A new study has found that an extract from the hibiscus flower could have the same heart health benefits as red wine and tea.
The study, published online in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, showed that an extract made from the flower could reduce cholesterol in animals, so it may help humans.
Hibiscus—which is grown in China, India and Taiwan—is used as a traditional remedy to treat high blood pressure and liver disorders. The researchers found it contains antioxidants that are known to reduce the dangerous build up of fats inside the arteries.
They carried out a study looking at the effects of hibiscus extract on low density lipoprotein, LDL or "bad" cholesterol in rats. They found the hibiscus extract significantly reduced the build up of fatty deposits in arteries and blood cholesterol levels.
First study to show these effects
Experiments have shown that compounds extracted from red wine and tea reduces cholesterol and lipid build-up in the arteries of rats. This is the first study to show that Hibiscus extract has the same effect.
Researchers state that the data suggests Hibiscus could be useful in the prevention and treatment of a number of cardiovascular diseases in which cholesterol plays a major role.
1. C. Wang et al., “Inhibitory Effects of Hibiscus Sabdariffa L Extract on Low-Density Lipoprotein Oxidation and Anti-Hyperlipidemia in Fructose-Fed and Cholesterol-Fed Rats,” Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, Published Online: 15 Sep 2004.