There are no miracle cure-alls, silver bullets, or magic pills that will get you trim, fit and healthy, but after an exhaustive search and rigorous testing, The Sherpa has pinpointed a few natural health therapies that DO help and ferreted out the scams to may be shocked by what we've discovered.

Hibiscus Sabdariffa: Sip Your Way to Lower Blood Pressure With This


Posted Monday, Feb. 28th, 2011


You are sitting in traffic, inching along on your way home from work.  You’ve already put in two hours of overtime and still have a long list of “to dos” for when you get home….you can already feel the agitation coursing throughout your veins.

Then your cell phone rings and it’s your spouse telling you that the pipes just burst and the plumber cannot get there until tomorrow morning.  To add insult to injury, the next car over just cut you off.

Your heart starts racing, your head starts throbbing, and your blood pressure shoots through the roof.  To make matters worse, this is not a position you can afford to be in.

You already have high blood pressure and lifestyle modifications haven’t helped much.  Of course, if you’re being completely honest, you haven’t really been as diligent as you could be with the diet or the exercise.

Yet you don’t want to start taking blood pressure medication, which you’ve heard can have nasty side effects.  So what can you do?

The answer is actually pretty simple.  Sit back and brew some tea.  That’s right, tea.

Sip Your Way to Lower Blood Pressure?

From Iran and Northern Africa to Sri Lanka and the tropics, the answer to lower blood pressure may be growing outside houses, in parks, and around office buildings.  It’s the hibiscus flower.

This gorgeous flower, often associated with Hawaii, has been a traditional remedy for high blood pressure in many countries.  Most often, the flowers are dried and then steeped in water to make hibiscus tea (or “sour tea” if you are in Iran).

But does this home remedy hold up to scientific scrutiny?  Let’s find out.

The Gold Standard Makes the Case…

The research on the use of hibiscus for treating high blood pressure is quite impressive.  In one randomized, controlled study, researchers tested to see how hibiscus tea compared to captopril, a well-known pharmaceutical blood pressure medication.1

Researchers divided 75 people with high blood pressure into two groups.  The first group drank 16 ounces of hibiscus tea each morning.  The second group took 25 mg of captopril twice a day.

At the end of one month, 79% of the participants who drank the tea had a reduction of at least 10 points in their diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number).  84% of the participants in the medication group also saw a reduction of at least 10 points in their diastolic pressure.

That means that the tea worked just as well as the medication.  Naturally.  The only aspect of this study that could be improved upon would be the small sample size.

Following up on this study, the researchers decided to do a second study to test the effects of hibiscus against lisinopril, another known blood pressure lowering drug, with a larger participant pool.2

In this randomized, double-blind study, researchers divided 193 participants with mild to moderate high blood pressure into two groups.  The first received a hibiscus extract, standardized to 250 mg of total anthocyanins (the active component of hibiscus), each day.  The second group received 10 mg of lisinopril daily.

At the end of four weeks, those receiving the hibiscus had a statistically significant decrease in blood pressure as compared to the medication group.  In fact, they dropped an average of 17 points in their systolic (top number) pressure and 12 points in their diastolic (bottom number) pressure.

Plus, participants who took hibiscus saw their sodium levels decrease, but not their potassium.  This is critical, as too much sodium can elevate blood pressure levels, while potassium is needed to keep blood pressure levels in check.  Some high blood pressure medications can lower potassium to dangerous levels.  And the hibiscus extract was found to be 100% safe and well tolerated.

This is all to say that a gold-standard study deemed the natural treatment not only safe, but more effective than the pharmaceutical.  Now, that’s Mother Nature at her best.

As if That Wasn’t Enough…

Lastly, a third randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study tested three 240 mL servings of hibiscus tea a day against an innocuous brew in 65 patients with mild to moderate high blood pressure.3

At the end of six weeks, those who drank the hibiscus tea had a statistically greater reduction in systolic blood pressure, as compared to the placebo group.  Moreover, the higher a person’s systolic pressure was to begin with, the greater his or her reduction.

