Thursday, July 7, 2011

Hibiscus vs. Hawthorne for High Blood Pressure

Something strange happened the other day. My Mother-in-Law, Patsy, came to me and asked if there was an herb that could lower her high blood pressure. Apparently, she's scared that if she starts taking a prescription blood pressure medication, she'll never be able to stop. After getting over my shock, I agreed to lend her a hand.

We discussed 2 different herbs that help lower blood pressure, Hawthorne and Hibiscus. At first I was leaning towards Hawthorne because it's the first herb that comes to any herbalists mind for high blood pressure. It's been proven effective in numerous studies and it has a very few side effects. Unfortunately, it tastes horrible and I was worried that the bitter taste would keep Patsy from using it effectively.

So, we decided to go with Hibiscus. In 2004, a study compared the effects of drinking 2 cups of Hibiscus tea a day for 2 months to the effects of taking a prescription blood pressure medication for 2 months. At the end, both groups had very similar results. That was enough to convince Patsy to give it a try. I made her some tea the next day and even I was surprised at how delicious it is! Here's the recipe:

Hibiscus Tea
6 cups water
1 1/2 Tbsp dried Hibiscus
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 cup sugar
2 Tbsp honey
1 orange, unpeeled and cut into rings
1 lemon, unpeeled and cut into rings

1. Boil water and remove from heat. Add Hibiscus and cinnamon. Cover.
2. Let steep for exactly 15 minutes. Set a timer because at 20 minutes, your tea will turn bitter.
3. Strain tea. Use something like a coffee filter to strain the cinnamon out.
4. Add sugar, honey, orange and lemon rings.
5. Refrigerate and serve cold.

She started drinking it 3 days ago and I think she's going to stick with it. We won't know if it's working for a couple months, but I'll let you know.