How Much Hibiscus Tea is Too Much?

How Much Hibiscus Tea is Too Much?
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The impressive manganese content of hibiscus tea may be the limiting factor for safe daily levels of consumption.

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Over-the-counter antacids are probably the most important source for human aluminum exposure in terms of dose. Maalox, for example, taken as directed, can exceed the daily safety limit more than 100-fold, and nowhere on the label does it say to not take it with acidic beverages such as fruit juice. Washing an antacid down with orange juice can increase aluminum absorption 8-fold, and citric acid was worse—the acid found naturally concentrated in lemon and limes.

Just as sour fruits can enhance the absorption of iron, which is a good thing, through the same mechanism they may enhance the absorption of aluminum, raising the question what happens when one adds lemon juice to tea? Previously, I concluded that the amount of aluminum in tea is not a problem for most people because it’s not very absorbable, but what if you add lemon? No difference between tea with lemon, tea without lemon or no tea at all in terms of the amount of aluminum in the bloodstream, suggesting that tea drinking does not significantly contribute to aluminum actually getting inside the body. They’re talking about black tea, green tea, white tea, oolong tea, what about the red zinger herbal tea, hibiscus? The reason it’s called sour tea is because it has natural acids in it like citric acid—might that boost the absorption of any of its aluminum? Well, a greater percentage of aluminum gets from the hibiscus into the tea water, but there’s less aluminum overall. The question is, does the aluminum then get from the tea water into our body? We don’t have that data so to be on the safe side we should assume the worst—that is hibiscus tea aluminum, unlike green and black tea aluminum, is completely absorbable. In that case, based on this data and the World Health Organization weekly safety limit we may not want to drink more than 15 cups of hibiscus tea a day, but that’s based on someone who’s about 150 pounds. If you have a 75 pound 10-year-old, a half gallon a day may theoretically be too much. And more extensive testing more recently suggests levels may reach as high as twice as much, so no more than about two quarts a day for adults, or a quart for kids every day or for pregnant women. And hibiscus tea should be completely avoided by infants under 6 months—who should only be getting breast milk—as well as kids with kidney failure, who can’t efficiently excrete it.

The study also raised concern about the impressive manganese level in hibiscus tea. Manganese is an essential trace mineral, a vital component of some of our most important antioxidant enzymes, but we probably only need about 2 to 5 milligrams a day, and 4 cups of hibiscus tea can have as much as 17, averaging about 10. Is that a problem?

Women given 15 cups a day for 4 months, if anything, only saw an improvement in their anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant enzyme activity. This study using 20 a day similarly showed no adverse short-term effects, and importantly showed that retention of dietary manganese is regulated. Our body’s not stupid; if we take too much in, our body decreases the absorption, and increases the excretion. So even though tea drinkers may get 10 times the manganese load, 10 or 20 milligrams a day, the levels in their blood is essentially identical. So there is little evidence that dietary manganese poses a risk. That was regular tea, though, we don’t know about the absorption from hibiscus, so to err on the side of caution we should probably not routinely exceed the reference dose of 10 mg per day, so that’s only about a quart a day for adults, a half quart for a 75 pound child. So that’s actually changed my consumption. Given the benefits of the stuff, I was using it as a substitute for drinking water, so like 2 liters a day, and I was blending the hibiscus petals in, not throwing them away, effectively doubling aluminum content, and increasing manganese concentrations by about 30%. So given this data I’ve cut back to no more than a quart of filtered a day.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Katie Schloer.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to Isaac Wedin via Flickr.

Over-the-counter antacids are probably the most important source for human aluminum exposure in terms of dose. Maalox, for example, taken as directed, can exceed the daily safety limit more than 100-fold, and nowhere on the label does it say to not take it with acidic beverages such as fruit juice. Washing an antacid down with orange juice can increase aluminum absorption 8-fold, and citric acid was worse—the acid found naturally concentrated in lemon and limes.

Just as sour fruits can enhance the absorption of iron, which is a good thing, through the same mechanism they may enhance the absorption of aluminum, raising the question what happens when one adds lemon juice to tea? Previously, I concluded that the amount of aluminum in tea is not a problem for most people because it’s not very absorbable, but what if you add lemon? No difference between tea with lemon, tea without lemon or no tea at all in terms of the amount of aluminum in the bloodstream, suggesting that tea drinking does not significantly contribute to aluminum actually getting inside the body. They’re talking about black tea, green tea, white tea, oolong tea, what about the red zinger herbal tea, hibiscus? The reason it’s called sour tea is because it has natural acids in it like citric acid—might that boost the absorption of any of its aluminum? Well, a greater percentage of aluminum gets from the hibiscus into the tea water, but there’s less aluminum overall. The question is, does the aluminum then get from the tea water into our body? We don’t have that data so to be on the safe side we should assume the worst—that is hibiscus tea aluminum, unlike green and black tea aluminum, is completely absorbable. In that case, based on this data and the World Health Organization weekly safety limit we may not want to drink more than 15 cups of hibiscus tea a day, but that’s based on someone who’s about 150 pounds. If you have a 75 pound 10-year-old, a half gallon a day may theoretically be too much. And more extensive testing more recently suggests levels may reach as high as twice as much, so no more than about two quarts a day for adults, or a quart for kids every day or for pregnant women. And hibiscus tea should be completely avoided by infants under 6 months—who should only be getting breast milk—as well as kids with kidney failure, who can’t efficiently excrete it.

