Herbal Tea Update: Hibiscus

Herbal Tea Update: Hibiscus
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Hibiscus tea elevates the antioxidant level of one’s bloodstream within an hour of consumption.

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

In my comparison of the antioxidant content of 282 beverages last year, hibiscus tea came out number one. So, my family switched from drinking matcha (green tea) to the hibiscus fruit punch recipe I shared in that video. We have since switched from using tea bags to just bulk dried hibiscus flowers, which we soak, and then blenderize into the tea, so we don’t throw anything away.

But, just because something has antioxidant power in a test tube doesn’t mean it has antioxidant flower power in the body. Maybe the phytonutrients aren’t even absorbed. They were found to be bioavailable in rodents—but, I haven’t had a pet hamster since I was a kid. We didn’t know about humans, until now.

“Consumption of [a] Hibiscus…aqueous extract [in other words, tea] and its impact on systemic antioxidant potential in healthy [human] subjects.” If you take people and have them just drink water, basically, for ten hours, this is what happens to the antioxidant level in their bloodstream. Your antioxidants get slowly used up throughout the day, fighting off all those free radicals, unless you replenish your antioxidant stores.

Now, it’s hard to get people to fast for ten hours, so, in addition to water, they gave the study subjects something they knew wouldn’t mess up their antioxidant measurements—white bread and cheese. So, this is what happens when you eat water, white bread, and Gouda all day.

What if, instead, at the beginning of the experiment, you give people a single cup of hibiscus tea? Within an hour, you see a nice spike in the antioxidant level in your bloodstream. But then, the effect disappears—unless you sip hibiscus throughout the day, or eat something other than Wonder Bread cheese sandwiches.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to JLPC and Popperipopp via Wikimedia; and numberstumper and bterrycompton via flickr

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

In my comparison of the antioxidant content of 282 beverages last year, hibiscus tea came out number one. So, my family switched from drinking matcha (green tea) to the hibiscus fruit punch recipe I shared in that video. We have since switched from using tea bags to just bulk dried hibiscus flowers, which we soak, and then blenderize into the tea, so we don’t throw anything away.

But, just because something has antioxidant power in a test tube doesn’t mean it has antioxidant flower power in the body. Maybe the phytonutrients aren’t even absorbed. They were found to be bioavailable in rodents—but, I haven’t had a pet hamster since I was a kid. We didn’t know about humans, until now.

“Consumption of [a] Hibiscus…aqueous extract [in other words, tea] and its impact on systemic antioxidant potential in healthy [human] subjects.” If you take people and have them just drink water, basically, for ten hours, this is what happens to the antioxidant level in their bloodstream. Your antioxidants get slowly used up throughout the day, fighting off all those free radicals, unless you replenish your antioxidant stores.

Now, it’s hard to get people to fast for ten hours, so, in addition to water, they gave the study subjects something they knew wouldn’t mess up their antioxidant measurements—white bread and cheese. So, this is what happens when you eat water, white bread, and Gouda all day.

What if, instead, at the beginning of the experiment, you give people a single cup of hibiscus tea? Within an hour, you see a nice spike in the antioxidant level in your bloodstream. But then, the effect disappears—unless you sip hibiscus throughout the day, or eat something other than Wonder Bread cheese sandwiches.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to JLPC and Popperipopp via Wikimedia; and numberstumper and bterrycompton via flickr

Nota del Doctor

Here’s the beverage comparison video I mentioned with the hibiscus punch recipe: Better Than Green Tea? Note that’s erythritol pictured, not sugar (see Erythritol May Be a Sweet Antioxidant). And, I also throw in a teaspoon of amla (dried Indian gooseberry powder); see Amla: Indian gooseberries vs. cancer, diabetes, and cholesterol). And, my most recent addition is about a half inch of fresh ginger root—yum! If you throw in some fresh or frozen berries too, you’re approaching my Pink Juice with Green Foam. The impressive manganese content of hibiscus tea (see this study) may exceed recommended limits at high intakes, however; so, we probably shouldn’t drink more than a quart a day.

For a primer on the fluctuating levels of oxidant stress, see Antioxidant Level Dynamics.

And, for more flower power, check out what the saffron crocus can do for depression (Saffron vs. Prozac), PMS (Saffron for the Treatment of PMS), stress (Wake Up and Smell the Saffron), and dementia (Saffron for the Treatment of Alzheimer’s). There are also chamomile flowers (Red Tea, Honeybush, & Chamomile)—though Chamomile Tea May Not Be Safe During Pregnancy—and the rose bush: Rose Hips for Osteoarthritis. I cover more comparisons of herbal teas in The Healthiest Herbal Tea.

Also, check out my associated blog post for more context: Hibiscus Tea: The Best Beverage?

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