The diastolic pressure was also lower in the hibiscus group, but not significantly lower as compared to the placebo group.

Researchers concluded, “These results suggest that daily consumption of hibiscus tea, in an amount readily incorporated into the diet, lowers [blood pressure] in pre- and mildly hypertensive adults.”

Once again, the gold standard strikes gold.  Clearly hibiscus tea works to lower blood pressure levels naturally.

So What’s the Catch?

How long do you have to drink hibiscus tea to enjoy it’s blood pressure lowering benefits?  Let’s find out.

A randomized, placebo-controlled study from Iran tested the effects of hibiscus tea (called sour tea in their experiment) on 54 patients with moderate high blood pressure.4

Half of the participants drank hibiscus tea while the other group drank an arbitrary warm beverage.  After 15 days, those who drank the hibiscus tea had an average of 11.2 percent decrease in systolic pressure and 10.7 percent decrease in diastolic pressure.  These reductions were statistically significant when compared to the placebo group.

However, three days after the participants stopped drinking the hibiscus tea, their blood pressure levels began to slowly rise again.  Their systolic pressure was elevated by 7.9 percent and the diastolic pressure rose by 5.6 percent from their post-treatment lows.

Again, a gold standard study makes the case for hibiscus tea.  But it also shows that you must make the tea part of your daily life to enjoy the blood pressure lowering benefits.

Enjoying the Warming Benefits of Hibiscus Tea

What could possibly be easier, and apparently more effective, for lowering your blood pressure than drinking hibiscus tea?

The tea is generally made from the dried flowers of the plant.  If you choose to give hibiscus a try, it is critical that you use pure Hibiscus sabdariffa, which is the type of hibiscus used in the studies.

You’ll also want to make sure the tea is organic, whenever possible, and that it is free of toxic chemicals and pollutants, such as synthetic fertilizers.  Ideally, you’ll also want to buy from a manufacturer who supports and uses fair trade practices.

When making the tea, you can either add a heaping tablespoon of the dried plant infused into about a quart of boiling water or boil a couple of flowers gently in a saucepan of water until the water turns deep red (about 15 minutes).  The tea can also be stored in the refrigerator.

So, if blood pressure is a concern for you, make hibiscus tea your new drink of choice.  And while you’re at it, why not add a tiny umbrella to honor your heart-healthy beverage’s native roots.

But, as noted in the last study mentioned, sipping hibiscus tea is not a magic bullet—it only works to lower your blood pressure so long as you continue to drink it.

To permanently lower your blood pressure, you need to make fundamental changes to your lifestyle, including eating nutrient-dense, whole foods, engaging in moderate daily exercise, and, of course, learning to relax!


1Herrera-Arellano, A et al.  “Effectiveness and tolerability of a standardized extract from Hibiscus sabdariffa in patients with mild to moderate hypertension: a controlled and randomized clinical trial.” Phytomedicine.  2004 Jul;11(5):375-82.

2Herrera-Arellano, A et al.  “Clinical effects produced by a standardized herbal medicinal product of Hibiscus sabdariffa on patients with hypertension.  A randomized, double-blind, lisinopril-controlled clinical trial.  Planta Med.  2007 Jan;73(1):6-12.

3McKay, DL et al.  “Hibiscus sabdariffa L.  tea (tisane) lower blood pressure in prehypertensive and mildly hypertensive adults.” J Nutr.  2010 Feb;140(2):298-303.

4Haji Faraji M.  and Haji Tarkhani A.  “The effect of sour tea (Hibiscus sabdariffa) on essential hypertension.” J Ethnopharmacol.  1999 Jun;65(3):231-6.

Love or Hate this Article?
Either Way, Do These 2 Things Right Now!Tweet and ShareTweet and Share

  • Croychoudhri

    Please add a close-up picture of the flower with a couple of intact leaves. This will help average people to identify the plant. “HIbiscus” is a broad category.