The study also raised concern about the impressive manganese level in hibiscus tea. Manganese is an essential trace mineral, a vital component of some of our most important antioxidant enzymes, but we probably only need about 2 to 5 milligrams a day, and 4 cups of hibiscus tea can have as much as 17, averaging about 10. Is that a problem?

Women given 15 cups a day for 4 months, if anything, only saw an improvement in their anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant enzyme activity. This study using 20 a day similarly showed no adverse short-term effects, and importantly showed that retention of dietary manganese is regulated. Our body’s not stupid; if we take too much in, our body decreases the absorption, and increases the excretion. So even though tea drinkers may get 10 times the manganese load, 10 or 20 milligrams a day, the levels in their blood is essentially identical. So there is little evidence that dietary manganese poses a risk. That was regular tea, though, we don’t know about the absorption from hibiscus, so to err on the side of caution we should probably not routinely exceed the reference dose of 10 mg per day, so that’s only about a quart a day for adults, a half quart for a 75 pound child. So that’s actually changed my consumption. Given the benefits of the stuff, I was using it as a substitute for drinking water, so like 2 liters a day, and I was blending the hibiscus petals in, not throwing them away, effectively doubling aluminum content, and increasing manganese concentrations by about 30%. So given this data I’ve cut back to no more than a quart of filtered a day.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Katie Schloer.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to Isaac Wedin via Flickr.

Doctor's Note

This video is a good reason to subscribe (for free of course) to my videos. One never knows when new science will change my dietary recommendations.

Lemon can actually boost the antioxidant content of green and white tea. See Green Tea vs. White. And for a comparison of their cancer-fighting effects in vitro, Antimutagenic Activity of Green Versus White Tea.

What about the aluminum content in regular tea? That was the subject of my last video Is There Too Much Aluminum in Tea? Before that I covered another potential downside of sour tea consumption in Protecting Teeth From Hibiscus Tea but then before that a reason we should all consider drinking it in: Hibiscus Tea vs. Plant-Based Diets for Hypertension.

For more on the iron absorption effect, see my video Risks Associated with Iron Supplements.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

116 responses to “How Much Hibiscus Tea is Too Much?

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  1. I’m really proud of Dr. G for making this video and for stating so clearly and unequivocally that he’s changed his mind and changed his recommendations. A mark of a true scientist is being willing and able to admit that one is wrong when exposed to new and better data and theories. We need more people in the world with this kind of integrity. Thanks, Dr. G.

    1. Dr. G even stated on a podcast that he follows the science and when the science indicates that lamb-stuffed foigras prevents death, he’ll recommend that. Until then… “plants are preferred…”

    2. I agree, he’s an amazing doctor and person to say the least.

      Personally I don’t think it’s anything to worry about. If they did the research with hibiscus like they did with other teas, my guess is that it would be totally fine. Though I don’t drink it as a water substitute so if I did I’d probably cut back.

  2. Before I started visiting this website, I drank 8 to 10 cups of black coffee per day. Now I drink 3 to 6 cups of white tea, with lemon, in the morning and afternoon; and 3 or 4 cups of hibiscus tea in the afternoon and evening. I think I’m okay in light of this new research. My thinking in developing this routine was to decrease my caffeine consumption later in the day so it wouldn’t effect my sleep.

    1. Same here. My cups are probably double-cups, but I drink 1 coffee, 2-3 cups of a variety of caffeinated tea, 1 glass 1/2 hibiscus, 1/2 concord grape juice, and 2-3 cups decaffeinated tea, with white, green, mint, chamomile most common in the rotation. (The chamomile is an accident; it seems that all the prettiest boxes seem to have it…)

  3. Dr. Greger mentioned “blending in” hibiscus tea. Is there any reason not to add tea leaves (green, black or hibiscus) into a smoothie, for example, rather than drinking it as a tea. I don’t like the taste but would like its benefits, so burying it in a beverage whose taste I like would be a solution, if it were safe and effective. Approve or disapprove?

    1. Steve, I’m pretty sure in the video on his morning smoothie he mentions blending in tea leaves along with the other ingredients. It’s the same idea as a matcha tea smoothie. Take a look for it

    2. Steve: Here’s how I interpreted the video: By consuming the actual leaf (rather than a filtered brewed tea), you significantly increase the amount of aluminum and manganese in your diet. Because we have so many unknowns concerning those two substances in regards to hibiscus tea leaves, Dr. Greger now thinks it is prudent to not consume the tea leaves themselves – at least that is how he changed eating practices for his family.

      That’s all we can say on the matter at this time. It is up to you to decide if blending X amount of the hibiscus leaves themselves in your tea makes sense.

      But note that the discussion seems to give a pass on green and black tea/tea leaves (see the previous video too). The question in this video is mainly about the hibiscus tea/leaves.

      Sometimes I think it helps to read the video transcript after watching the video. You might want to do that to see if you agree with what I wrote in terms of understand what Dr. Greger is saying.

      1. Good points, also, I would be a bit cautious of combining tea and hibiscus, at least in large quantities, because we don’t really know if adding hibiscus would increase the absorption profile of tea.

