surfaces whenever possible to minimize shock/stress on joints, have high quality running shoes, etc. From a biomechanical and evolutionary standpoint we know that humans are not “designed” for running ultramarathons. Short sprints and huge amounts of walking are what we have done for a million+ years.

        Here’s one study showing the negative impacts of long term running

        and I am fully aware of many showing positive impacts. It really is about using common sense: run on unpaved surfaces, don’t over do it, getting adequate nutrition etc.



        • Veganrunner

          It sound like you might appreciate a good running book than. Born To Run. Good reading. I encourage all my patients to just do something. Running, walking whatever. Just pick something you will stick with. And since it won’t change your mind if I post research I won’t.

          • DB

            What we have learned from Born to Run is that if you change your running style you can run on paved surfaces. I am a 65 year old runner who runs strictly on asphalt roads and i have no joint issues. I have learned to be a forefoot striker, meaning I run in minimalist shoes landing on the ball of my foot, absorbing the shock by the big hinge of my entire leg. I don’t depend on padded shoes to absorb the shock. There is lots of science now showing that barefoot running reduces the shock to the joints. There’s no need to ever give up running in later years.

          • Tom Lang

            I totally agree. Just be ACTIVE in whatever format works for you. Thanks.

        • Veganrunner

          I just had a chance to glance at your posted article. It stated that pace not mileage run was more a predictor of hip degeneration.

          “Among runners alone running pace in 1973 rather than milage run was the stronger predictor of subsequent degenerative hip disease.”

        • Veganrunner

          Oh I hate to be a stickler but that was a really bad study. It doesn’t actually say what you think it does.

      • rumicat

        Runners are self selected to have healthy knee and hip joints. Those of us who have bad biomechanics end up aching so badly after running that a trip down the stairs the day after a workout leaves us in agony. I love running, and I ran cross country in high school, but it’s not for everybody. Wish I could do it, but I’d be needing to invest in a new set of knees in ten years. I do low impact, even running machines (but not treadmills) work well. I envy those who can just strap on a pair of shoes, hit the open road, and get a nice endorphin rush!

        • Veganrunner

          I couldn’t have said it better!

        • I used to get excruciating knee pain when I ran, but an exercise physiologist analysed my muscle usage and figured out an exercise program which changed the muscles I was recruiting when running. Now I can run for miles with no knee pain.

        • Han

          It’s a balance thing: Get a pair of shoes with a zero drop sole, converse all stars will do for example. And then bend your knees and keep them bent whenever you stand. This way you will force your leg muscles to work. Standing up straight should be like dancing while nobody can see you moving, a balance game. Then move your hips forward until you feel your weight evenly distribute between your heel and small toe and big toe. Then you can move up your breast bone. All of the sudden you can freely breeze and you’re standing up straight effortlessly.

          That’s the way you should stand. That’s the way you should run! You go faster by moving your hips more forward!

      • Stewart

        OK VR, I gotta tell my personal experience on this. You might well have enough experience to keep it in context. I have been running off and on since age 30. However I have manage to develop some stress injuries. I was injured (not from running) a few years back, had surgery, and laid off for years. (I was dancing competitively, a lot.) Then found myself compelled to start back up just because I missed it.
        When I did, all my friends were saying be careful and don’t go too far or that I would probably get hurt. Well, I did start and did an easy walk run for about 3 miles and slowly built up to a run which has since increased to 4- 7 miles per day. During all this time, any time I have felt even the slightest discomfort in a knee, I walk until the discomfort disappears. Slowly all discomfort has completely disappeared.

        At age 65 my knees feel better than ever. My dancing friends all complain about their knees. Based almost exclusively on my own experience, I believe the running and probably a good diet have strengthened my menisci. Again though, I did take great care in building up. Today, the frequent discomfort that presented when I first started, is but a memory.

        • Veganrunner

          Hi Stewart,
          Good for you! You did it perfectly. Slowing increasing your speed and distance. Running isn’t for everyone but for those who can do it, the joints get stronger.