    • The picture is a great idea…thank you. In the meantime, look for pure, organic Hibiscus sabdariffa, which is the type of hibiscus used in the studies.

      Naturally yours,

      The Sherpa

  • Chris

    Thanks for this info. It is very much appreciated. Chris

  • ben

    when do u get this stuff. what kind of store sells it?

  • Ritzamora

    Hibiscus has several colors (red, pink, yellow), can we use any color? I have abundance of yellow, can I use this?

    • The studies did not differentiate between color, only type. Just be sure you are using pure, organic Hibiscus sabdariffa, which is the type of hibiscus used in the studies.

      Naturally yours,

      The Sherpa

  • Gntvandam

    Well done! I really enjoyed this article & video speaking as someone who struggles with High Blood Pressure. Thank You :-)

  • Cooper Wendy

    Leaves are mentioned as are flowers. What if any difference? Hibiscus is also called Jamaca by my Mexican neighbors, and Sorrol by my Jamacian friends.

    • Our apologies. It is the flowers that are used. We are making the correction.

      Naturally yours,

      The Sherpa

  • John Scott

    Article did not say how many cups of tea to drink per da to get the affect!!!

    • John,

      Most of the studies used three 240 mL servings of hibiscus tea a day.

      Naturally yours,

      The Sherpa

  • Javedhasankhan

    In the begining you mention dried leaves of the Hibiscus leaves to lower BP, however towards the end of your discussion dried flower is mentioned instead. Could you please advise whether it is dried flower or leaves?


    • Javed,

      Our apologies…we meant petals, not leaves. It is the flower that is used.

      Naturally yours,

      The Sherpa

  • Michael Vener

    Feels like this article is not finished without reference where is the best place to
    buy these dried flowers.
    Woodland Hills,Ca.

  • Michael Vener

    Feels like this article is not finished without reference where is the best place to
    buy these dried flowers.
    Woodland Hills,Ca.

    • Michael,

      We try to stay impartial when it comes to brands or even specific vendors. We do suggest as one possible place to search. And, as we recommended in the article, be sure to organic Hibiscus sabdariffa, which is the type of hibiscus used in the studies.

      Naturally yours,

      The Sherpa

  • Salemtoo

    I love your articles! They are so “to the point” without all the hype of a sales pitch. But I do agree that a note at the end sourcing the ingredient mentioned in the article would be helpful. In the meantime there is always google!
    Also, do you mean to say that a hibiscus supplement is equally as effective as the 3 cups of tea a day?

    • The majority of the studies are done with the tea, which is what we would recommend.

      Naturally yours,

      The Sherpa

  • Salemtoo

    I love your articles! They are so “to the point” without all the hype of a sales pitch. But I do agree that a note at the end sourcing the ingredient mentioned in the article would be helpful. In the meantime there is always google!
    Also, do you mean to say that a hibiscus supplement is equally as effective as the 3 cups of tea a day?

  • Mariaiwanski

    I really enjoy reading this article and learn to be healty as I have high blood pressure.
    thank you. I wanted to give it a try of drinking the tea if I can buy it. Where can I buy this Hibiscus sabdariffa?

    • Maria,

      A quick internet search will turn up several options. We like the site.

      Naturally yours,

      The Sherpa

  • Coldwatermd

    Very interesting. But in order to not make this sound like an infomercial,you should have mentioned other herbal teas that lower blood pressure, for instance, chamomile, fennel, holy basil, thyme,sage, mint, hawthorn, dandelion – and there are many more.

    Besides, just drinking more water will lower blood pressure.

    Alexa Fleckenstein M.D., physician, author.

    • Dr. Alexa,

      Thanks for the additional teas. We like to focus on one therapy at a time, as it allows us to be more focused. But we can add the other therapies you mentioned to our list for future articles.