      2. But with hibiscus tea, it’s not the leaves, it’s the petals from the flower that are steeped in hot water. I’m wondering the same thing, about adding hibiscus petals to my morning smoothies. Hibiscus grows all over the place here in Costa Rica and it’s the iguana’s favorite food. Locals pick the petals, dry them and sell them for hibiscus tea…but why not just put the petals in the smoothies?

  4. You state the kids with kidney failure shouldn’t drink hibiscus tea. What about adults who are at risk of kidney failure and are working hard to avoid it?

  5. Does iodine warm you up? Ever since adding nori sheets – 3 day – I no longer feel so darn cold being a vegan.
    My thyroid is fine and I eat large amounts of steamed cruciferous veggies. Never iodized salt, just iodine from
    greens and other plants. But the nori upped my iodine up a lot.

    1. If the nori is prepared with oil, then you are increasing your calories and your fat. In my experience, increasing fat has helped me stay warmer as a vegan (and also when I was vegetarian).

      1. From a endocrinology perspective, the upregulation of thyroidal production can increase one’s body temperature, the sensation of body temperature, and also insoluble fibers can allow for removal of estrogen by the body, thus altering the whole hormonal homeostatic state.

    2. I cook beans an potatoes in water with kelp. It’s confusing, the temperatures are coming up for summer approaching, but my morning body temperature has gone from 97.7ish from an oral thermometer to 98.2ish for the same time of day after starting to drink the potato cooking and storing water. And it’s lasting past finishing the potatoes off. Overall caloric intake per day really hasn’t changed, but it may have gone down from using less fats daily. I’m actually scared I’m overdosing iodine, as I have put 4-5 kelp squares in each pot cooking, which takes me about a week to eat. Anyways, I can’t see any negative aspects except I had some pimples on the inside of my leg.

    1. Let us remember that Big Macs are popular for a reason. Tasty. Beer tastes like piss but people get quite used to it after a while. Eat according to science and health and your taste buds will fall right in line :)

  6. I received the results of my annual blood test and for the first time my iron level shot up to a little above high normal. This would coincide in time with my starting to use hibiscus tea (usually a large mug in the evening)? Could this be the cause?

    1. Glad you are checking your iron levels annually. Dr. Gregor mentions in his nutritional recommendations to have your iron checked before trying to eat foods to increase iron (men especially). Both my and my husband’s iron stores (as measured in a medical lab) shot up once we switched from vegetarian to vegan. Mine went from low to high normal. His went from high normal to WAY too high (dangerously high). We did not consume hibiscus tea at that time, but we HAD switched from a stainless steel pan to a cast iron pan for ALL our meals. Due to the high iron, we have now switched back to stainless steel cooking pans, but have not had iron retested yet.

      1. Do you think it was the cast iron cookware that did it? My husband and I have low iron levels (we are both vegan) and have been taking supplements. I’d love to get off the supplements, but have tried before without success. If I cooked with cast iron cookware occasionally, would it be effective in raising iron levels without taking them too high? Any advice on this would be much appreciated.

        1. My personal experience, and the scientific literature, support the use of cast iron cookware to increase iron levels. I had just found and typed in a list of articles for you, and when I clicked post, the whole 5 paragraph answer disappeared. I don’t have the heart to re-find and re-type. BUT, you can go to scholar.google.com and search:
          Iron content of Cambodian foods when prepared in cooking pots containing an iron ingot.
          Open that article and go to the bottom where it lists its references. There you will find a wealth of studies on getting iron from iron cookware.

          Here’s one more:
          Mineral migration and influence of meal preparation in iron cookware on the iron nutritional status of vegetarian students.

          Personal experience: as a vegetarian for over a year, I had planned to switch to vegan, so I had some baseline labs done. My iron was low (40), my % Saturation (back-up supply in blood) was low (11%), and my ferritin (long-term back up supply stored in organs) was low (23). I switched to vegan AND I starting cooking 95% of our meals in cast-iron skillet (no iron supplementation). Nine-10 months later, my iron was normal (154), and I had more than enough in back-up supply in the blood (44%). The long-term storage in the organs is still low, but I presume it will gradually replenish as the back-up supply in the blood is slowly deposited into the long-term storage in the organs. Because two things changed at once (veg to vegan, AND stainless steel to cast iron), I cannot definitively say it was the skillet. Perhaps I inadvertently started eating more iron-rich plants when the diet changed, or increased absorption by serving them with acidic sauces. Who knows for sure?

          You are both starting out with low iron, so my opinion is that you could safely cook ALL your meals in a cast iron skillet and not fear iron overload. Women lose iron each month; men do not – so you will have different responses. So you should BOTH get your iron studies re-done in, say, 6-10 months after switching to cast iron – just to see what’s going on.

          You will want to do your research and bring it with you to your doctor to discuss your plan. I am not in a position to actually guide your practice here – just trying to give you info and direction to help with your discussion with your doctor.

          I found http://www.irondisorders.org to be very helpful. I wish you the best of luck!

    2. Another variable at work: America’s poor health. Let us remember that people in the “optimal” ranges for cholesterol drop dead of heart attacks. The ranges for many health factors are derived from the average population. They may be skewed.

  7. There is one thing in this informative video that does not make sense to me.. Dr. G says that adding lemon to tea does not increase aluminum absorption… 2 things about that.

