Hibiscus

What other names is Hibiscus known by?

Ambashthaki, Bissap, Gongura, Groseille de Guinée, Guinea Sorrel, Hibisco, Hibiscus Calyx, Hibiscus sabdariffa, Jamaica Sorrel, Karkade, Karkadé, Oseille de Guinée, Oseille Rouge, Pulicha Keerai, Red Sorrel, Red Tea, Rosa de Jamaica, Roselle, Sour Tea, Sudanese Tea, Thé Rose d'Abyssinie, Thé Rouge, Zobo, Zobo Tea.

What is Hibiscus?

Hibiscus is a bushy annual plant. Parts of the flower are used to make a popular drink in Egypt called Karkade. Various parts of the plant are also used to make jams, spices, soups, and sauces. The flowers are used to make medicine.

Hibiscus is used for treating loss of appetite, colds, heart and nerve diseases, upper respiratory tract pain and swelling (inflammation), fluid retention, stomach irritation, and disorders of circulation; for dissolving phlegm; as a gentle laxative; and as a diuretic to increase urine output.

In foods and beverages, hibiscus is used as a flavoring. It is also used to improve the odor, flavor, or appearance of tea mixtures.

Possibly Effective for...

  • High blood pressure. Some early research shows that drinking hibiscus tea for 2-6 weeks decreases blood pressure in people with mildly high blood pressure. Other early research shows that taking a hibiscus extract by mouth for 4 weeks may be as effective as the prescription drug captopril for reducing blood pressure in people with mild to moderate high blood pressure. However, an analysis of results from various clinical studies suggests that there is not enough evidence to draw strong conclusions about the effects of hibiscus in reducing high blood pressure.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • High cholesterol. Some early research suggests that taking hibiscus extract by mouth or consuming hibiscus tea might lower cholesterol levels in people with metabolic syndrome or diabetes. However other early research shows that taking a specific extract of hibiscus leaves (Green Chem, Bangalore, India) for 90 days does not improve cholesterol levels in people with high cholesterol. Also, taking hibiscus extract by mouth for 12 weeks does not appear to reduce cholesterol compared to the drug pravastatin and may actually increase cholesterol levels in people with high cholesterol.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Colds.
  • Constipation.
  • Irritated stomach.
  • Fluid retention.
  • Heart disease.
  • Nerve disease.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate hibiscus for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).


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