          I am pretty lucky. I live close to the beach so if my legs get too tired I can switch it up and run barefoot on the sand.


  • George

    Having seen Dr. Greger’s previous video on hibiscus and its antioxidant content, this past summer I drank a cup a day of hibiscus tea. It was sour, meaning it was fairly acidic. Worried about my teeth, I stopped drinking it.

    • MarthaLA

      In the Doctor’s Notes underneath the video, Dr. Greger mentions this video: Protecting Teeth From Hibiscus Tea

  • elnsie

    I don’t watch videos. If you want to share something with me, write a transcript. You can’t skim the unnecessary, extraneous bleep in a video.

    • Toxins

      Dr. Greger has transcripts for all videos. Just click view transcript next to the video.

    • Guest

      check out his video on the best mouth wash :)

  • downbtntout

    Validation for the plant-eaters over the monster exercisers! I hope to age well and this gives my hope a basis in fact. What a planet this could be, the more this message gets out. Rock on, McGreger team!

  • John S

    I drink hibiscus tea not as my main tool of health, but so that green tea, black tea and oolong tea aren’t so bitter. I don’t want to ingest sugar. Without hibiscus, I won’t drink those teas plain. Hibiscus tea is very high in antioxidants, which is the main health bonus that it brings. It’s very common in Latin America, and it is usually called “Flor de Jamaica”.
    John S

    • Daniel Wagle

      My manager, as well as many people I work with, is from Jamaica. She told me that Hibiscus grew all over the place in Jamaica.

  • Guest

    Is there something wrong with the audio? The video is playing, but I can’t hear the audio. My speakers are on, everything’s plugged in. Was just listening to internet music, so I don’t think it’s anything on my end. ?

    • Thea

      Guest: FYI: the sound is working for me and no one else is reporting a problem. So, I’m not sure what to suggest.

    • Mike Quinoa

      Make sure you haven’t muted the speaker icon on the panel at the bottom of the video.

      • Guest

        Nothing is muted. I listen to other stuff on the internet all the time, & I’ve listened to lots of Dr. Greger’s videos in the past. But for some strange reason, there’s no sound. Was something changed or updated recently? Don’t understand.

    • Di

      I have noticed sometimes the mute button on the video is automatically
      selected. Click it and you should get the sound.

  • rumicat

    Quit taking HCTZ (due to cracking skin and muscle and back pain) two weeks ago and am trying to stick more strictly with a vegan diet, daily exercise, and two cups of hibiscus tea a day. So far my blood pressure is still normal (although in the pre hypertensive range). No more back pain or muscle pain and my skin is already looking better. Drugs being their own variety of sickness. Just wish getting down to that BMI of 21 was a little easier.

  • Really

    Is it more the fact people replaced their sugary beverages with tea that helped? In other words, the absence of sugar improved their health, not the tea itself.

  • Carolyn

    I always look forward to your daily videos and occasional written articles, Dr. Michael. However, this new length in videos does not pique my interest as much. I really enjoyed and learned plenty from the shorter versions (took notes, filed some for later reference). Having many note-worthy health articles and info in my inbox, I need to have topics and related info well-covered in the least amount of time. Since you asked, this is what meets my needs and interest. Otherwise, I tend to sigh to myself when I see the time involved and try to set aside more time later.

  • Thank you for the longer format. More information means better understanding and motivation.

  • Mike Quinoa

    This is a great video Dr. Greger did a few years back. Lots of useful info, and some good humor as well.

    • Olivia

      Love this video, and this is what inspired me to go on a vegan, WFPB diet! I’ll never look back! :)

  • Wil

    Loving it! Thanks for all the work you do.

  • Jane’s Addiction

    Is there any word on whether hibiscus is good, bad, or neutral for those with normal blood pressures? Is there any danger of hibiscus reducing one’s blood pressure to dangerously low levels?