    1. I could not find that in the links to the studies that were provided.

    2. here is a quote from one of the studies:

    “The estimated absorption of aluminium was 8 and 50 times
    higher when antacids were taken with orange juice or with citric acid,
    respectively, than when taken with water. Thus, measurable quantities of
    aluminium are absorbed from single oral doses of antacids. The absorption is
    substantially enhanced by concomitant ingestion of citric acid.”
    so I ask… if citric acid increases aluminum 8 to 50 times when ingesting antacids, why would it not increase the aluminum absorption when adding lemon to tea?
    And one more question about this.. even if it has been shown to not increase aluminum in the blood, what about increasing aluminum in the brain? Can we assume if aluminum is not in the blood that it is not getting absorbed in the brain?
    I’m still not adding lemon to my tea!

    1. “Elemental Analysis of Aluminum Accumulations in the Livers, Kidneys and Brains of Mice Observed by HAADF-STEM-EDX”, Kiyokazu Kametani and Tetsuji Nagata. Annals of Microscopy, Vol. 8, April 2008. ThIs is a great study feeding mice aluminum, adding aluminum plus citrate. Please review this study as the citrate plus aluminum added to the Mice water increase the bioability of nine times more aluminum to the liver then the brain. Also, at the 10 Keele Conference on aluminum toxicity, a study showed that Hibicus tea leaves are used as the base for most fruit teas and this plant is grown in highly acidic soils laden with aluminum. The discussion by the Aluminum Scientist was to use milk instead of a citrate. Citrate will bind the aluminum, I have lemon and warm water separately in the morning to create less acidosis, as view by OligoScan for acidosis.

  8. oops, I did find the link… which was from 1993. would like to know if there are any more studies about lemon with tea (green, black, white) and aluminum absorption..

  9. Dr. Greger – just wondering if there have been any studies on Hibiscus Tea/acidic drinks affecting Mercury leaching from amalgam fillings?

  10. Dr. Greger, can you let us know approximately how much hibiscus per cup would approximate the concentrations considered in these studies? Obviously, you can add a little or a lot of hibiscus to a cup of tea, and it would be helpful to have an idea of how much we are talking about for these recommendations regarding consumption limits. Thanks!

  11. So, the obvious question stands for bulk hibiscus drinkers: How much dried hibiscus do you put per cup of water? I seem to like a little less than 1/4 tsp hibiscus per 8oz water cup, but that might be too much! I also tried 1/8 tsp per 8oz water cup, but it is too diluted for my taste.

    1. I got hibiscus in mostly whole form. I can’t see even measuring it by volume. I would like to know how much in grams to use per amount of water.
      Only first tried it and it was red, but I used a lot, probably too much :/

  12. One possible solution to the aluminum in the hibiscus conundrum is to add a bit of horsetail to the tea. It is full of silica which binds to and removes aluminum – big time! But do your own research because some sources say some or all people should not take horsetail because of possible side effects. Mike Adams seems to like it though, as do many other health practitioners – here’s Adam’s article –
    http://www.naturalnews.com/043594_aluminum_dementia_silica.html
    If you are concerned with having ingested aluminum then Adams and others claim taking horsetail is one way to remove it from your body. But you don’t want to take too much of this either — research it first and talk with a health practitioner.

  13. Sorry but at the end of the video, I didnt understund how much Ibiscus tea is to much? a quarter of liter?
    at the moment we drink at least 1 liter a day..

  14. I started drinking hibiscus tea daily after watching the previous video on here. Unfortunately, I think it did more harm than good for me, I believe it created a deficiency of iron because of the high manganese content which competes with iron. I was on the lower end of iron already, but I believe this lowered it even further. Not good. I am going to get a blood test soon.

  15. I just read through all the comments and questions, and have some partial answers I hope will help: Dr. Greger says in this 1 quart per day; that’s 1.1 liter = 2 pints = 32 oz. = 4 cups. I cut and measured contents of a teabag: 1 teaspoon; so, 4 teaspoons in that much water — then to cold steep — then filter out — is good.
    Anyone with compromised kidneys, to be safe, should avoid it.

  16. A quick note: I’m watching every single video. There are thousands of chunks of gold here. Watching all of these videos puts me in a better position health wise than going to dietitian school or med school – especially considering that doctors, nurses and dietitians are taught what the pharmaceutical industry wants them to “know.” Death and doubt are America’s two most commonly-bought commodities. That is, if you think early death is a commodity. Dr. Michael Greger, you deserve the Nobel Peace Prize, the Pullitzer, Oscar and Grammy. I love you.

  17. Manganese in grains?

    I was concerned because it turns out there seems to be a large number of different vegetarian sources of manganese. For example, 1/3 cup of barley has 60% of daily rdi, and there is a similar story with other grains and vegetables.

    Doing a little math, though, 60% really means 1.2 mg, so if you get three such sources per day, it seems well within the buffering capability indicated in this video. So, I am deciding not to worry. Agree?

    Example source:

    http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=127

    Manganese 1.19mg in .33 cups barley.

  18. As a breast cancer survivor, I am very careful about what I eat especially considering the estrogen activities of some foods. Hibiscus is one of them… On the other hand, I am wondering if the hibiscus tea is beneficial to breast cancer survivors ( for those whose tumor was estrogen +) or if it is at least safe to drink for these survivors.