      Naturally yours,

      The Sherpa

  • li-li

    I understand that Hibiscus also increases kidney function by 70 %
    Beautiful Hibiscus



    • Zarjevie2001

      Me personally, I am buying on Vienna Naschmarkt, there is stand specialised in teas, ca 100 g of hibiskus makes 1,50 EUR. In the supermarkets you can buy hibiskus mixed, in bags, it is more expensive.

  • Ronald Naka

    Thank you SO much for this powerful information about Hibiscus. I really do appreciate and I am going to share this with all of my friends. I wish that there were more people that would share this kind of information.

    Keep up the GREAT work.


  • Leo Rourk

    I have tried Hibiscus tea,no help-As far as I know there is no natural product to control Hypertension, all of them ARE PURE HYPE-

    • Coldwatermd

      Well, dear Mr. Rourk, there is more than one herbal anti-hypertensive tea (supported by studies). But if teas don’t work for you, you might try walking, more sleep, less junk food. If that doesn’t work, I fear, you have to bite the bullet and take some allopathic pill – with known side-effects like impotence.

      Alexa Fleckenstein M.D., physician, author.

      • Leo Rourk

        Dear Alexa,I know that there are other herbal anti-hypertensive teas,supported by what studies?,you mean the ones paid by the herb retailers?-I have tried other combos too,even Mukta Bati or something from India-All I’m saying is that if you have a mild hypertension, herbs could help you control it ,but not if you have a 150/90 HBP-I exercise,60 or more min of cardiovascular exercise 3 times a week and I eat mostly proteins,fruits and vegetables- No carbs or sugar, because my blood glucose is creeping up-Anyway thank you for the info,I know you are trying to help us-
        Best regards,

  • Robin

    One tablespoon should read 1 teaspoon.  If you buy the organic hibiscus sabdariffa flower it will work.
    My mom dropped 60 pts. in the systolic and 15 pts. in the diastolic in 2 hours. A friend drank it the other day using only 1/2 teaspoon and she went from 240/120 to 140/70 in 2 hours.
    It works but please do not start with more than 1/2 teaspoon.  You can always up it to 1 teaspoon if needed.  Always stay on the side of caution.
    Dr. David Williams has been recommending this tea for over 10 years.  His suggested recommendation is to make a batch in the morning for the entire day and sip it throughout the day.  Most important is to drink it as soon as you wake in the morning and just before bed in the evening.
    I have recommended this to 4 people and each of their drops has been far greater than the 10-11% listed above.  Also the effects only lasted 4-6 hours depending upon the individual.  This too is not consistent with the studies.
    Good luck.

    • Robin,

      The amount of tea you use depends upon the amount of water. If you are making one serving, then one teaspoon or even a 1/2 teaspoon may be fine. If you are making enough to sip on throughout the day, you will likely need to use more.

      A good rule of thumb is 1.5 grams per serving.

      Naturally yours,

      The Sherpa

  • Semele

    Thanks for keeping us up to date with the latest natural remedies from God’s garden.

  • It still amazes me how hibiscus and other natural herbs and flowers can make a difference in your health.  Hibiscus seems like a great benefit to lower your blood pressure

    • Teddy,

      We completely agree. Let nature be thy medicine!

      Naturally yours,

      The Sherpa

  • Robin

    If anyone wishes to drink this tea and is presently on blood pressure lowering drugs please take extreme caution.  Start with no more than 1/4 tsp. of tea as a tester.  Take your B/P before and 2 hours after. Whatever you do, under no circumstance take the 1 tablespoon suggested in this article as it is an error. Do NOT go off of your meds unless you do so under the supervision of a doctor.  Never drop your meds all at once.  It must be done gradually and the tea introduced slowly.

    • Robin,

      Excellent advice. Thank you.