  • Lawrence

    When you refer to hypertension as a disease are you really talking about the underlying condition, atherosclerosis? It would seem to me that CVD, Stroke, Type 2 Diabetes and Dementia all have the same underlying cause. So, why don’t we refer to it instead of these symptoms? If we acknowledge the underlying cause then surely we can focus our efforts better on prevention and treatment.

  • Gazza

    This is my favourite site but i do wonder whether the longer videos will be less appealing to new visitors and perhaps less devoted disciples.

    • I take your point. But really, 7:30, isn’t that the same as a typical USAmerican commercial break? I wonder what the optimal time is? Just how long will a person study if there isn’t going to be a quiz?

  • Daniel Wagle

    It is interesting that this post inadvertently refutes Gary Taubes’ argument that exercise and higher carb Vegan diets are totally ineffective for weight loss. Taubes claims that the amount of exercise Marathon runners do makes them so hungry, that they actually gain weight- this video shows that assumption to be false. He claims that carbs, which plants are rich in, make people fat, but high animal fat consumption makes people lose fat. Taubes’ BMI is 25, which places him in the overweight category. I, and the runners and the Vegans all have a BMI of 21, which is considerably slimmer than Taubes is. Before I really started exercising a lot, my BMI had been as high as 34.5, but now thanks to exercise, calorie control and a plant strong diet, it is much lower now. On what basis is HIS high animal fat, low plant food, no exercise approach more effective than Vegan diets and exercise? His own weight is no argument for that.

    • Toxins

      As I am sure you are well aware from viewing plant positive, Tuabe’s makes many unsubstantiated claims. He is quite an untrustworthy character

      • Daniel Wagle

        Yes, Plant Positive made some good arguments. But also Carbsane also has made some good arguments against Taubes as well. Carbsane thinks Taubes is a liar. James Kreiger has also refuted Taubes’ denial of the calorie theory here Krieger has made the same argument that you made that Protein or meat stimulates insulin as much as sugar.

  • Dan Jackson

    Does anyone know, is Dr. Greger vegan for health, ethics, environment or maybe all?

    • Dule Karneki

      He is Science Proof Evidence Whole Food Plant Based eater.

  • Dr. Linda Cantey Slonim

    I have formerly avoided the videos because I felt they were too time-consuming; but the video I just watched was excellent, even if it was longer. This site is one of the best I’ve encountered, and as a researcher, I’ve seen more sites than I care to list.

  • Brad

    I wanna know is alcohol really helping some people in small amounts, like whats the different health benefits of beer vs non alcoholic beer? What does the flower of hops humulus lupulus do to us? I feel many people would love to know.

  • Jane’s Addiction

    I love the longer videos, for the record. I love as much exposure to the science as possible.

  • Rosemary Guy

    Been struggling with my energy lavels and I think the hibiscus tea really helps with the amla that you suggested as a recipe though having a bit of trouble with the green smoothy bit on the top. Might need a better blender. You are leaving in the hibiscus leaves when you blend?

  • Great video as always Michael. The one challenge of the longer video, is finding a proper title. This video covers much more territory than hibiscus tea.

  • tal

    hi i wanted to ask about using hibiscus while taking the drugs treatment. is it safe or its a mess like the side effects of drugs and grapefruit?

  • tal

    hi.. is it safe consuming hibiscus tea for lowering blood pressure while taking the drugs for hypertension?

  • SillySally

    Is it safe for me to drink ANY hisbiscus tea if I am pregnant? I’m in my early second trimester.

  • John Mclaren

    Love the format!

  • I’ve been a very strict low fat vegan for 3 years. When I started I was taking 3 meds 3 times a day for hypertension and I was in the 150’s – 170’s over 80’s – 90’s range with occasional swings to as high as 200 over 110. Now I’m taking no medications and my blood pressure is normal but unfortunately it’s occasionally going too low down to 90 over 55 with a 45 pulse which can make me so tired I have to nap for a while. Besides the vegan lifestyle I always gotten at least 1 hour of aerobic exercise every day and usually more. I know the diet and exercise have worked really well but is this low blood pressure normal, I’m 68 and otherwise in excellent health. Thanks.