    1. HI Cida. I do not see any human clinical trials on hibiscus tea and breast cancer. In vitro it’s been found to promote apoptosis in breast cancer cells. I think a cup or two is fine, but any more (Dr. Greger mentions drinking under 4 cups) could be problematic. Always good idea to check with your oncologist. Let me know if you’d like any more information about diet and survivorship. Thanks for commenting!

      Kind regards,
      Joseph

      1. If you heat it up loses antioxidant properties? In Argentina we drink every tea hot. I wonder if heat changes the antioxidant levels.

        1. Good point, but I would think steeping tea brings out the potency. So boiling water and pouring over tea leaves or hibiscus petals is just fine. No need to sun brew or cold brew tea to my knowledge.

  19. Long-term drinking of hisbiscus tea should be avoided, unless you have a very high intake of magnesium. Why is that?
    Having a poor magnesium status, a high intake of competing ions (like
    manganese), or both leads to a higher amount of dysplasic (abnormal)
    cells, and therefore a higher chance of cancer having cancer later in
    life [1]. Unfortunately, according to WHO, most populations, including the US are magnesium deficient [2]. How does it work?
    Very simple: All cell divisions need magnesium (Mg) in almost every step. When other ions, like manganese (Mn) are in high concentration, they serve as substitute ions instead of magnesium (the orthoplasic ion). [1]

    [1] CARCINOGENESIS – Mechanism and prevention (LA CARCINOGÉNÈSE Mécanisme et prévention) . p.133 -143 (only available in French for now)
    [2] Calcium and magnesium in drinking-water, Public health significance

  20. Not sure if anyone is checking these but would love if Joseph or some other NF staff can take a look.

    I started drinking Hibiscus lately (1000mg – tea bag has an amount on it – in 10-20oz of water) and I feel like I really feel the diuretic effect.

    How much is normal? I feel like within an hour of finishing a 10oz cup it just all comes right out, as if I haven’t used the bathroom all the day. How does Dr. Gregor work if he drinks HIbiscus all day?

  21. @Joseph Gonzales R.D.

    Not sure if anyone is checking these but would love if Joseph or some other NF staff can take a look.

    I started drinking Hibiscus lately (1000mg – tea bag has an amount on it – in 10-20oz of water) and I feel like I really feel the diuretic effect.

    How much is normal? I feel like within an hour of finishing a 10oz cup it just all comes right out, as if I haven’t used the bathroom all the day. How does Dr. Gregor work if he drinks HIbiscus all day?

  22. It may be important to realize that Hibiscus Tea is not your only source of Manganese. I am finding it difficult to stay below the recommended maximum just eating normal food. Brown rice has lots of manganese. Pumpkin seeds have lots of manganese. Oatmeal, my vegetable stew, great northern beans, and V8 vegetable juice also contribute among other sources in my diet. It all adds up. I’m seriously looking for an alternative to brown rice with less manganese, but all the whole grains and even sweet potatoes have a lot of manganese.

    1. Manganese toxicity resulting from foods alone has not been reported in humans, even though certain vegetarian diets could provide up to 20 mg/day of manganese.

      Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine. Manganese. Dietary reference intakes for vitamin A, vitamin K, boron, chromium, copper, iodine, iron, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, silicon, vanadium, and zinc. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press; 2001:394-419. http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?isbn=0309072794
      Keen CL, Zidenberg-Cherr S. Manganese toxicity in humans and experimental animals. In: Klimis-Tavantzis DL, ed. Manganese in health and disease. Boca Raton: CRC Press, Inc; 1994:193-205.

    2. I personally think that we as a people looking for good health get a little carried away about things sometimes. If we eat a variety of fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds and grains – all in moderation with less of the nuts and seeds as the fruits, veggies and grain, i firmly believe we can stop worrying about how much manganese or aluminum or any other vitamin, mineral or what have you are in them. We need to eat in a quite environment without worry and with thankfulness.

  23. Is hibiscus tea safe during pregnancy? I’ve read some studies showing that it could possibly have some anti-fertility/abortive affects. Are there any studies done in humans regarding the safety of hibiscus tea during pregnancy? I know chamomile is probably not safe.

    http://www.ajol.info/index.php/njps/article/view/54929

    http://www.pjbs.org/pjnonline/fin956.pdf

    Doctor Greger, have you ever considered making a series on pregnancy health? After all, the diseases of western civilization start in the womb, and pregnant women have special nutritional needs. For example, there are many healthy foods that should not be consumed during pregnancy, such as flax seed and chamomile. It would be excellent to have a convenient list of foods to avoid, and foods to include during pregnancy. Thank you.

  24. Of course, we don’t only drink tea. Whole wheat and brown rice have a lot of manganese. Chia seeds and wild blueberries have a lot of manganese. My vegetable stew has a lot of manganese. It all adds up pretty quickly.

  25. Dr. G, manganese competes with iron for its transport with transferrin in the blood. Won’t it compete with iron for its absorption in the gut as well?