      Naturally yours,

      The Sherpa

    • Valerie

      Sorrel Re  taking 1/4tsp by all means start with that taking a tablespoon to a mug of water is fine. You can go up to a tablespoon  over time if you want to have some restraint,this is not a drug  this is used as resfreshment which beats POP  No one would abruptly go off their medication of course other life style changes have to be implemented.,I grew up with sorrel at the time most of us were not aware of the benifits
      Get organic( the tea bags to me are questionable and cost more purchase the loose packet) There are many natural product from nature Just  look out for them
      If you are lucky like me get it when I go to the Caribbean ,whatever product you get the source should be looked at as quality is important does it have sprays? ect.avoid those some countries are geting on the bad waggon cheap is not necessarily good sometimes
      But if you do not have a Dr who will help wean you off your meds once your BP its stable and you are consistently applying, other alternatives, Please work with a good Holistic provider There are good one out there but you have to be willing to spend the cash if you can . Lifestyle change can help most people get off the Meds the sacrifice is worth the benifits Depending on the type of Hypertension  you may need more than sorrel to get a consistent result be aware there is no Magic bullet.

  • Donna

    This is a great article.  I had heard about Hibiscus several years ago, but when I tried to find some I couldn’t.  This time I will keep looking until I find it.


    • Donna,

      A quick Google search should turn up several good sources for organic hibiscus. Also, many people have posted source information in this blog.

      Naturally yours,

      The Sherpa

    • Ipads Apple

      I can supply the dried roselle / hibiscus sabdariffa at MYR 50-00 per kg. Email me at

  • Norm

    This is a very common drink in the tropics in Jamaica its called “sorrel ” and everyone drinks it for pleasure around the christmas season and beyond  without thinking about its medicinal benefits.  
    The Sorrel buds are steeped in boiling water along with real jamaican ginger, cooled and chilled with ice, sweeetened to taste with sugar, and even a touch of rum around the holidays. This is a  a very tasty drink cold and quite enjoyable.   You can find sorrel tea bags at most tea outlets and even local supermarkets.  Sorrel = Hibiscus Sabdariffa.

    • Norm,

      Sorrel can be a great tea, with a flavor similar to kiwi or slightly sour strawberries. Just be careful with sorrel, as too high an amount can be fatal. Yes, fatal.

      One other note…sorrel does not equal hibiscus. They are completely different plants and have very different benefits and side effects.

      Naturally yours,

      The Sherpa

  • Norm

    Nice article it would be great if you guys at the Sherpa would highlight another great tea from the Caribbean Islands ”  Sour Sop leaf Tea ” ( Graviola )  this is a great cancer tea – said to be 10,000 times more powerful than Chemotherapy without the horrible side effects it produces.  Please give us your thoughts or the research done on this tea.

    • Norm,

      Fantastic suggestion! We will add to the article schedule!

      Naturally yours,

      The Sherpa

  • Eden12005

    Caribbean? Isn’t the very popular Mexican alternative to Coke and Pepsi, Jamaica,
    also made from Hibiscus?

    Now if Xsilotal is used instead of sugar !……….Xsilotal is a sugar substitute but it
    also attracts bacteria, germs, etc. and renders them inert. (makes them unable to
    “cling” and are washed away from our systems.)



    • Eden,

      Not sure what Mexican alternative you are talking about. And keep an eye out for the upcoming article on xylitol!

      Naturally yours,

      The Sherpa

  • Prekusa

    When I drink Jamaica I get very painful body aches and its so painful every inch of my body hurts. I can barely move.

  • Anonymous

    This sounds like a food allergy to one (or several) of the ingredients in Jamaica. Try to figure out which one – and then avoid it!

    Alex Fleckenstein M.D., physician, author. 

  • Pingback: levitra 20mg bayer()

  • Pingback: nuktdbtenmknh()

Tags: , ,

Disclaimer: The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images and information, contained on or available through this web site is for general information purposes only. Natural Health Sherpa LLC makes no representation and assumes no responsibility for the accuracy of information contained on or available through this web site, and such information is subject to change without notice. You are encouraged to confirm any information obtained from or through this web site with other sources, and review all information regarding any medical condition or treatment with your physician.