  • Kamen

    Great as always!

  • corlealeo

    Great video!! I started drinking hibiscus tea about a week ago to lower my blood pressure and I feel the effects already.

  • Alexandre

    Hi guys ! been looking like crazy for the table 1 that appears on the video and I want to tell you that it doesnt appear on the “Sources Cited” List :
    Vegetarian diets: what do we know of their effects on common chronic diseases?


    I am hoping I can get some feedback please? I am in Australia. I am a 74 year old male and as of this morning I weigh 88.3kg, but slowing losing weight . I have been taking Statin and B.P. tablets for a few years now, but I started a vegan diet a few months ago and have slowly cut back my medication and now stopped taking all my medications. My B.P. this morning was 117/55. I had a calcium score test last year and it showed that my score was 280.

    I mentioned to my Doctor that I had stopped medication, but he is adamant that I should still keep taking Statin to stop the build up of the calcium score.

    My question is what are my chances of my calcium score getting lower continuing with the vegan diet and no medication?

    Thank you.

    • NFModeratorKatie

      Thanks for your question! Unfortunately, it’s very difficult for us to give such specific medical advice. Whole-food, plant-based diets have been known to do many wonderful things! Some side effects include weight loss, lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, better blood sugar control, and increased energy levels. That being said, your doctor knows you best and it’s best to follow their recommendations. Is you doctor fully aware of the dietary changes you’ve made? If not, it would be a wonderful idea to review your new lifestyle with him in detail. There’s a chance he might be willing to start decreasing your medications depending on your recent lab results and medical history. Best of luck!


        Thank you for your reply. I am sure my Doctor has my best interest at heart and I will talk with him further when I see him next. My thoughts are to stick with what I am doing now without any medications for a reasonable time that then repeat my blood tests and have another calcium score test to see what changes there are if any. I was just hoping there might have been someone else who has actually lowered their calcium score or illuminated it altogether.

        • NFModeratorKatie

          You’re very welcome. Please keep in mind that medication management may be necessary in your case to help prevent a medical event. We recommend that you stay in close contact with your physician to discuss your future plan of care.

  • Riki Kongtong


  • Riki Kongtong

    I am reading the book and am in the chapter where it talks about hibiscus tea – and it says it is also called roselle (and other names). I live in Thailand and hibiscus is indeed a flower – but rosella is a totally different animal (so to speak) and grows on a tree. It is sour/tart and the color is much like cranberry. But it is definitely NOT hibiscus flower. Can someone comment on this please?

  • precie

    i started drinking small amounts of hibiscus tea with green tea and my blood pressure is even lower than it was at 100 over 65.

  • Charmian Debernard

    Ive recently learned to love hibiscus tea, not sure if im part of the group that is or is not effected but …I can say my family and I have been eating vegan about 2 1/2 months or so. I visited a doctor a couple of weeks back (specialist of kidney) who had to take my blood pressure a number of times in different positions because he was having a hard time believing that my resting rate was 110 / 70. Im more than a hundred pounds over weight but I think since switching our nutrition to plant based, low fat sOOO much of my corp health has improved. yea, now if this weight will just drop off :D…!

  • Nolu Crockett-Ntonga

    Bad news: turns out HALLUCINATIONS are a side effect of hibiscus tea. My 89-year old mom’s blood pressure did come down using Dr. Greger’s recommendation of 5 bags of hibiscus tea, but she started having hallucinations, seeing people who were not there and having panic attacks as a result. Surely this is a known issue, wonder why I have seen no mention of it on Would like to hear from the doctor as well as the community. Be forewarned!

  • Nolu Crockett-Ntonga

    Bad news, my 89-yr old Mom started taking the hibiscus tea as recommended by Dr. G and she started having HALLUCINATIONS which turns out to be a known side effect. Her blood pressure did come down but the hallucinations, seeing people who aren’t there, also resulted in panic attacks. I am disappointed that Dr. G never mentioned this side effect at least not in his book.

  • Rokster671

    Just FYI… Not all vegans are slim :-)