  26. I get a lot of Manganese through Diet (Oatmeal, wheat germs, wholegrain bread and pasta, green tea)
    It’s around 20 mg/day.
    How bad is that? How do you reach you caloric needs without these products?

    thanks

  27. I am trying to figure out which tea is the best to drink: green tea or hibiscus tea. I love the hibiscus teas but don’t drink green tea because I don’t really like it. Am I missing something by not drinking green tea, or does the hibiscus tea do the same thing? I’ll force myself to drink green tea if it has properties that hibiscus tea doesn’t!

    1. Hi Barb – Here’s everything we know about tea. NutritionFacts.org: Teas
      All teas are different (different properties/nutrients) – I don’t think there’s one that necessarily “better”. For example, regular hibiscus tea intake may reduce hypertension vs. green tea is linked to protecting joint cartilage and improving artery function. My favorite part of tea drinking is finding one you truly enjoy and that helps you relax. You could always experiment with matcha (powdered green tea) if you don’t enjoy drinking regular green tea. Hope this helps!

      1. Thanks for the source on teas – I look forward to checking it out. I did just try mixing my “True Blueberry” tea made with hibiscus with some green tea, and the flavor of the blueberry masks the green tea flavor well enough for me to like it! I’ve never tried matcha either, so I have some experimenting to do!

    2. Hi Barb, I’m one of the website moderators. You have probably gathered by watching the videos that natural products contain a mixture of various biochemical properties vs the manufactured products will contain one chemical form of a vitamin or other approximation of a botanical found in nature. So the polyphenols one would find in green tea have many, many variants. Likewise in hibiscus there are multiple variants and the cells in our bodies utilize what they need when the form presents itself. You will get some benefit from drinking green tea and other benefits from drinking hibiscus and obviously a mixture when you ingest both. So, as in most things with life, moderation and variation is probably the best practice in the long run. Hope this helps.

  28. I was worried about consuming too much of one kind of tea so I mixed equal parts Rooibos, Hibiscus, German Chamomile, and Oolong. I put two tablespoons in a quart of water and will sometimes resteep the leaves to make another pot. I also use tea like a water substitute. Since I am using a mixture, do I still have to worry about manganese toxicity? I mixed these all together do avoid oxalate toxicity. Is there anything else I should worry about? I have PCOS.

  29. I was worried about consuming too much of one kind of tea so I mixed equal parts Rooibos, Hibiscus, German Chamomile, and Oolong. I put two tablespoons in a quart of water and will sometimes resteep the leaves to make another pot. Since I am using a mixture, do I still have to worry about manganese toxicity? Is there anything else I should worry about? I have PCOS.

  30. Hello,

    I always want to know how much tea *leaf* is used, rather than how many cups of tea, since one can make a strong or weak cup, and a cup of different sizes. Looking at Malik et. al. 2013, I find they used 20 g of leaf per liter of boiled water (1 g per 50 ml) and let it steep for 15 minutes. For hibiscus tea, they found between 0.5 and 1.2 mg Al and 5 to 11 mg of Mn. They suggest that more than 1 mg Al and 4 mg Mn is too much. This gets me to to thinking that 4 g of leaf per day is likely safe with some margin.

    We don’t know whether a shorter steeping time would yield significantly less metal, as it does with green tea. We would be surprised if a shorter steep time yielded *more*, so this makes a 2 to 3 minute steep time, with 4 g of hibiscus leaves, seem like a comfortable strategy to me. I am thinking of making a liter or so of tea from this 4 g, sort of flavored water, which should also reduce the acidity and consequent concerns about teeth.

    Best,

    Michael

    1. I suggest using a glass straw for dental concerns. I get mine from hummingbirdglassstraws.com. They have all different sizes too which is great because I like to use a stars for my morning smoothies but I make them really thick, luckily they have very, very wide straws available. I choose glass for both purity reasons as well as sustainability (not only are plastic straws toxic, obviously, but they’re horrible for the environment as they do not biodegrade and cannot be recycled yet we use 500 MILLION a day in the U.S alone!).

  31. How do I make hibiscus tea? It’s not to be boiled because it kills the properties and then I have to throw away the leaves, how do I make it then?

    1. I didn’t know that about the boiling. All you have to do is pour water over it and let it steep. This stuff makes the best iced tea. I just put a few bags in a glass water pitcher and place it in the fridge for later. If you wanted it warm or hot, I guess just use water below a certain temperature.

  32. Dr. G, How much dry Hibiscus do you use to brew/steep your 1 quart of daily tea? This detail will clarify the amount calculated to stay within safe limits for the elements of concern mentioned here.

    I buy loose leaf organic dry hibiscus flowers and brew 1 heaping Tbsp each morning. I add green or white tea leaves as well. After the second steeping the dry component has made 1.5 liters, 6-7 cups, of tea.

  33. Lol, I wish I could AFFORD 15 cups of hibiscus tea a day! Good news, I was worried it would be a few cups or something. I just started drinking this stuff after learning about it from your videos and you were not kidding when you said it tasted like fruit punch! I am in love this stuff. I do have a question though… how many tea bags are you going by when you say a quart? I often put about 3 tea bags in quite a bit of water. I’d prefer to know how many tea bags rather than how much fluid. If anyone can help with this it will be greatly appreciated!

  34. Yikes, I’ve been drinking hibiscus tea like drinking water also. Thank you for the heads up! And great job keeping up with and presenting all of that research :)

  35. Since we use the leaves of the hibiscus plant, how does one control the strength of the tea solution? Is this discussed in any of the studies?

  36. I’m curious if there’s any benefit to using fresh petals (if you have a bush in your garden) vs teabags. Any research on this?

  37. It seems that the issue of acidic substances such as citric acid (that can be found in any fruit) and substances that contain higher levels of aluminum not going well together should be addressed in another video?

    My conclusion from all the available evidence: don’t use citric acids with any drink or food that potentially contains aluminum!

    1. Worrying about natural acidity and citric acid with certain drinks sounds way too paranoid to me and a miserable way to live. I’m hugely into health but I don’t think we need to worry and the over worrying can actually cause more harm than a less than “perfect” way of doing things. The healthiest places in the world simply eat a diet of plants or mostly plants, they don’t worry about every single detail. I think it’s just common sense… People have been drinking tea with lemon, hibiscus tea, etc.. for ages and are healthier for it thus its relatively new popularity in the western world. Just don’t drink things by the gallon because you heard they’re good for you, and you should be fine or actually better than fine. I drink hibiscus, green tea, other herbal teas, etc… I mix it up throughout the day depending on how I feel and don’t worry about it. I don’t worry about portions because honestly I think you have to TRY to have things in super high quantities that could be a concern. Of course, I can see why this information is important to those who may drink this or any particular thing as a water substitute.
      Another thing someone could do though, if they’re worried, is get their blood levels checked for aluminum and other heavy metals while they’re at it. Sometimes testing yourSELF can tell you the most and you don’t need to wait for a study to be funded.

  38. Word of Warning

    I started drinking Hibiscus tea couple days ago. I’d cold steep it all night, and down it first thing in the morning.

    I noticed that I immediately (as in within a couple minutes) felt very strange. I still had all my faculties, but something just felt a little…. off. Almost as if I was ever so slightly drunk.

    After 3-4 days of this, I realized it wasn’t just in my head, so I consulted the almighty (Google). Turns out that an “intoxicating” effect, or even a “hallucination” effect, are common side effects of consuming Hibiscus Tea. At least for some people in certain amounts and/or concentrations.

    So just be careful. If you plan to chug concentrated Hib Tea on an empty stomach, don’t plan to hop in your car and drive around shortly thereafter.

    Cheers

    1. Hey Amanda,

      Just a heads up, I started drinking Hibiscus tea in the mornings for about a week. Starting the first day, and occurring every day thereafter, I got what I can only describe as a mild high/drunkenness after drinking a glass of Hib Tea. It wasn’t a full blown stupor or anything, and I still had all my faculties, but it was very strange. I felt fuzzy and and little bit like I was underwater. On the last couple days of drinking it, it caused some anxiety and nervousness, which never happens to me. I stopped drinking it.

      Did some reading online and it turns out many feel a “hallucinagenic” effect when drinking this stuff. I’m sure it’s dose dependent and doesn’t happen to everybody, but definitely something to be aware of.

      Cheers

  39. Amanda, I could not find a specific study focusing just on hibiscus tea in the NIH data base. However, I did find two resources you may find reassuring:
    http://www.llli.org/docs/600.pdf/ (from respected La Leche League)
    https://www.drugs.com/breastfeeding/hibiscus.html/ This study which indicated “No data exist on the excretion of any components of hibiscus into breastmilk or on the safety and efficacy of hibiscus nursing mothers or infants. Hibiscus is “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) as a food by the US Food and Drug Administration. Hibiscus flowers appear to be generally well tolerated, although allergic reactions are possible…” You can check out the entire article which will provide some additional information. Hope that helps. Breastfeeding is such a healthy practice for your baby and generally good for the mother as well.

  40. Hello,

    I would like to know if there is any information on the benefits of drinking a glass of lime juice with water first thing in the morning. It is supposed to balance your blood pH. This recommendations seems to be very trendy (at least in my country Brazil) and it is even being suggested by nutritionists (professional dietitians ).

  41. Dear Dr. Greger,

    In that video which presented the finding that hibiscus tea has the most antioxidants of any beverage, it stated that hibiscus tea was found to be more antioxidant-rich than red wine or even concord grape juice, but there is a confounding factor that I don’t think was addressed.

    At the end of the video, you recommended making hibiscus tea with the “Celestial Seasonings” style hibiscus tea, which brews up a translucent red beverage that isn’t that sour. But whenever I go to Mexican food places with agua fresca offering agua de jamaica (their version of hibiscus tea), they brew it up so dark and concentrated it is at least as dark as red wine, not the translucent Kool-Aid look of the tea bags you recommended. Like this:

    Mexican Food Journal— Agua de Jamaica (Hibiscus iced tea)
    Look how dark that tea is! It’s darker than most red wine! I can believe this tea is more antioxidant than the others!

    These studies you look at regarding hibiscus tea need to take this into account. If that study that crowned hibiscus tea the king of antioxidant drinks used this inky-dark Mexican version, then the Celestial Seasonings tea isn’t getting you anywhere near the antioxidant concentration you think you’re getting. Is the celestial seasonings type of tea the one they found to be the most antioxidant beverage, or were they referring to Agua de Jamaica? I strongly suspect the latter.

    What do you think of this confounding factor—the concentration of the tea?

  42. While your idea warrants some merit, I did a review of the sources cited and it seems the studies seem to be consistent in using hibiscus tea that is somewhat “standardized” in that they were either made using specific measure doses of leaves (thereby not allowing for a confounding factor) or were not made in countries where the extra strong hibiscus tea is not a factor (Iran, London). It would seem safe to assume that the celestial seasonings type of tea was more similar to the tea that was used in the studies than Aqua de Jamaica. In other words the studies were NOT referring to Aqua de Jamaica. Does that make sense to you? That said, you are smart to be aware of the much stronger concentration of Aqua de Jamaica tea and drink accordingly. Thanks for the clarification!

  43. looking for an opinion on drinking about a quart of hibiscus tea daily to control high blood pressure…works very well, however, after three month of consumption I am experiencing dull kidney pain…I have had a kidney stone two years ago that I have used Chanca Piedra for successfully…

    there seems to be two completely opposite thoughts on this, one claiming that Hibiscus tea will contribute to kidney stones
    http://cms.herbalgram.org/herbclip/362/review060282-362.html?ts=1514569028&signature=ae89c3c44a57283fbd9407b764963ffe

    and one claiming that it actually helps to prevent them and cleanse the kidneys…
    https://drdavidbrady.com/blogs/news/hibiscus-kidney-support-and-beyond-1

    these are just examples of many more opinions for both sides of the argument…

    any input here would be greatly appreciated….

  44. Thank you for question. I think this is a touch one to answer as when reviewing the medical literature there are probably not enough studies available to answer the study fully. My view would be that if you are not going over the maximum intake recommended by Dr Greger then that should be fine. Of course the best dietary intervention for renal stones is to follow a whole food plant-based diet, which I am sure you are already doing

    1. Thank you very much Shireen for your response …I am limiting my consumption to one quart per day as per Dr.Greger’s recommendation and at the same time following the whole food plant based diet…I guess some people just have better results following the diet then others …I will stay with it and hope for the best as I prefer consumption of Hibiscus tea to control high blood pressure over Lisinopril which is what my GP would have me do…love your site it is so valuable to many of us

      Sent from my iPhone…Katarina

    1. Hi Kevin…I use 3 tea bags in a quart jar…I just place tea bags in the jar, fill the jar to the top with cold filtered water, screw the lid on and allow to cold brew over night then I have it ready to sip on throughout the morning…

      I use 2 tea bags of Natural Hibiscus Tea by The Republic of Tea…it’s a cylinder shaped tin…just google it…costs around $ 10.00 per tin, and one tea bag of Red Zinger Tea …I like that combination…good like

      Sent from my iPhone…Katarina

  45. My Mexican wife introduced me to ‘Jamaica’, which is usually made by soaking the hibiscus petals in cold water. I add a handful of petals to 1.5 litres of water in a pickle jar with holes punched in the lid for filtering. This results in in a liquid most people wouldn’t drink unsweetened (as I do), far stronger than tea. I drink about a cup a day (cold), but it’s so concentrated I don’t know what this amounts to in maganese. However, I highly recommend this cheap and unheated method… one gets accustomed to and can even crave the sourness.

  46. Hi, I found this video looking for guidance on Manganese. I’ve been tracking my Cronometer nutrition and noticed that I can consume regularly 15mg of Manganese a day. Mainly due to my consumption of half a cup of pumpkin seeds and half a cup of sunflower seeds a day (8mg combined total) + all my other foods. I mainly eat my seeds for protein (64g in above recipe). Is the dietary consumption of so much manganese advisable?

    1. Hi, Fernando! You may find this study helpful: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK222332/. The Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) for manganese (the highest level of daily intake that is likely to pose no risk of adverse health effects in almost all individual) has been set at 11 mg/day for adults. This is based on a “no-observed-adverse-effect level” for Western diets. A “lowest-observed-adverse-effect level” of 15 mg/day has been identified as well.
      The study noted that vegetarian diets may contain up to 20 mg/day of manganese. As far as we currently know, consuming this amount from food may be fine, but more research is needed (“Although members of the general population should be advised not to exceed the UL routinely, intake above the UL may be appropriate for investigation within well-controlled clinical trials.”).
      As Dr. Greger notes in the video above, our bodies can regulate absorption, decreasing absorption and increasing excretion if we take in too much. This study, referenced in the video, states that “efficient mechanisms operate to maintain [manganese] homeostasis over the range of intakes that may be encountered in a mixed Western diet. Thus, dietary intakes of [manganese] from 0.8 to 20 mg for 8 wk likely do not result in [manganese] deficiency or toxicity signs in healthy adults”.
      It is also worth noting that phytates (found in legumes) may reduce manganese absorption.

  47. I get the recommendation for the volume (1 quart) of brewed hibiscus tea. How much hibiscus flower is in a quart of the brewed tea? I brew from the dried flowers, adding about 10g per cup

  48. Dr. Greger noted in his July 26th YouTube Live Q&A that his current recommendation regarding the limitation of hibiscus tea consumption is four tea bags a day; however, he failed to specify the amount of hibiscus petals contained within each bag, whether in teaspoons or grams. Any further clarification is welcome.

    1. Somebody else in the comments reported that 1 tea bag contains 1 teaspoon of hibiscus. So limit yourself to 4 teaspoons per day.

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